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Mercedes-Benz 300 SE long Sedan (W112)
|Also called||300SE / 300SE long|
|Assembly||Stuttgart Untertürkheim, Germany|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Full-size luxury car|
|Body style||4-door sedan
|Engine||3000 cc M189 I6|
|Predecessor||Mercedes-Benz W189 (4-door)
Mercedes-Benz W188 (2-door)
|Successor||Mercedes-Benz W109 (4-door)
Mercedes-Benz W111 (280SE 3.5, 2-door)
- See Mercedes-Benz S-Class for a complete overview of all S-Class models.
The Mercedes-Benz W112, marketed as the Mercedes-Benz 300SE, was the most modern model in Mercedes-Benz's line-up during the early 1960s. The car was produced in three body styles: coupé, convertible, and sedans. The cars were identical to the standard Mercedes-Benz W111 Fintail versions, but fitted with the M189 big-block six-cylinder engine, as well as features such as air suspension, power steering, automatic transmission, as well as better wood and leather trim details.
The previous generation of Mercedes models consisted of the entry-level 4-cylinder 180/190 series, the mid-range 220 series of sedan, coupe, and convertible, a sports 190SL coupe and a roadster, all built on a Ponton unibody chassis. The top range 300 series of sedan, coupe, convertible, and roadster, were hand-built on the archaic X-frame chassis based on pre-war models. In addition, there was the 300SL coupe/roadster, built on a unique tubular platform.
In the late 1950s, Daimler began to initiate a new policy economy of scale, and unified the entire range of models on one platform for its next generation of cars. Assembly of all 2-door 300S W187s ended in 1957, and in 1958, the fuel-injected W128 220SE Ponton was introduced. The new generation of fintail models was introduced in 1959. First came the 220/220S/200SE W111 sedans, these were joined in 1961 by the 220SE W111 coupe and convertible, as well as the four-cylinder W110 190 and 190D. A replacement for the big W189 Type 300 Adenauer limousine, was still being developed. Rather than developing a new platform, the six-cylinder 3-litre engine from the W189 was installed in the W111 models. Although the new luxury models looked like the regular models, sales of the W112 improved.
Mercedes-Benz used marketing techniques to separate the W112 from the W111. These included separate brochures and the cars were presented in separate showrooms. Externally the cars were adorned with almost double the chrome details that were available to the W111s, bigger 14" rims and features such as power steering, pneumatic suspension, and automatic transmission as standard (though manual would return as an option). The car cost almost double the value of the top range 220SE W111. In 1963, Mercedes-Benz went on to create the long-wheelbase sedan, commonly referred to as the 300SEL (Mercedes-Benz would introduce the L suffix in the next generation). Performance-wise the 300SEs topped the range, with the M189 six-cylinder engine producing 160 hp (170 after 1964) and giving a top speed of 180 km/h (190 after 1964, both figures 175 and 185 for automatic transmission respectively).
The W112 turned out to be a very short-lived venture. In 1963 Mercedes-Benz premièred the true replacement for the Adenauer, in the new W100 600 limousine. Having filled its top niche, demand for the W112 plummeted and production volume fell drastically: in 1962 a total of 2,769 were built, but the next year this fell to 1,382, and in 1965 with the coming of the W108/109 series, the sedan W112 was dropped, with a total of 6,748 300SEs in standard and long wheelbase built. In 1962, for every W112 sedan there was 24 W111s rolling off the production line, while by 1964, this ratio was almost 1:40.
The Coupe and cabriolet 2-door W112s fared better. Arriving in 1962, only a year later after the première of the 2-door W111s. The latter was offered as a single 220SE model and thus the 300SE served as the only stable mate. Hence, a 5:1 production ratio was kept. The two-door W111/W112 was production continued after 1965 with the coming of the new generation W108/W109 sedans. However, in 1967, Mercedes-Benz chose to finish producing the now-ancient M189 engine. The replacement was the 280SE.
Mercedes-Benz ended the previous nomenclature of 190/220/300, and began a common practice of exchanging engines between models. The LWB 300SE established the long wheelbase models that became standard in future S-Class generations. The 300SE sedan was entered in international and European Touring Car Challenge and won several rallies.
The W112 models have no relation to the 1991 Mercedes-Benz C112 experimental mid-engined sportscar.
- 1961–1965 300 SE Sedan (5,202 built)
- 1962–1967 300 SE Coupé (2,419 built)
- 1962–1967 300 SE Cabriolet (Convertible) (708 built)
- 1963–1965 300 SE long long-wheelbase Sedan (1,546 built, often wrongly called 300 SEL)
- "Mercedes-Benz U.S Models". Hiwaay.net. Archived from the original on November 25, 2005. Retrieved December 1, 2005.
|« previous — 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||W111||C107|
|Large car||Sedan||W111 (until 1968)||(began 1965) W108 / W109||W116|
|Limousine||W186 / W189||W100 (600)|