|Body and chassis|
|Layout||Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive|
The Mercedes-Benz 124 series is a range of mid-size cars made by Daimler-Benz from 1984 to 1997. The internal chassis designation for saloon models is W 124, but Daimler-Benz also produced the 124 series in estate (S 124), coupé (C 124), cabriolet (A 124), limousine (V 124), rolling chassis (F 124), and long-wheelbase rolling chassis (VF 124) versions. From 1993, the 124 series was officially dubbed the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and it was the first Mercedes-Benz type to be officially referred to as such. The W 124 started replacing the 123 series from 1984 and was succeeded by the W 210 E-Class (saloons, estates, rolling chassis) after 1995, and the C 208 CLK-Class (coupés, and cabriolets) in 1997.
In North America, the W124 was launched in early November 1985 as a 1986 model and sold through the 1995 model year, through 7 November 1995.
Series production began at the beginning of November 1984, with press reveal taking place on Monday, 26 November 1984 in Seville, Spain, with customer deliveries and European market launch starting in January 1985.
The W124 was a mid-sized vehicle platform, which entered planning in the autumn of 1976 under development Hans Scherenberg. In July 1977, the W124 program officially began, with R&D commencing work under newly appointed Werner Breitschwerdt. In April 1978, decisions were made to base it on the Mercedes-Benz W201 model program. By April 1979, a package plan was completed for the program, laying out the guidelines of the project. During the winter of 1980–1981, the final exterior for the W124 program was completed, chosen as the leading proposal by design director Bruno Sacco, and approved by the board of management in early 1981. By mid-1982, the first prototypes reflective of the production design, were assembled and sent to testing. In March 1984, pilot production commenced and development of the sedan concluded with engineering sign-off.
Front suspension used a separate spring and damper with a rubber top mount. The rear suspension of the W124 featured the Mercedes multi-link axle introduced in 1982 with the Mercedes W201 and which is now standard on many modern cars. Estate cars (and optionally, saloons and coupés) had Citroen-like rear self-leveling suspension with suspension struts rather than shock absorbers, gas-filled suspension spheres to provide damping and an under bonnet pressurizing pump. Unlike the traditional Citroën application Mercedes opted for a fixed ride height and employed rear coil springs to maintain the static ride height when parked.
The R129 SL roadster was based on the W124 platform, W124 was later equipped with two of the roadster's engines 3.2 24V straight-six and 5.0 V8.
Much of the 124's engineering and many of its features were advanced automotive technology at its introduction, incorporating innovations that have been adopted throughout the industry. It had one of the lowest coefficient of drag (Cd) of any vehicle of the time (0.28 for the 200/200D model for the European market with 185/65 R15 tires) due to its aerodynamic body, that included plastic molding for the undercarriage to streamline airflow beneath the car, reducing fuel consumption and wind noise. It had a single windscreen wiper that had an eccentric mechanism at its base that extended the wiper's reach to the top corners of the windscreen (more than if it had traveled in a simple arc). The saloon/sedan, coupés and convertibles had optional rear headrests that would fold down remotely to improve rearward visibility when required. This feature was not available for the T-model because of its specific layout (no space to store the retractable headrests), but the estate serially came with a "neighbour-friendly" rear door that was pulled in the shut-position silently and automatically by a sensor-controlled servomotor. This allowed the use of a tighter fitting rear gate, minimizing the cabin noise in the T-model - sometimes an area of concern for station wagons.
With the exception of the 200, which was equipped with a Stromberg or Pierburg carburetor but was not available to the United States, manifold injection was standard in Otto models, and the engines incorporated features that maximized performance. The most notable such feature was the addition of an oxygen sensor in the exhaust system which, in conjunction with a semi-electronic fuel injection system, could make the engine run more efficiently. This improved fuel consumption while simultaneously meeting stricter emission regulations. Mercedes-Benz's four-wheel drive system, the 4Matic was first introduced on the W124 in 1987.
The estate cars (chassis designation S124) came in 5 or 7-seat models, the 7-seater having a rear-facing bench seat that folded flush luggage compartment cover and an optional (in the US until 1994) retractable cargo net. To provide a flat loading floor with the seat folded down, the T-model's rear seat squab was mounted about 10 cm (3.9 in) higher than in saloons, robbing rear seat passengers of some head room. The S124 estate continued in production alongside the new W210 until the S210 estate launched more than a year later. A two-door coupé version was also built, with the chassis designation C124.
In 1989, the 124 series received its first facelift. Most notable difference between the 1984 to 1988 models and the post 1989 models are the so-called "Sacco planks". These are body trim parts mounted on the lower portions of the doors. In 1993, the second facelift was introduced to the 124. It changed the appearance of the 124 series once again: the front portion was changed, which made the 124 bear closer resemblance to the 140 series, and the rear bumper on saloon, cabriolet, and coupé models was extended further around the rear wings, whilst the estate models retained their original rear bumpers.
Mercedes launched a cabriolet (convertible) version in Europe in 1991, the 300CE-24 cabriolet, and in the UK (RHD) and Japan (LHD). The 320CE, and North America, the 300CE, in 1992. These versions were redesignated as the E 320 in 1993, complemented by the less powerful, but less expensive E 220 in 1993, and the mainland-Europe-only E 200 in 1994. Mercedes brought the E 320 cabriolet (convertible) to the US and Japan from 1993 to 1995. There were 68 E 36 AMG cabriolets built from 1993 until 1996 (54 LHD and 14 RHD) to complement the also rare E 36 AMG coupé, saloon (RHD only), and estate. Approximately 171 estate cars were produced for the Japanese market. The pre-merger AMG coupés are based on the 124 series 2 update. The AMG 3.4 CE (300CE-24 based coupé) were all LHD, 25 were produced from 1988 until 1993. There were also 7 cabriolets built, and eleven saloons (and possibly estates). AMG Japan also carried out such conversions locally.
The E 320, E 220, and E 200 cabriolets ceased production in 1997. Indian assembly (in a joint-venture with Telco called Mercedes-Benz India) began in March 1995. Offered with five-cylinder diesel engines built by Mercedes' Indian partner Bajaj Tempo, the W124 was replaced there in December 1997.
SsangYong Motor Company of Korea licensed the W124 design and continues to produce a stretched and rebodied version of the W124 as the Chairman, with a Ssangyong badge. It has a wheelbase measuring 2.9 m (110 in) and a 3.2 L Mercedes inline-six M104 engine. The latest versions of the Chairman were equipped with 2.3 L (M111), 2.8 L (M104), and 3.2 L (M104) engines in its product line-ups. The car had a modified 3.6 L version of M104 engine recently for the high-end models. The engine has a designation of XGi360.
The pre-facelift models from 1985 to 1993 used the model designations: 200/200 T (carburettor), 200 E/200 TE, 200 CE, 230 E/230 TE, 230 CE, 260 E (saloon only), 300 E/TE, 300 CE, 300 E-24/300 CE-24/300 TE-24 valve, 400 E (not in the UK), & 500 E (LHD only in the UK). Diesel models consisted of the following designations; the 200 D/200 TD (not in the UK), 250 D/250 TD and the 300 D/300 TD. Facelift models produced from 1993 to 1996 used the following model designations: E 200, E 220, E 280, E 320, E 420 (not in the UK) & E 500 (LHD only in the UK). Both saloon and estate versions of the facelifted model carried the same model designation on their boot lid, i.e. the T was no longer used for estate versions. In the UK post-facelift diesels were E 250 Diesel (saloon only) and E 300 Diesel (saloon & estate) models. The W124 was also offered as a long wheelbase saloon targeted for taxi companies, but the more luxury equipped version was also used as a limousine.
The pre-facelift four-cylinder models came standard with a four-speed manual transmission (except 200CE and 230CE, which came standard with five-speed manual), but could be ordered with the five-speed manual or four-speed automatic. In Finland, the four-speed manual was available with a column shifter only as a special-order taxi model. After the facelift, the four-speed manual was dropped and five-speed manual became standard. Five and six-cylinder engines had five-speed manual as standard (except for 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel, and AMG variants), and optional four-speed automatic. Cars with V8 engines, 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel engines, all-wheel drive (from 1990) and AMG models were available only with the four-speed automatic. 24-valve petrol engines (300 E-24, 300 TE-24, 300 CE-24, and later 2.8- and 3.2-litre models) could also be ordered with 722.5 five-speed automatic.
The four-wheel drive system (4MATIC) was available from 1987 with 2.6 and 3.0-litre petrol and 3.0-litre diesel engines with 12 valves. It was not available for coupés and convertibles. From 1987 to 1989, the four-wheel drive cars (except the turbocharged diesel) had five-speed manual transmission as standard, with optional four-speed automatic.
The table gives preproduction to end of production as per Daimler. Daimler lists November 1984 as the start of production for the series but also lists 1985 as part of preproduction for any specific early model. No regular deliveries occurred in 1984.
|Chassis code||Years||Model||Engine||Body style|
|124.019||1993–1994||200 E||2.0 L M111.940 I4||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.020||1985–1990||200||2.0 L M102.922 I4||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.021||1985–1992||200 E||2.0 L M102.963 I4||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.022||1992–1994||220 E||2.2 L M111.960 I4||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.023||1985–1992||230 E||2.3 L M102.982 I4||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.026||1985–1992||260 E||2.6 L M103.940 I6||Sedan/Saloon|
|1990–1992||300 E 2.6|
|124.028||1993–1994||280 E, 300 E 2.8||2.8 L M104.942 I6||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.030||1985–1992||300 E||3.0 L M103.983 I6||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.031||1989–1992||300 E-24||3.0 L M104.980 I6||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.032||1992–1995||300 E, 320 E||3.2 L M104.992 I6||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.034||1992–1993||400 E||4.2 L M119.975 V8||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.036||1991–93||500 E||5.0 L M119.974 V8||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.036 (option 957)||1993–1994||E 60 AMG||6.0 L M119 E60 V8||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.120||1986–1989||200 D||2.0 L OM601.912 Diesel I4||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.125||1986–1989||250 D||2.5 L OM602.912 Diesel I5||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.126||1993–1996||E 250 Diesel||2.5 L OM605.911 Diesel I5||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.128||1990–1993||250 D Turbo, 300 D 2.5 Turbo||2.5 L OM602.962 Turbo Diesel I5||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.130||1985–1993||300 D||3.0 L OM603.912 Diesel I6||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.131||1994–1996||E 300 Diesel||3.0 L OM606.910 Diesel I6||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.133||1987–1993||300 D Turbo||3.0 L OM603.960 Turbo Diesel I6||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.226||1986–1993||260 E, 300 E 2.6 4Matic||2.6 L M103.943 I6||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.230||1986–1993||300 E 4Matic||3.0 L M103.985 I6||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.330||1986–1993||300 D 4Matic||3.0 L OM603.913 I6||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.333||1988–1993||300 D Turbo 4Matic||3.0 L OM603.963 I6||Sedan/Saloon|
|124.040||1992–1993||200 CE-16||2.0 L M111.940 I4||Coupé|
|124.042||1993–1994||220 CE||2.2 L M111.960 I4||Coupé|
|124.043||1987–1992||230 CE||2.3 L M102.982 I4||Coupé|
|124.050||1988–1989||300 CE||3.0 L M103.983 I6||Coupé|
|124.051||1990–1993||300 CE-24||3.0 L M104.980 I6||Coupé|
|124.052||1993–1994||300 CE, 320 CE||3.2 L M104.992 I6||Coupé|
|124.060||1993–1994||200 CE||2.0 L M111.940 I4||Cabriolet|
|124.061||1990–1993||300 CE-24||3.0 L M104.980 I6||Cabriolet|
|124.062||1993–1994||220 CE||2.2 L M111.960 I4||Cabriolet|
|124.066||1993–1994||300 CE, 320 CE||3.2 L M104.992 I6||Cabriolet|
|124.079||1993–94||200 TE||2.0 L M111.940 I4||Estate|
|124.080||1985–1993||200 T||2.0 L M102.922 I4||Estate|
|124.081||1986–1993||200 TE||2.0 L M102.963 I4||Estate|
|124.082||1993–1996||E 220||2.2 L M111.960 I4||Estate|
|124.083||1985–1992 ||230 TE||2.3 L M102.982 I4||Estate|
|124.088||1993–1994||280 TE, 300 TE 2.8||2.8 L M104.942 I6||Estate|
|124.090||1988–1991||300 TE||3.0 L M103.983 I6||Estate|
|124.091||1989–1992||300 TE-24||3.0 L M104.980 I6||Estate|
|124.290||1986–1993||300 TE 4Matic||3.0 L M103.985 I6||Estate|
|124.092||1993–1994||300 TE, 320 TE||3.2 L M104.992 I6||Estate|
|124.180||1986–1989||200 TD||2.0 L OM601.912 Diesel I4||Estate|
|124.185||1986–1989||250 TD||2.5 L OM602.912 Diesel I5||Estate|
|124.393||1986–1993||300 TD Turbo 4Matic||3.0 L OM603.963 I6||Estate|
Dimensions and weight
|Body style||Wheelbase||Length||Width||Height||Curb weight|
|Sedan/Saloon||2,800 mm (110.2 in)||4,740 mm (186.6 in)||1,740 mm (68.5 in)||1,428 mm (56.2 in)
1,451 mm (57.1 in) (4Matic)
|1,390 kg (3,064 lb)|
|Sedan/Saloon LWB||3,600 mm (141.7 in)||5,540 mm (218.1 in)||1,740 mm (68.5 in)||1,480 mm (58.3 in)||1,635 kg (3,605 lb)|
|Estate||2,800 mm (110.2 in)||4,765 mm (187.6 in)||1,740 mm (68.5 in)||1,489 mm (58.6 in)
1,498 mm (59.0 in) (4Matic)
|1,510 kg (3,329 lb)|
|Coupé||2,715 mm (106.9 in)||4,655 mm (183.3 in)||1,740 mm (68.5 in)||1,394 mm (54.9 in)
1,391 mm (54.8 in) (convertible)
|1,390 kg (3,064 lb)|
|500 E||2,800 mm (110.2 in)||4,750 mm (187.0 in)||1,796 mm (70.7 in)||1,410 mm (55.5 in)||1,710 kg (3,770 lb)|
V 124 Limousine (1989–1993)
Mercedes-Benz offered an option called "Sportline" for the W124 and W201 chassis cars. This option was available in the North American market for the 1992–93 model year 190 E 2.6, 1992–93 300 E/300 CE and 1993–95 E 320/E 320 Coupé. In the European market, however, the "Sportline" option was available for all body styles except the E 500/500 E, all of which came standard with the Sportline package and every option. The package included sport seating (sedans, not coupés), wider wheels (7" rather than 6.5") with wider profile tyres (205/60 x 15 rather than 195/65 x 15), quick ratio steering and a smaller diameter steering wheel, "Sportline" badges on the front wing moldings and gear knob, slightly lowered ride height and a specially tuned suspension including shorter, stiffer springs, struts, anti-roll bars, and bushings.
The suspension components of the Sportline package were available as an option on all cars, including estates, as option 650—sports chassis with 15-hole alloy wheels and option 653—sports chassis with eight-hole light alloy rims.
Mercedes-Benz sold a high performance version of the W124, the 500 E, created in close cooperation with and assembled by Porsche. It used the 5.0 L 32-valve V8 M119 Engine based on the engine from the 500 SL (R129) roadster. Porsche engineered the suspension and chassis design with a performance bias. Mercedes entered an agreement with Porsche to assemble the vehicles at their plant in Zuffenhausen, as the automaker was in crisis, and its factory capacitiy was underutilized. Porsche also constructed the chassis for the 400 E, which was in essence identical to the 500 E's chassis.
In some countries, the final batch of W124 was sold as the limited edition Masterpiece in 1995. Following the impending release of its successor, the Mercedes-Benz W210, the remaining units of W124 were fitted with additional accessories found in stock models such as walnut wood steering wheel (optional), airbag for front passenger, walnut center console glove box, electric rear blind and rear seat side window sunshade (optional). There were also 4 unique pieces of accessories fitted to Masterpieces which were not available to any other W124 around the world – gear knob engraved with the word Masterpiece, stainless door sills engraved with Mercedes Benz, Masterpiece label on the right side of the boot and the brand new 6-hole light alloy wheels.
|Engine||Cyl.||Power||Torque||0–100 km/h (0-62 mph)
|Maximum speed||Fuel consumption (Euro mix)|
|2.0 8V (200)||I4||105 PS (77 kW; 104 hp)||160 N⋅m (118 lb⋅ft)||12.6||187 km/h (116 mph)|
|2.0 8V||I4||109 PS (80 kW; 108 hp)||170 N⋅m (125 lb⋅ft)|
|2.0 8V (E 200)||I4||118 PS (87 kW; 116 hp)||172 N⋅m (127 lb⋅ft)||12.0–14.0||175–190 km/h||8.6 L/100 km (33 mpg‑imp; 27 mpg‑US)|
|2.3 8V||I4||132 PS (97 kW; 130 hp)||198 N⋅m (146 lb⋅ft)||10.4||204 km/h (127 mph)|
|2.0 16V||I4||136 PS (100 kW; 134 hp)||190 N⋅m (140 lb⋅ft)||11.5–12.1||183–200 km/h||8.7 L/100 km (32 mpg‑imp; 27 mpg‑US)|
|2.3 8V||I4||136 PS (100 kW; 134 hp)||205 N⋅m (151 lb⋅ft)||11.2–13.5||185–200 km/h||9.0 L/100 km (31 mpg‑imp; 26 mpg‑US)|
|2.2 16V||I4||150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp)||210 N⋅m (155 lb⋅ft)||10.6–11.1||193–210 km/h||8.8 L/100 km (32 mpg‑imp; 27 mpg‑US)|
|2.6 12V||I6||160 PS (118 kW; 158 hp)||220 N⋅m (162 lb⋅ft)||9.0-11.3||200–215 km/h (124–134 mph)|
|2.6 12V||I6||166 PS (122 kW; 164 hp)||230 N⋅m (170 lb⋅ft)||8.7–10.5||210–218 km/h||10.0 L/100 km (28 mpg‑imp; 24 mpg‑US)|
|2.6 12V||I6||170 PS (125 kW; 168 hp)||240 N⋅m (177 lb⋅ft)||8.7||212 km/h||10.5 L/100 km (27 mpg‑imp; 22 mpg‑US)|
|3.0 12V||I6||180 PS (132 kW; 178 hp)||255 N⋅m (188 lb⋅ft)||7.9–9.1||207–225 km/h||10.9 L/100 km (26 mpg‑imp; 21.6 mpg‑US)|
|3.0 12V||I6||188 PS (138 kW; 185 hp)||260 N⋅m (192 lb⋅ft)||7.9–9.6||207–228 km/h||10.9 L/100 km (26 mpg‑imp; 21.6 mpg‑US)|
|2.8 24V||I6||193 PS (142 kW; 190 hp)||270 N⋅m (199 lb⋅ft)||8.8-10.2||213–230 km/h (132–143 mph)||10.7 L/100 km (26 mpg‑imp; 22 mpg‑US)|
|2.8 24V||I6||197 PS (145 kW; 194 hp)||270 N⋅m (199 lb⋅ft)||8.8–9.1||213–230 km/h||10.7 L/100 km (26 mpg‑imp; 22 mpg‑US)|
|3.0 24V||I6||220 PS (162 kW; 217 hp)||265 N⋅m (195 lb⋅ft)||7.8–8.4||217–237 km/h||11.0 L/100 km (26 mpg‑imp; 21.4 mpg‑US)|
|3.2 24V||I6||220 PS (162 kW; 217 hp)||310 N⋅m (229 lb⋅ft)||7.8–8.3||235–243 km/h||10.9 L/100 km (26 mpg‑imp; 21.6 mpg‑US)|
|3.6 24V AMG||I6||272 PS (200 kW; 268 hp)||385 N⋅m (284 lb⋅ft)||7.0–7.2||250 km/h (155 mph)||11.0 L/100 km (26 mpg‑imp; 21.4 mpg‑US)|
|4.2 32V (E 420)||V8||286 PS (210 kW; 282 hp)||400 N⋅m (295 lb⋅ft)||6.8||250 km/h (155 mph)||11.8 L/100 km (24 mpg‑imp; 19.9 mpg‑US)|
|5.0 32V (500E)||V8||320 PS (235 kW; 316 hp)||480 N⋅m (354 lb⋅ft)||5.9||250 km/h (155 mph)||13.5 L/100 km (20.9 mpg‑imp; 17.4 mpg‑US)|
|5.0 32V (E 500)||V8||326 PS (240 kW; 322 hp)||480 N⋅m (354 lb⋅ft)||5.9||250 km/h (155 mph)|
|6.0 32V AMG||V8||381 PS (280 kW; 376 hp)||580 N⋅m (428 lb⋅ft)||5.4||250 km/h (155 mph)||14.5 L/100 km (19.5 mpg‑imp; 16.2 mpg‑US)|
|2.0 8V D||I4||72 PS (53KW; 71 hp)||124 Nm (90 Ib ft)||18.5||160 km/h||6.7 L/100 km (42 mpg UK; 35 mpg US)|
|2.0 8V D (200D/E 200 DIESEL)||I4||75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp)||126 N⋅m (93 lb⋅ft)||18||160–180 km/h (99–112 mph)||6.7 L/100 km (42 mpg‑imp; 35 mpg‑US)|
|2.5 10V D (250D)||I5||90 PS (66 kW; 89 hp)||154 N⋅m (114 lb⋅ft)||16.5||175 km/h (109 mph)|
|2.5 10V D (E250 DIESEL)||I5||94 PS (69 kW; 93 hp)||158 N⋅m (117 lb⋅ft)||16.5–18.5||160–165 km/h||7.2 L/100 km (39 mpg‑imp; 33 mpg‑US)|
|3.0 12V D||I6||109 PS (80 kW; 108 hp)||185 N⋅m (136 lb⋅ft)||13.7||190 km/h (118 mph)|
|2.5 20V D||I5||113 PS (83 kW; 111 hp)||173 N⋅m (128 lb⋅ft)||18.5–20.4||190 km/h||6.8 L/100 km (42 mpg‑imp; 35 mpg‑US)|
|3.0 12V D||I6||113 PS (83 kW; 111 hp)||191 N⋅m (141 lb⋅ft)||15.0–16.4||175–190 km/h||7.8 L/100 km (36 mpg‑imp; 30 mpg‑US)|
|2.5 10V TD||I5||122 PS (90 kW; 120 hp)||225 N⋅m (166 lb⋅ft)||12.3||195 km/h (121 mph)|
|2.5 10V TD||I5||126 PS (93 kW; 124 hp)||231 N⋅m (170 lb⋅ft)||12.5–13.0||190–195 km/h||7.5 L/100 km (38 mpg‑imp; 31 mpg‑US)|
|3.0 24V D||I6||136 PS (100 kW; 134 hp)||210 N⋅m (155 lb⋅ft)||12.8–13.8||187–200 km/h||7.4 L/100 km (38 mpg‑imp; 32 mpg‑US)|
|3.0 12V TD||I6||143 PS (105 kW; 141 hp)||267 N⋅m (197 lb⋅ft)||10.9||202 km/h (126 mph)|
|3.0 12V TD||I6||147 PS (108 kW; 145 hp)||273 N⋅m (201 lb⋅ft)||10.9–12.8||186–200 km/h||7.8 L/100 km (36 mpg‑imp; 30 mpg‑US)|
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Some main innovations of the W124 series were related to occupant safety. Derived from the Mercedes W201, with which the W124 shares the basic layout, its similarly angular body was designed to withstand an offset-crash in a concrete barrier at some 35 mph (56 km/h) without serious harm to the occupants and a largely undamaged passenger cabin, a windshield that stays in place and doors easily opened without special recovery tools. This crash-test configuration became the base for the Euro-NCAP procedure currently being the standard crash-test configuration in the EU. Unlike Euro-NCAP, Mercedes required the body of the W124 to withstand an offset impact from the front and from the rear.
The W124 also featured a driver's side airbag (optional in Europe, standard in the US from launch), height-adjustable seat belts with electronic-mechanical pre-tensioners (standard) for both front passengers, rear seat belts which automatically adapted to the size of the passengers (standard), pedals that were moved inversely in a frontal impact (away from the drivers feet and in the direction of the bulkhead separating the cabin from the engine) and door arm rests with deformable elements designed to reduce abdominal injury risk resulting from a side impact.
The dashboard made of impact-absorbing, artificial foam was reinforced with a thin aluminium layer which effectively prevented hoses, valves, housings and other components from heating and engine from penetrating through the dashboard inside the passenger cabin in a severe impact. The passenger glove box also featured a defined point of rupture, which considerably reduced the probability of front passenger injuries.
Following the Mercedes W201, the W124 was the second serially manufactured car in history to see widespread use of light-weight high-strength steels, which today are a standard in car design.
From late 1988 on, the W124 was one of the first cars available with a front passenger's SRS airbag as an option for the 1989 model year.
The W124 gained a good reputation for reliability. In 1995 the diesel engined version topped the "upper middle class" category in a reliability survey of 4–6-year-old cars undertaken by the German Automobile Association (ADAC), with 11.8 recorded breakdowns per 1,000 vehicles for four-year-old cars and 21.6 for six-year-old ones: this compared with 14.6 breakdowns per 1,000 cars for four-year-old Audi 100s and 27.3 for six-year-old big Audis.
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Media related to Mercedes-Benz W124 at Wikimedia Commons
- Curbside Classic: Mercedes W124 (1985–1996 E-Class) The Best Car Of The Past Thirty Years – retrospective of the W124
- http://www.w124.org French speaking club for all Mercedes W124 (1984–1996)
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