Model history

Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Serie W 126 (1979 bis 1991)


In September of 1979, Daimler-Benz presented a new generation of the S-Class at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The model range of the W 126 series was comprised initially of seven vehicles: Choice of four engines (from the 2.8-liter six-cylinder carburetor unit with 115 kW/156 hp to the 5.0-liter V8 light-alloy engine with direct fuel injection and 176 kW / 240 hp) and two body styles - in addition to the normal version, a lengthened variant, as offered for generations in the luxury class . The lengthening of the wheelbase by 140 millimeters was more apparent than in the past and it improved the legroom in the rear and eased the entry width of the rear doors.

The development of the new series focused on increased driving comfort, new safety measures, and the reduction of fuel consumption. The use of weight-reducing materials and the creation of an aerodynamically optimized body through the use of wind tunnel testing 
(cd = 0.37, compared with cd = 0.41 in the W 116 series) helped the new S-Class reduce fuel consumption by 10 percent compared to the previous models. The two eight-cylinder engines of the predecessor series were replaced with two redesigned units with larger displacement and light-alloy crankcase. The 5.0-liter engine that replaced the 4.5-liter cast iron unit, already known from the 450 SLC 5.0, while the 3.8-liter light-alloy engine was modeled after the five-liter old veteran from the 3.5-liter V8 with cast iron block. Through its enhanced performance and reduced weight, the new V8 engines improved driving performance with less fuel. The carburetors and fuel-injected version of the 2.8-liter six-cylinder remained unchanged in the program.

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