280S : 280SE : 280SEL : 300SD : 350SE : 350SEL : 450SE : 450SEL : 450SEL 6.9
A completely newly developed luxury car was presented to the public in September 1972. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class (internal designation: W116) replaced the 108/109 series and was the first series for which the name "S-Class" was officially used.
Initial models consisted of the 280S and 280SE with 2.8 L inline-six engines and 350SE with a 3.5 L V8 engine. Six months later the S-Class was also available with a larger displacement capacity of the 4.5 L V8 engine wearing badges of 450SE and 450SEL, the latter with a 100 mm longer wheel base benefiting the rear passengers. From November 1973 the long wheel-base version was also available as the 350SEL, and in April 1974 also as the 280SEL.
In May 1975 the 450SEL 6.9 was presented as the new top model of the range and as the legitimate successor to 300SEL 6.3. The powerful 6.9 L V8 engine, developed from the 6.3 L, achieved 210 kW and a maximum torque of 550 Nm. A hydropneumatic suspension with level control system guaranteed the highest driving comfort. Further equipment standard on the top model included central locking system, air-conditioning and headlamp washer system.
In May 1978 the model 300SD was introduced to the USA and Canadian markets. The new S-Class model - for the first time in the history of this vehicle category - was driven by a diesel engine. The 3.0 L 5 cylinder, which had proven so well in the types 240D 3.0 and 300D, was fitted with a turbocharger. The development of this unusual S-Class variant had been started with the goal to fulfil the lower consumption figures introduced by the US-government.