Press Kit: History of the E-Class
Jan 13, 2009
Birth of the E-Class: rooted in tradition
  • Nine generations of technical innovations and standard-setting design since 1947
  • The intermediate series from Mercedes-Benz is an integral part of brand history
  • In the eyes of many customers the epitome of the
The history of the Mercedes-Benz intermediate class can be traced back in an unbroken line to 1947. That was the year in which the model 170 V, originally introduced in 1936, returned to production as the first post-war car built by Mercedes-Benz. But ever since the turn of the twentieth century, cars positioned beneath the luxury class, but above the small car segment, were an integral part of the model portfolios of Mercedes-Benz, as well as of the original brands, Mercedes and Benz. The very first Mercedes vehicles, which came onto the market in 1901 and with their numerous innovations laid the foundations of the modern automobile, were offered as several models addressing different customer types – including those who today would opt for a car of the upper mid-size category. In the following years the product range underwent greater differentiation. In 1914, before the start of the First World War, for example, the Mercedes model range comprised ten car models, of which no fewer than four could be described as E-Class predecessors, and by 1926 Benz had produced six models. The model range was restructured following the merger of Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft and Benz & Cie. in 1926. The first car models of the new Mercedes-Benz brand in 1926 included the 8/38 hp. Like the 1928 models, the Stuttgart 200 and Stuttgart 260, it can certainly be considered a forerunner of the E-Class. The same can be said of models that followed in the 1930s, the 200 (1933) and 230 (1936) and the diesel variant 260 D model (1936), which was also the world's first passenger car to feature a diesel drive. Another innovation carrier in this vehicle segment was the 170 model of 1931. So the brand can look back on more than 100 years of experience in the upper mid-size category. Since 1993 the intermediate series of Mercedes-Benz has been called the E-Class.
After the fresh start in 1947 with the 170 V model, in 1953 the 180 (W 120) with a self-supporting, three-box body design set new technical and formal trends. The four-cylinder versions of the "tailfin" 110 series followed in 1961. Seven years later, the "Stroke 8" (115/114 series) represented the next major step. Its success was even surpassed by the W 123 that followed in 1976. A great variety of body variants was demonstrated by the first E-Class of the 124 series (1984 to 1995). A twin-headlamp face and innovative technology were hallmarks of the 210 series that appeared in 1995. The E-Class of the 211 series was launched on the market in 2002, and in 2009 the current 212 series was introduced.
Nine generations of technical innovation and standard-setting design – this is what has gone to make the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. No other class from the Stuttgart carmaker in the past 60 years has offered such a variety of body types: saloon, station wagon, coupe, cabriolet, as well as special builds such as chassis and long-wheelbase saloons.
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