- “Medium Mercedes Class” celebrated its world premiere in November 1984
- New variety: Saloon, Estate, Coupé, long-wheelbase version and Convertible
- Since 1993, the medium Mercedes-Benz model series has officially been named the E-Class
Welcome to a distinguished circle: this year the first vehicles in the Mercedes-Benz model series 124 will receive the coveted H registration plate, signifying that they have achieved the status of young classics. This model series displayed various body shapes and numerous innovations, and proved a winner with customers worldwide: a total of more than 2.7 million units were produced between 1984 and 1997.
The keenly anticipated new saloon in the upper medium class celebrated its premiere in November 1984. The new model series 124 was launched with the models 200 D, 250 D, 300 D, 200, 230 E, 260 E, and 300 E. The 200 E was also produced for the Italian export market. Mercedes-Benz still followed its classic model designation pattern when the series had its debut in 1984, but in 1993 the medium model series was given the name E-Class. The front and rear axle designs already familiar from the compact W 201 series (“Baby Benz”) presented in 1982 ensured outstanding handling characteristics and a high level of active safety. They feature individual wishbone control arms at the front and a multi-link independent suspension at the rear.
Visually and technically the medium model series took its lead from the compact W 201, with clear, sporty lines and body panels of high-strength steel, but set new standards in terms of technology, comfort, and design. The exterior design was created by Joseph Gallitzendörfer and Peter Pfeiffer in the team led by the head of design, Bruno Sacco.
Using systematic lightweight construction methods, the body had new styling features based on practical considerations. Two typical design features are the trapezoidal boot lid drawn well down into the rear end and the slanted inner edges of the tail lights. This allowed a particularly low loading sill for the large boot. Another characteristic feature was the rear end, which tapered towards the rear and was heavily rounded at the upper side edges, contributing to an especially low drag coefficient. On market launch, the cd value was 0.29 to 0.30 depending on the model – a sensation at the time. Later models even achieved cd values as low as 0.26. The aerodynamic improvements also considerably lowered fuel consumption compared to the preceding series.
One less conspicuous but innovative design detail was the eccentric-sweep panoramic windscreen wiper. It swept 86 per cent of the windscreen – at the time the largest swept area of any passenger car in the world. Thanks to linear travel added to the rotational movement, the upper corners of the windscreen could be wiped clear more efficiently than by a conventional single-arm wiper. Electrically heated windscreen washer nozzles were standard equipment for all models in the series.