Mercedes-Benz W123

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Mercedes-Benz W123
123 280E 0477110307 (14wik).JPG
Overview
Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Production 1976–1985
2,696,915 built[1]
4-door: 2,397,514
Coupé: 99,884
Estate: 199,517
Assembly

Sindelfingen, West Germany

Stuttgart, West Germany

Bremen, West Germany
Designer Bruno Sacco (Saloon & coupe: 1973, T-Modell: 1975)
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size luxury car / Executive car
Body style 4-door saloon
2-door coupé
5-door estate
4-door limousine
Powertrain
Engine 2.0 L I4
2.0 L I4 Diesel
2.2 L I4 Diesel
2.3 L I4
2.4 L I4 Diesel
2.5 L I6
2.8 L I6
3.0 L I5 Diesel
Transmission 3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
4-speed manual
5-speed manual
Dimensions
Wheelbase Saloon: 2,795 mm (110.0 in)
Coupé: 2,710 mm (106.7 in)
Limousine/ambulance/hearse: 3,425 mm (134.8 in)
Length Saloon: 4,724 mm (186.0 in)[2] (euro-spec bumpers)
4,640 mm (183 in) (Coupé)
5,354 mm (210.8 in) (Limousine)
Width Saloon: 1,784 mm (70.2 in)[2]
Height Saloon: 1,435 mm (56.5 in)[2]
Curb weight Saloon: 1,625 kg (3,582.5 lb) (turbodiesel, automatic)
Chronology
Predecessor Mercedes-Benz W115
Successor Mercedes-Benz W124

W123 is the internal chassis-designation Mercedes-Benz used for their executive line of cars, manufactured between 1976 and 1985.

The W123 models surpassed their predecessor, the W114 and W115 models, as the most successful Mercedes, selling 2.7 million cars before replacement by the W124 after 1985. The additional range of smaller Mercedes-Benz W201 models were introduced in 1982.

Naming[edit]

As usual, model names were related to engine sizes, type of engine and chassis type:

  • C for Coupé
  • L for Long-wheelbase
  • T for Touring (estate/station wagon)
  • D for Diesel,
  • E for Einspritzung (fuel injection)

Model history[edit]

Mercedes-Benz C123 (Euro-spec)
Mercedes-Benz W123 saloon (Euro-spec)
Mercedes-Benz W123 sedan (US)
Mercedes-Benz 280TE estate
Mercedes-Benz 300CD Turbodiesel coupe (US-version)
Mercedes Benz V123 Limo (Euro-spec)

Mercedes-Benz introduced the W123 four-door versions in January, 1976.[3] While there were some technical similarities to their predecessors, the new models were larger in wheelbase and exterior dimensions. The styling was also updated, although stylistic links with the W114 / W115 were maintained. Initially, all models except 280/280E featured quad unequal-size round headlights and the latter large rectangular units. When facelifted these units became standard across the range. All W115 engines were carried over, with the 3 litre 5-cylinder diesel model being renamed from "240D 3.0" to "300D" (as it had already been called before in North American markets). The only new engine was the 250's 2,525 cc inline-six (Type M123, a short-stroke version of the 2.8 litre six Type M110) that replaced the old 2,496 cc Type M114 "six".

In the spring of 1976, a coupé version was introduced on a shorter wheelbase than the saloon (2,710 mm (106.7 in) versus 2,795 mm (110.0 in)) for the saloon). This W123C/CE was available as a 230C (later 230CE) and as a 280C/CE in most markets; in North America there were additional 300CD versions with naturally aspirated, later turbocharged 3 litre diesel engines.

It is a tribute to the car's instant popularity – and possibly to the caution built into the production schedules – that nine months after its introduction, a black market had developed in Germany for Mercedes-Benz W123s available for immediate delivery.[4] Customers willing to order new cars from their local authorized dealer for the recommended list price faced waiting times in excess of twelve months. Meanwhile, models that were barely used and were available almost immediately commanded a premium over the new price of around DM 5,000.[4]

From August 1977, long-wheelbase versions (3,425 mm (134.8 in)) were produced. These were available as 7/8 seater saloons with works bodies or as a chassis with complete front body clip, the latter serving as the base for ambulance and hearse bodies by external suppliers like Binz or Miesen. These "Lang" versions could be ordered as 240D, 300D and 250 models.

At the Frankfurt Auto Show in September, 1977 the W123T estate was introduced; the T in the model designation stood for "Touring and Transport". All engines derivative except "200TD" were available in the range. T production began in March, 1978 in Mercedes' Bremen factory.

In early 1979, the diesel models power output was increased; power rose from 55 PS (40 kW; 54 hp) to 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp) in the 200D, from 65 PS (48 kW; 64 hp) to 72 PS (53 kW; 71 hp) in the 240D and from 80 PS (59 kW; 79 hp) to 88 PS (65 kW; 87 hp) in the 300D; at the same time, the 220D went out of production.

The first Mercedes turbo diesel production W123 appeared in September, 1979. This was the 300 TD Turbodiesel, available with automatic transmission only. In most markets, the turbocharged 5-cylinder 3 litre diesel engine (Type OM617) was offered only in the T body style, while in North America it was also available in saloon and coupé guises.

June 1980 saw the introduction of new 4-cylinder petrol engines (Type M102). A new 2 litre four with shorter stroke replaced the old M115, a fuel-injected 2.3 litre version of this engine (in 230E/TE/CE) the old carbureted 230. Both engines were more powerful than their predecessors.

In 1980/81 the carbureted 280 versions went out of production; the fuel-injected 280E continued to be offered.

In September, 1982, all models received a mild facelift. The rectangular headlights, previously fitted only to the 280/280E, were standardized across the board, as was power steering. Since February, 1982, an optional 5-speed manual transmission was available in all models (except 300 TD).

W123 production ended in January, 1986 with 63 T-models rolling out. Most popular single models were the 240D (455,000 built), the 230E (442,000 built) and the 200D (378,000 built).

W123 introduced innovations including ABS (optional from August, 1980), a retractable steering column and an airbag for the driver (optional from 1982).

Available options included MB-Tex (Mercedes-Benz Texturized Punctured Vinyl) upholstery or velour or leather upholstery, interior wood trim, passenger side exterior mirror (standard on T models), 5-speed manual transmission (European market only), 4-speed automatic transmission (standard in turbodiesel models), power windows with rear-seat switch cut-outs, vacuum powered central locking, rear-facing extra seats (station wagon only), Standheizung (prestart timer-controlled engine heating), self-locking differential, sun roof, air conditioning, climate control, "Alpine" horn (selectable quieter horn), headlamp wipers (European market only), Tempomat (cruise control), power steering (standard after 1982/08), seat heating, catalytic converter (available from 1984 for California only, from fall (autumn) 1984 also in Germany for the 230E of which one thousand were built).

Power (vacuum servo) assisted disc brakes were standard on all W123s.

Models (except North America and Japan)[edit]

Chassis code Years Model Engine Power Torque
W123.020 1976–1981 200 2.0 L M115 I4 94 PS (69 kW; 93 hp) @ 4800 158 N·m (117 lb·ft) @ 3000
W123.220 1979–1985 200 2.0 L M102 I4 109 PS (80 kW; 108 hp) @ 5200 170 N·m (125 lb·ft) @ 3000
W123.280 1980–1985 200T 2.0 L M102 I4 109 PS (80 kW; 108 hp) @ 5200 170 N·m (125 lb·ft) @ 3000
W123.120 1976–1979 200D 2.0 L OM615 I4 Diesel 55 PS (40 kW; 54 hp) @ 4200 113 N·m (83 lb·ft) @ 2400
W123.120 1979–1985 200D 2.0 L OM615 I4 Diesel 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp) @ 4400 113 N·m (83 lb·ft) @ 2400
W123.126 1976–1979 220D 2.2 L OM615 I4 Diesel 60 PS (44 kW; 59 hp) @ 4200 125 N·m (92 lb·ft) @ 2400
W123.023 1975–1981 230 2.3 L M115 I4 109 PS (80 kW; 108 hp) @ 4800 185 N·m (136 lb·ft) @ 3000
W123.223 1979–1985 230E 2.3 L M102 I4 136 PS (100 kW; 134 hp) @ 5100 201 N·m (148 lb·ft) @ 3500
W123.043 1977–1980 230C 2.3 L M115 I4 109 PS (80 kW; 108 hp) @ 4800 185 N·m (136 lb·ft) @ 3000
W123.243 1980–1985 230CE 2.3 L M102 I4 136 PS (100 kW; 134 hp) @ 5100 201 N·m (148 lb·ft) @ 3500
W123.083 1978–1980 230T 2.3 L M115 I4 109 PS (80 kW; 108 hp) @ 4800 185 N·m (136 lb·ft) @ 3000
W123.283 1980–1985 230TE 2.3 L M102 I4 136 PS (100 kW; 134 hp) @ 5100 201 N·m (148 lb·ft) @ 3500
W123.123 1976–1985 240D 2.4 L OM616 I4 Diesel 65 PS (48 kW; 64 hp) @ 4200
from 02/79 72 PS (53 kW; 71 hp) @ 4400
137 N·m (101 lb·ft) @ 2400
W123.125 1977–1985 240TD Estate Wagon 2.4 L OM616 I4 Diesel 65 PS (48 kW; 64 hp) @ 4200
from 02/79 72 PS (53 kW; 71 hp) @ 4400
137 N·m (101 lb·ft) @ 2400
W123.183 1978–1986 240D 2.4 L OM616 I4 Diesel 65 PS (48 kW; 64 hp) @ 4200
from 02/79 72 PS (53 kW; 71 hp) @ 4400
137 N·m (101 lb·ft) @ 2400
W123.026 1975–1985 250 2.5 L M123 I6 129 PS (95 kW; 127 hp) @ 5500
from 09/79 140 PS (100 kW; 140 hp) @ 5500
192 N·m (142 lb·ft) @ 3500
from 09/79 196 N·m (145 lb·ft) @ 3500
W123.028 1977–1985 250 LWB 2.5 L M123 I6 129 PS (95 kW; 127 hp) @ 5500
from 09/79 140 PS (100 kW; 140 hp) @ 5500
192 N·m (142 lb·ft) @ 3500
from 09/79 196 N·m (145 lb·ft) @ 3500
W123.086 1978–1985 250 2.5 L M123 I6 140 PS (100 kW; 140 hp) @ 5500
from 09/79 140 PS (100 kW; 140 hp) @ 5500
192 N·m (142 lb·ft) @ 3500
from 09/79 196 N·m (145 lb·ft) @ 3500
W123.030 1975–1981 280 2.8 L M110 I6 156 PS (115 kW; 154 hp) @ 5500 222 N·m (164 lb·ft) @ 4000
W123.033 1975–1985 280E 2.8 L M110 I6 177 PS (130 kW; 175 hp) @ 6000
from 1978 185 PS (136 kW; 182 hp) @ 5800
229 N·m (169 lb·ft) @ 4500
from 09/79 235 N·m (173 lb·ft) @ 4500
W123.050 1977–1980 280C 2.8 L M110 I6 156 PS (115 kW; 154 hp) @ 5500 222 N·m (164 lb·ft) @ 4000
W123.053 1977–1985 280CE 2.8 L M110 I6 177 PS (130 kW; 175 hp) @ 6000
from 1978 185 PS (136 kW; 182 hp) @ 5800
229 N·m (169 lb·ft) @ 4500
from 09/79 235 N·m (173 lb·ft) @ 4500
W123.093 1978–1985 280TE 2.8 L M110 I6 185 PS (136 kW; 182 hp) @ 6000
from 1978 185 PS (136 kW; 182 hp) @ 5800
229 N·m (169 lb·ft) @ 4500
from 09/79 235 N·m (173 lb·ft) @ 4500
W123.130 1976–1985 300D 3.0 L OM617 I5 Diesel 80 PS (59 kW; 79 hp) @ 4000
from 09/79 88 PS (65 kW; 87 hp) @ 4400
169 N·m (125 lb·ft) @ 2400
W123.132 1977–1985 300D LWB 3.0 L OM617 I5 Diesel 80 PS (59 kW; 79 hp) @ 4000
from 09/79 88 PS (65 kW; 87 hp) @ 4400
169 N·m (125 lb·ft) @ 2400
W123.133 1981–1985 300D Turbo 3.0 L OM617a I5 Diesel 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp) @ 4350 245 N·m (181 lb·ft) @ 2400
W123.150 1977–1981 300CD 3.0 L OM617 I5 Diesel 80 PS (59 kW; 79 hp) @ 4000
from 09/79 88 PS (65 kW; 87 hp) @ 4400
169 N·m (125 lb·ft) @ 2400
W123.153 1981–1985 300CD Turbo 3.0 L OM617a I5 Diesel 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp) @ 4350 245 N·m (181 lb·ft) @ 2400
W123.190 1978–1985 300TD 3.0 L OM617 I5 Diesel 80 PS (59 kW; 79 hp) @ 4000
from 09/79 88 PS (65 kW; 87 hp) @ 4400
169 N·m (125 lb·ft) @ 2400
W123.193 1980–1985 300TD Turbo 3.0 L OM617a I5 Diesel 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp) @ 4350 245 N·m (181 lb·ft) @ 2400

North America and Japan[edit]

In these markets the following models were offered:[5]

Model Years Engine Power Torque
230 MY 1977–1978 M115 93.0 hp (69 kW) @ 4800 125 lb·ft (169 N·m) @ 2500
240D MY 1977–1983 OM616.912 62 hp (46 kW) @ 4000
from MY 1981 67 hp (50 kW) @ 4000
97 lb·ft (132 N·m) @ 2400
280E MY 1977–1981 M110 142 hp (106 kW) @ 5750
from MY 1980: 140 hp (104 kW) @ 5500
149 lb·ft (202 N·m) @ 4600
from MY 1980: 145 lb·ft (197 N·m) @ 4600
280CE MY 1978–1981 M110 142 hp (106 kW) @ 5750
from MY 1980: 140 hp (104 kW) @ 5500
149 lb·ft (202 N·m) @ 4600
from MY 1980: 145 lb·ft (197 N·m) @ 4600
300D MY 1977–1981 OM617.912 77 hp (57 kW) @ 4000
from MY 1981: 83 hp (62 kW) @ 4200
115 lb·ft (156 N·m) @ 2400
from MY 1981: 120 lb·ft (163 N·m) @ 2400
300CD MY 1978–1981 OM617.912 77 hp (57 kW) @ 4000
from MY 1981: 83 hp (62 kW) @ 4200
115 lb·ft (156 N·m) @ 2400
from MY 1981: 120 lb·ft (163 N·m) @ 2400
300TD
MY 1979–1980 OM617.912 77 hp (57 kW) @ 4000 115 lb·ft (156 N·m) @ 2400
300TD Turbo
MY 1981–1985 OM617.952 125 hp (93 kW) @ 4350 181 lb·ft (245 N·m) @ 2400
300D
MY 1981–1985 OM617.952 125 hp (93 kW) @ 4350 181 lb·ft (245 N·m) @ 2400
300CD
MY 1981–1985 OM617.952 125 hp (93 kW) @ 4350 181 lb·ft (245 N·m) @ 2400

The North American W123s differ from the European W123s due to United States Department of Transportation requirements.

Notable exterior differences included:

  • Larger bumpers
  • Round, sealed-beam headlights/fog lamps. Early cars were delivered with clear fog lamps through to model year 1979, later units with yellow
  • Location of ID-tag on A-pillar
  • Emission control devices

In popular culture[edit]

A beige sedan based on the W123 line is the vehicle of choice for Porky Pig in The Looney Tunes Show. This model is used as a taxi in most Arab countries (middle east) and in Malaysia it is used in rural areas Kampung. James May also drove one in the Top Gear Botswana Special.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oswald, Werner (2001). Deutsche Autos 1945–1990, vol.3. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. p. 99. ISBN 3-613-02131-5. 
  2. ^ a b c "Autotest: Mercedes-Benz 200". Autocar. 149 (nbr 4271): Pages 26–31. 16 September 1978. 
  3. ^ All dates in this paragraph according to: Oswald, Werner (2001). Deutsche Autos 1945–1990, vol. 3. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. pp. 96–111. ISBN 3-613-02131-5. 
  4. ^ a b Richarz, Hans-Robert (1976-09-01). "Sterntaler: Mercedes-Wagen zu Schwarzmarktpreisen" [Star dollars: Mercedes cars at black market prices]. Auto, Motor und Sport (in German) (18): 8–9. 
  5. ^ Mike Covello: Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946–2002. Krause Publications, Iola 2002, ISBN 0-87341-605-8, p. 539-43.

External links[edit]