Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3

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Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3
Mercedes-Benz W109 fl.jpg
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size luxury car (F)
LayoutFR layout
PlatformMercedes-Benz W109
Engine6,332 cc (386.4 cu in) M100 V8
Transmission4-speed automatic
Wheelbase2,865 mm (112.8 in)
Length5,000 mm (196.9 in)
Width1,810 mm (71.3 in)
Height1,420 mm (55.9 in)
Curb weight1,765 kg (3,891 lb)
SuccessorMercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 was a luxury car built by Mercedes Benz from 1968 to 1972. It featured the company's powerful 6.3-litre M100 V8 from the luxurious 600 limousine installed in the normally six-cylinder powered Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL. The result was a nearly 2-ton sedan with performance similar to most dedicated sports cars and American muscle cars of the era. At the time of its release it was the world's fastest four-door car.


The car started out as a private venture in 1966 by company engineer Erich Waxenberger. His principle was simple: take the powerful 6.3 litre V8 Mercedes-Benz M100 engine from the luxurious 600 limousine, and fit it into the regular Mercedes-Benz W109 S-Class model which only had 6-cylinder engines at that time. The result was a nearly 2-ton sedan with performance similar to most dedicated sports cars of the era. It is said that Rudolf Uhlenhaut, when invited to test drive the prototype, opened the hood at the first red light to find out how the big engine and its supporting equipment had been squeezed in there.

Surprisingly,[citation needed] the rather conservative company[citation needed] went ahead and launched the car into the marketplace at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1968,[1] in order to make better use of the M100 engine production facilities. The 6,500 built of the 6.3 outnumbered the 2,700 built of the 600 by far.

What set this car apart from its contemporaries in the late 1960s was that it could cruise at over 200 km/h (124 mph) with five occupants in complete comfort within the body styled by Paul Bracq. Later, the company also fitted new, smaller V8 engines into the W109 series. The 300SEL 4.5 was only available in the United States, while the 280 SE 3.5 Coupé could also be ordered in Europe.

In 1975, the Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 was introduced as a 300SEL 6.3 successor with larger displacement, modifications to the equipment, and more power.


M100 engine
  • 6.332-litre V8 with Bosch fuel injection,
  • 250 PS (184 kW; 247 hp) at 4000 rpm, 300 HP SAE at 4100 rpm
  • 500.3 N⋅m (369.0 lb⋅ft) at 2800 rpm, 588 N⋅m (434 lb⋅ft) SAE at 3000 rpm
  • Max. engine speed: 5250 rpm


  • 0-62 mph (100 km/h): 6.6 seconds
  • 0-100 mph (160 km/h) : 14.6 seconds
  • Standing 1/4-mile (~400 m) : 14.2 seconds
  • Top Speed : 220 km/h (136.7 mph)†

† Factory figures

Special build 300 SEL AMG 6.8-litre road race cars

6.8-litre engine fitted (315 kW/428 hp and torque to 610 Nm/450 lb-ft), the 300 SEL AMG could reach 100 km/h in only 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 265 km/h.

Test results[edit]

Auto, Motor und Sport published the following test results for the 300 SEL 6.3 in March 1968:[2]

  • 0–80 km/h (49.7 mph): 4.3 s
  • 0–100 km/h (62.1 mph): 6.5 s
  • 0–120 km/h (74.6 mph): 9.3 s
  • 0–140 km/h (87.0 mph): 13.0 s
  • 0–160 km/h (99.4 mph): 17.3 s
  • 0–180 km/h (111.8 mph): 22.8 s
  • 0–200 km/h (124.3 mph): 31.0 s
  • 0–1,000 m (3,281 ft): 27.1 s
  • Top Speed: 220 km/h (137 mph)


4-speed automatic gearbox


Air suspension, ventilated disc brakes on all four wheels, power windows, central locking and power steering all came standard. Air conditioning, power sunroof, writing tables (for rear seats), window curtains, audio tape deck and rear seat reading lamps were available as optional equipment.

6,526 of these vehicles were produced, and though quite costly to maintain, they are very collectible today.

Motor racing[edit]

Rote Sau car at Legendy 2014 car show in Prague

Originally not intended for motor sports, a few cars were built for racing, usually with the engine enlarged to 6.8 liters or more. The car had an impressive, but short-lived racing career, due to the lack of suitable tires, or rule changes preventing the use of them.

AMG, now the sports tuning subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, but then a small local tuning company founded by former Mercedes engineers, modified a damaged car to compete in racing events, nicknamed "Red pig" (German: Rote Sau)[3] which finished 2nd in the 24 Hours of Spa in 1971. This heavy vehicle with 6834 cc and 420 hp (313 kW) was fast, but frequent refuelling was necessary, and tire wear was also high. The car was sold to French company Matra, they used it for tests of jet fighter landing gear. Five were made, three racers and two test cars. Last original works-built Waxenberger 69 "red pig" is in Mobilia Automotive Museum, Finland.


  1. ^ "News: New V-8 Mercedes". Motor. Vol. nbr 3430. 16 March 1968. p. 58.
  2. ^ Auto, Motor und Sport 6/1968 16 March 1968
  3. ^ Tom Grünweg (19 May 2006). "Renaissance der "roten Sau"". Der Spiegel (in German).

External links[edit]