Stuttgart. – 59 kW (80 hp) signified a quantum leap in 1974: The five-cylinder diesel engine on board the Mercedes-Benz 240 D 3.0 produced such an output, making the model series 115, commonly known as the “Stroke/8,” the torquiest and fastest diesel-powered passenger car in the world. The diesel engine combined strong driving power with impressive economy. At the same time, the 240 D 3.0 was the first series-production car with a five-cylinder engine.
Five-cylinder diesel engines were not a totally new phenomenon 40 years ago – they had already proven successful in trucks and as stationary devices. Their use in a passenger car placed Mercedes-Benz in the headlines and assured the company of a pioneering role in the field of engine technology, however. The new engine accelerated the 240 D 3.0 from 0 to 100 km/h in 19.9 seconds, with a top speed of 148 km/h (automatic: 20.8 seconds, 143 km/h). This performance made the 240 D 3.0 the undisputed leader in the field of diesel-powered cars at the time of its press launch. “With its refined character, smooth running and economy (10.8 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres), the latest diesel-powered vehicle from Mercedes will appeal to a new and broad range of customers,” predicted the press announcement, claiming: “With the 240 D 3.0, driving a diesel has become even more attractive.” From a present-day perspective, the car undoubtedly paved the way for the continuing success of the company’s diesel cars.