300 S Coupé, 300 Sc Coupé (W188, 1952 to 1958)
In October 1951, Daimler-Benz presented the Mercedes-Benz 300 S at the Paris Motor Show. In addition to the coupé variant, production of which began in 1952, there were also a Cabriolet A and a roadster-style variant. In technical terms, the 300 S model was largely based on the Mercedes-Benz 300 Saloon and positioned as a particular representative car with a sporty touch – meeting the highest demands made on roadholding and speed. The engine, with an output of 110 kW, gave the car a remarkable top speed of 175 km/h. The revised variant of the 300 Sc model made its debut in September 1955. It was now fitted with a single-joint swing axle with a low pivot point; direct injection replacing the carburettors raised engine output to 129 kW. Both versions, the 300 S and the 300 Sc models, ranked among the most exclusive Mercedes-Benz passenger car models in the post-war period and, like the 300 SL, are highly coveted classics among vintage car enthusiasts today.
220 Coupé (W 187, 1953 to 1955)
The Mercedes-Benz 220 Coupé came onto the market in late 1953, in response to “repeated requests by individual prominent personalities,” as a circular by the sales management put it. In both technical and stylistic terms, the Coupé was based on the 220 Cabriolet A. The six-cylinder engine with 2.2-litre displacement initially developed 59 kW, to be replaced by a more powerful unit with 63 kW in April 1954. The Coupé was the most exclusive version of the W 187 series – only 85 units were manufactured, which was certainly also attributable to the price of 20,850 Deutschmarks (December 1953). Production was discontinued in July 1955; more than a year passed before a Coupé of the new 220 with three-box body was launched.
220 S Coupé, 220 SE Coupé (W 180/W 128, 1956 to 1960)
The Mercedes-Benz 220 S Coupé came onto the market three months after the debut of the 220 S Cabriolet, corresponding to the open-top version apart from having a solid roof. Both cars were based on the 220 S Saloon. The engine with 74 kW was equally adopted, although engine output was raised to 78 kW a little later. A remarkable innovation was the hydraulic-automatic “Hydrak” clutch presented in August 1957 and optionally available for the Coupé as well. From September 1958, in addition to the carburettor model there was also the 220 SE Coupé with intermittent manifold fuel injection and an output of 85 kW. Production of the Coupé and Cabriolet as 220 SE models continued for a little while after the discontinuation of the Saloon’s production. The engines of the last variants developed 88 kW. Production was discontinued in November 1960.
220 SEb Coupé, 250 SE Coupé, 300 SE Coupé, 280 SE Coupé, 280 SE 3.5 Coupé
(W 111/W 112, 1961 to 1971)
In terms of its design and styling, the Mercedes-Benz 220 SEb Coupé was modelled on the 220 SEb tailfin Saloon and therefore also belonged to the 111 series. The Coupé was a fully fledged four-seater on the Saloon’s full-length frame/floor unit. The engine and suspension were adopted from the Saloon without any significant modifications. The only major difference was at the same time a technical titbit: the 220 SEb Coupé was the first Mercedes-Benz production car with disc brakes on the front wheels. Half a year later, the 300 SE Coupé belonging to the 112 series made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show.
When production of the tailfin Saloons ended in August 1965, the Coupé and the Cabriolet remained in the range of cars for sale. However, the 2.2-litre engine was replaced by a 2.5-litre unit (logically causing the model designation to change to
250 SE Coupé). In addition, the Coupés were given the 35.5-centimetre wheels and the larger disc brakes of the new luxury-class 108 series. In January 1968, the 280 SE Coupé with a newly developed six-cylinder engine with 2.8-litre displacement and
118 kW replaced the 250 SE Coupé, while at the same time production of the three-litre version was discontinued. In September 1969, an additional and clearly more powerful 280 SE 3.5 Coupé version with V8 engine (147 kW) was launched. Production of the six-cylinder Coupés and Cabriolets ended in May 1971. When production of the eight-cylinder variants was equally discontinued two months later, an era of more than ten years – that of the Coupés and Cabriolets from the 111 and 112 series – came to an end. The rarest member of this model family was the 300 SE Cabriolet with 708 units produced; the highest production volume – with 14,173 units – within this model family was reached by the 220 SEb Coupé.
280 SLC, 350 SLC, 450 SLC, 450 SLC 5.0, 380 SLC, 500 SLC (C 107, 1981 to 1991)
The SLC Coupés of the C 107 series were not based on the current Mercedes-Benz premium class Saloon, but on the touring sports cars of the R 107 series. From this open-top vehicles the engineers derived a four-seater Coupé with a wheelbase lengthened by 360 millimetres to 2820 millimetres.
The SLC Coupés set new standards in terms of vehicle safety. Features included a collision-protected fuel tank mounted above the rear axle, a padded instrument panel and the new four-spoke safety steering wheel with impact absorber and broad padded boss for maximum impact protection.
The first vehicle to be presented in 1971 was the 350 SLC (147 kW), launched in 1972. That same year came the 450 SLC (165 kW), and finally in 1974 the powerful 136 kW 280 SLC with 2.8-litre injection engine. In 1977 Mercedes-Benz then introduced the
450 SLC 5.0 (177 kW) as the new flagship model in the C 107 series – launched on the market in 1978, this vehicle had no counterpart in the open-top R 107 series unlike the other SLC Coupés. In 1980 Mercedes-Benz updated both the SLC Coupés and the open-top vehicles of the R 107 series. The 450 SLC 5.0 (in line with its displacement of 4939 cubic centimetres) became the 500 SLC. The 350 SLC was simultaneously succeeded by the new 380 SLC with its 3.8-litre light alloy engine. In a production period of ten years the C 107 series gave rise to a total of 62,888 examples of the Mercedes-Benz SLC.
380 SEC, 500 SEC, 420 SEC, 560 SEC (C 126, 1981 to 1991)
The 380 SEC and 500 SEC Coupé variants from the C 126 series were launched at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September 1981. They were again based on the S-Class Saloon, and the chassis was identical with that of the Saloon with the exception of detail modifications. Although the frame/floor unit had been shortened by 85 millimetres, the cars were still fully fledged four-seaters. The bodywork was designed along the lines of the latest findings in safety research. Interesting features were electrically operated belt feeders which formed part was of the standard specifications of the SEC models. In addition, an airbag for the driver and a belt tensioner for the front passenger were optionally available. In 1985, an extensive model refinement package included not only a discreet facelift but also, and above all, a restructured engine range. A new unit was a V8 engine with 4.2-litre displacement. The 5.0-litre engine was also modified and upgraded with electronic ignition and electronically/mechanically injection. The most spectacular novelty was a 5.6-litre eight-cylinder engine which generated an output of 200 kW and as much as 221 kW in a version with a higher compression ratio (though without catalytic converter). The
560 SEC and 560 SEL models equipped with this engine were the most powerful Mercedes-Benz production cars built until then. Production of the SEC Coupés was discontinued at the end of 1991, almost exactly ten years after their market launch. The total production volume of 74,060 units was an indicator of the great popularity of this model family. Clearly the rarest version was the 420 SEC with just 3,680 units.
500 SEC/S 500 Coupé/CL 500, 600 SEC/S 600 Coupé/CL 600, S 420 Coupé/CL 420
(C 140, 1992 to 1998)
Initially, two variants of the Coupé from the 140 series were offered: the 500 SEC
(V8 engine, 235 kW) and the 600 SEC (V12 engine, 290 kW). In engineering terms, they were based on the S-Class Saloons launched in 1991; unlike the predecessor Coupés from the 126 series, however, they were stylistically more independent from the corresponding Saloons.
Analogous to the other passenger car models from Mercedes-Benz, new model designations were introduced for the large Coupés as well in June 1993; the 600 SEC, for example, became the S 600 Coupé. In 1994, the Coupé family was extended by the addition of the S 420 Coupé (V8 engine, 205 kW). Two fundamental technical innovations became available in the S 600 Coupé for the first time: in May 1995, a completely newly developed five-speed automatic transmission with slip-controlled torque converter lock-up clutch and electronic control was introduced. Another innovation was the Electronic Stability Program ESP®. In 1996, the model designations of the Coupés were changed once again. The series was now called CL – and this was no end in itself but reference to the fact that the large Coupés had adopted the pacemaker function for the entire coupé family. Production of the CL models from the
C 140 was discontinued in September 1998 after a total of 26,022 units had been built.
CL 500, CL 600, CL 55 AMG, CL 63 AMG, CL 65 AMG (C 215, 1999 to 2006)
In the autumn of 1999, the new CL Coupé from the C 215 series was available in the dealerships. Initially, there was only the CL 500 with V8 engine (225 kW), which was complemented by the CL 600 with twelve-cylinder engine (270 kW) in early 2000. The standard equipment of the new large Coupés included, among other things, an extensive safety package with different airbags. Another standard – and at the time globally unique – feature was the novel active suspension system, Active Body Control (ABC). It almost completely compensates for roll and pitching movements when starting off, cornering and braking. The twelve-cylinder engine of the CL 600 was fitted with automatic cylinder shut-off as standard, which was optionally available for the eight-cylinder unit in the CL 500 and lowered the fuel consumption in the part-load range.
From the fall of 2000, the CL 55 AMG “F1 Limited Edition” of just 55 units became available. It was the world’s first road-going car with a brake system featuring ceramic brake discs. The CL 63 AMG (326 kW) followed in 2001. For the model refinement in 2002, the front and rear sections of the large Coupés were discreetly refined. A major innovation was the V12 biturbo engine in the CL 600, which developed 368 kW and generated a maximum torque of 800 Newton metres upwards of 1800/min at a charge pressure of one bar. From the fall of 2002, the CL 55 AMG boasted a supercharged V8 engine with a displacement of 5.5 litres and an output of 265 kW. The engine of the
CL 500 remained unchanged. The safety equipment of the series was enhanced still further. Then, in the fall of 2003, the CL 65 AMG (450 kW) joined the ranks of the large Coupés. The C 215 proved to be a decidedly successful series: 47,984 Coupés had been sold by 2006.
CL 500, CL 600, CL 63 AMG, CL 65 AMG, CL 500 4MATIC (C 216, from 2006)
The CL Coupé from the C 216 series appeared in autumn 2006. The two-door model combined utmost exclusivity and sophisticated design with pioneering technology. This included the PRE-SAFE® brake, for example, the system that automatically applied the Coupé’s brakes in the event of a potential front-end collision. Initially there was a choice of two powerful engines with eight or twelve cylinders in the CL 500 (285 kW) and CL 600 (380 kW) respectively. Compared with the predecessor series these offered a clear bonus in terms of output and torque and with their exemplary smooth running characteristics matched the Mercedes claim of outstanding refinement.
At the Paris Motor Show in September 2006 Mercedes-Benz presented the CL 63 AMG with its AMG-developed 6.3-litre V8-engine. This had a peak output of 386 kW and torque of 630 Newtonmetres. The new 12-cylinder top-of-the-range CL 65 AMG model (450 kW) was unveiled the following year at the New York International Auto Show 2007.
From summer 2008 Mercedes-Benz also offered the luxury Coupé from the CL-Class with all-wheel drive. This gave the new CL 500 4MATIC an even higher level of traction and handling stability in wet, snowy or icy conditions.
For model year 2011 the C 216 series underwent a major model refinement which brought the vehicles up-to-date in technical and design terms – thereby perpetuating the fascination with large Coupés from Mercedes-Benz.