- The cars of the 123 series remain stars on the roads of this world through today
- A perfect everyday vehicle owing to outstanding qualities
The saloons of the 123 series are everyday Mercedes-Benz icons. Even today there is hardly a country that does not have a substantial number of these vehicles still on the road – despite the fact that the last units rolled off the assembly line back in 1985. In Germany, for example, there are still around 33,000 of them; in the USA, easily 106,000, and in Italy about 13,300 (as of September 2009). This speaks for the longevity of the series, in every respect: i t set standards for quality, comfort, safety and design in its day – and still satisfies on every count. A person who drives a 200 D, 230 or 280 E saloon today can still experience all the values of the Mercedes-Benz brand in the car.
The saloons, internally designated W 123, are therefore classic cars with workaday qualities. At the same time the vehicle makes the emphatic statement that where mobility is concerned its owner prefers long-term investment to short-lived consumption. Even among the “internet generation” a modern classic from Mercedes-Benz radiates decidedly more coolness than a modish small car.
The balanced overall characteristics make the series one of the most comfortable cars of the upper mid-size category of its period. Out on the road in urban traffic or over long distances, one still maintains a high standard of travel in this car. The design, whose classic lines radiate a great timelessness, is one reason. And every model is endowed with fully fledged everyday suitability.
The broad engine range extends from the smallest diesel in the 200 D model with 40 kW/54 HP to the petrol-engined 280 E with 130 kW/177 HP. Catalytic converters can be retrofitted on most petrol-engined models so that they can get a green particulate emissions sticker valid in Germany.
The Mercedes-Benz engineers set great store by safety in designing the 123 series. Numerous examples can be cited: the double-wishbone front suspension from the S-Class with its neutral setting (zero scrub radius) ensures that the wheels are not deflected inwards or outwards during braking. A sturdy passenger compartment with large crumple zones affords greatest possible safety to the occupants. The design of the steering column of the 123 series reduces the danger of the column penetrating into the passenger compartment. And the fuel tank is located over the rear axle, which gives it the best possible protection in an accident. For the first time in the upper mid-size category, the anti-lock braking system ABS and the airbag were available in the 123 series.
Value retention instead of loss of value
Driving a classic car can be quite attractive even financially. Crucial to any calculation are, first, an acceptable purchase price and a good condition of the vehicle. The rest is calculable; estimating roughly, if one buys a well-maintained Mercedes-Benz 230 E for 8000 euros instead of the latest small car for 15,000 euros, sufficient financial scope remains to pay, for example, the higher motor vehicle tax for years to come. Possible repairs also can be paid for out of the difference. But the biggest advantage of a modern classic is that, if properly serviced and well cared for, its value at least stays the same, i.e., there is practically no further depreciation, and in many cases even rises over the years.
The excellent spare parts supply by Mercedes-Benz helps maintain the car: almost every part can be procured through a Mercedes-Benz dealer and the company’s own ordering system, usually with overnight delivery. And a number of authorised workshops even have been designated Classic Partners – they boast outstanding expertise for working with older vehicles. Though especially where modern classics are concerned, every Mercedes-Benz-owned sales and service outlet, and the partners as well, still possess a high degree of specialist know-how. The “lifelong service” slogan doesn’t apply to all the vehicles of the brand for just any reason.