|Class||Full-size Luxury car|
|Body style(s)||4-door sedan|
3.0L I5 turbodiesel
|Transmission(s)||3-speed automatic |
- For a complete overview of all S-Class models see Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
The Mercedes-Benz W116 was a series of flagship vehicles produced from 1972 through 1980. The W116 automobiles were the first Mercedes-Benz models to be officially called S-Class, although earlier sedan models had already unofficially been designated with the letter 'S' - for Sonderklasse or "special class."
The 'new' S-class generation development began just one year after the launch of the W108/09. It was subjected to numerous studies before it was fully matured to make its debut. This was the first Mercedes saloon to feature the brand new design idiom which was to be continued until 1993 when the 190 was discontinued, its new design was a dramatic leap forward with more masculine charismatic lines which combined to create a well rounded elegant yet sporty character. The overall basic design concept was actually inspired from the R107 SL roadster, especially the front and rear lights.
In true S-class tradition, this generation also patented world firsts such as the ABS system, turbocharged 3.0 diesel engine developed from the record breaking C111 and obviously the 6.9 which also featured hydro pneumatic suspension.
Production totaled 473,035 units. The W116 was succeeded by the W126 S-Class in 1979. The W116 was sold throughout Europe, America, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Australia.
In 1975, the W116 was upgraded with a new fuel injection system in order to comply with revised exhaust emission standards in European markets. A slight power reduction was a result of this update, but in 1978, a series of further engine upgrades restored original performance levels under the new fuel injection systems.
|Chassis code||Years||Model||Engine||No. built|
|W116.02||1973–1980||280 S sedan||2.8 L I6||122,848|
|W116.024||1973–1980||280 SE sedan||2.8 L I6||150,593|
|W116.025||1974–1980||280 SEL sedan||2.8 L I6||7,032|
|W116||1973–1980||350 SE sedan||3.5 L V8||51,100|
|W116||1973–1980||350 SEL sedan||3.5 L V8||4,266|
|W116.032||1973–1980||450 SE sedan||4.5 L V8||41,604|
|W116.033||1973–1980||450 SEL sedan||4.5 L V8||59,578|
|W116.036||1975–1980||450 SEL 6.9||6.9 L V8||7,380|
|W116.12||1978–1980||300 SD sedan||3.0 L I5 turbodiesel
(USA and Canada only)
The W116 S-Class incorporated a broad variety of Mercedes-Benz safety innovations.
- Anti-lock brakes were first featured on the W116 S-Class. This system, true to its name, prevents the wheels from locking while braking. The advantage of such a system is to improve steering control during hard braking situations, and to shorten brake distances.
- Strengthened body structure. The W116 featured a more stable security passenger cell with a stiffened roof frame structure. High strength roof and door pillars, along with other reinforced zones, provided enhanced vehicle occupant protection.
- Interior equipment safety features. A heavily padded dashboard, deformable switches and controls, and a four-spoke steering wheel with impact absorber and broad impact cushion aimed to reduce occupant injury during collisions.
- The fuel tank was no longer fitted at the rear end, but was now placed above rear axle for added protection.
- Wraparound turn signals made it easier to communicate with nearby drivers.
- See also: Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9
The most notable W116 was the high-performance, limited-production 450 SEL 6.9. This 8-cylinder model boasted the largest engine installed in a postwar Mercedes-Benz up to that time. Every 450 SEL 6.9 featured a self-leveling hydropneumatic suspension, and offered the ABS anti-lock braking system as an option from 1978 onwards.
The 450SEL was awarded European Car of the Year in 1974. In addition to its reputation as the Mercedes flagship model, the W116 had references in popular culture. For instance, the 300 SD was only available in North America with a turbocharged 5 cylinder diesel engine. The W116 has had also had an illustrious history with the silver screen, the most notable was the movie Ronin, a Milan Brown 450SEL 6.9 chasing the bad guys through parts of France. On the small screen, shows like Dallas (J.R. Ewing's silver-green 280SE), Knight Rider (450SEL) and the British MI5-based show The Professionals were the mainstay of the S-Class screentime.
The vehicle in the eight-minute short film C'était un rendez-vous, a no-holds-barred romp through the streets of 1976 Paris, was commonly believed to be a Ferrari 275 GTB due to the engine sound. A recent interview with the producer, Claude Lelouch, revealed that the camera-carrying vehicle was actually a 6.9L 450SEL 6.9, with sound dubbed over.
|450 SEL 6.9
|300 SD |
|Produced:||1972 - 1980||SE: 1972 - 1980
SEL: 1974 − 1980
|SE: 1972 - 1980
SEL: 1973 − 1980
|1972 - 1980||1975 - 1980||1977 - 1980|
|Engine:||6-cylinder-inline engine (four-stroke), front-mounted||90° 8-cylinder-V engine (four-stroke), front-mounted||5-cylinder-inline engine (four-stroke), front-mounted|
|Bore x Stroke:||86 mm x 78.8 mm||92 mm x 65.8 mm||92 mm x 85 mm||107 mm x 95 mm||90.9 mm x 92.4 mm|
|Displacement:||2746 cc||3499 cc||4517 cc||6834 cc||2998 cc|
|Max. Power @ rpm:||160 PS (158 hp/118 kW) @ 5500
USA: 120 bhp (89 kW; 122 PS) @ 4800
|185 PS (182 hp/136 kW) @ 6000
USA: 142 bhp (106 kW; 144 PS) @ 5750
|200 PS (197 hp/147 kW) @ 5800||225 PS (222 hp/165 kW) @ 5000
USA: 193 PS (190 hp/142 kW) @ 4750
|286 PS (282 hp/210 kW) @ 4250
250 bhp (186 kW; 253 PS) @ 4000
|1979: 110 bhp (82 kW; 112 PS) @ 4200 |
1980: 120 bhp (89 kW; 122 PS) @ 4350
|Max. Torque @ rpm:||225 N·m (166 lb·ft) @ 4000
USA: 143 ft·lbf (194 N·m)
|238 N·m (176 lb·ft) @ 4500
USA: 149 ft·lbf (202 N·m)
|286 N·m (211 lb·ft) @ 4000||377 N·m (278 lb·ft) @ 3000
USA: 240 ft·lbf (325 N·m)
|449 N·m (331 lb·ft) @ 3000
USA: 360 ft·lbf (488 N·m)
|1979: 168 ft·lbf (228 N·m) @ 2400 |
1980: 170 ft·lbf (230 N·m) @ 2400
|Compression Ratio:||9.0: 1||9.0: 1||9.5: 1||8.8: 1||8.8: 1||21.5: 1|
|Fuel feed:||One 2-bbl Solex 4A1||Bosch D-Jetronic, from 07/75 K-Jetronic||Bosch K-Jetronic||Bosch injection pump |
|Fuel tank capacity:||96 L (25.4 US gal; 21.1 imp gal)||82 L (21.7 US gal; 18.0 imp gal)|
|Valvetrain:||DOHC, duplex chain||SOHC, duplex chain|
|Gearbox:||4- or 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic
rear wheel drive, standard axle ratio 3.92:1 or 3.69:1 (V8: 3.46:1)
rear wheel drive, standard axle ratio 3.07:1
rear wheel drive, standard axle ratio 2.65:1
|4-speed automatic |
rear wheel drive, standard axle ratio 3.07:1
|Electrical system:||12 volt|
|Front suspension:||Double wishbones, coil and additional rubber springs, stabilising bar |
6.9: Double wishbones, hydropneumatic damping, stabilizing torsion bar
|Rear suspension::||Diagonal swing axle, trailing arms, coil springs, stabilizing torsion bar |
6.9: Diagonal swing axle, hydropneumatic damping, stabilizing torsion bar
|Brakes:||Disc brakes (Ø 278 mm front, 279 mm rear), power assisted, from 1979 on request ABS|
|Steering:||Recirculating ball steering, manual or servo-assisted|
|Body structure:||Sheet steel, monocoque (unibody) construction|
|Dry weight:||1660 kg (3660 lb)
USA: 3,770 lb (1,710 kg)
|1665 kg (3671 lb)
SEL: 1700 kg (3748 lb)
USA: 3,750 lb (1,700 kg)
|1725 kg (3803 lb)
SEL: 1760 kg (3880 lb)
|1790 kg (3946 lb)
SEL: 1825 kg (4023 lb)
USA: 3,843 lb (1,743 kg)
|1985 kg (4376 lb)
USA: 4,285 lb (1,944 kg)
|1815 kg (4001 lb)|
|Loaded weight:||2130 kg (4696 lb)||2130 kg (4696 lb)
SEL: 2165 kg (4773 lb)
|2195 kg (4839 lb)
SEL: 2220 kg (4894 lb)
|2250 kg (4960 lb)
SEL: 2285 kg (5038 lb)
|2420 kg (5335 lb)||2215 kg (4883 lb)|
|1521 mm (59.9 in) / 1505 mm (59.3 in)|
|Wheelbase:||S/SE: 2865 mm (112.8 in) |
SEL: 2965 mm (116.7 in)
|Length:||4960 mm (195.3 in) |
5060 mm (199.2 in)
|Width:||1870 mm (73.6 in)|
|Height:||1410 mm (55.5 in) − 1430 mm (56.3 in)|
|Tyre/Tire sizes:||185 HR 14||205/70 HR 14||215/70 HR 14||185 HR 14|
|Top speed:||190 km/h (118 mph)||200 km/h (124 mph)||205 km/h (127 mph)||210 km/h (130 mph)||225 km/h (140 mph)||165 km/h (103 mph)|
|Fuel Consumption (estimate):||16.0 litres per 100 kilometres (17.7 mpg-imp; 14.7 mpg-US)||19.0 litres per 100 kilometres (14.9 mpg-imp; 12.4 mpg-US)||19.0 litres per 100 kilometres (14.9 mpg-imp; 12.4 mpg-US)||22.0 litres per 100 kilometres (12.8 mpg-imp; 10.7 mpg-US)||14.0 litres per 100 kilometres (20.2 mpg-imp; 16.8 mpg-US)|
|Price at introduction, Germany
$ 15,057 (MY 75)
$ 19,411 (MY 77)
$ 13,396 (MY 73)
$ 39,377 (MY 77)
|DM ---- |
$ 26,265 (MY 79)
- Oswald, Werner (2003). Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, Band 4. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. pp. 80, 86. ISBN 3-613-02131-5.
- W116 S-Class enthusiasts page
- Oswald, Werner (2001). Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, Band 4. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-02131-5.
- US prices: Mike Covello: Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946-2002, Krause Publication, Iola 2002, ISBN 0-87341-605-8, p. 538-541
Mercedes-Benz road car timeline, 1946–1970s — next »
|4-cylinder||Sedan||W136 / W191||W120 / W121||W110||W115||W123|
|6-cylinder||Sedan||W187||W105 / W180 / W128||W111||W114||W123|
|Coupé||W187||W180 / W128|
|Large car||Sedan||W186 / W189||W111||W108 / W109||W116|
|Limousine||W186 / W189||W112||W100 (600)|