PKW4231 123 series saloons, 1975 - 1985

123 series saloons, 1975 - 1985

In January 1976 the W 114/115 series "Stroke Eight" models were replaced by a totally reconstructed type range with the internal designation W 123. The model family ranged from the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Diesel with 55 hp to the 2.8-liter 6-cylinder injection engine with 185 hp.

The new model range orientated itself to the S-Class which had been produced for three and a half years. Thus the new medium-size type was also provided with a semi-trailing arm rear axle which had already been introduced with the "Stroke Eight" models. Furthermore it was equipped with a double-wishbone front suspension with zero steering-offset. The chassis sub-frame of the preceding models was not necessary any more. All other safety-related construction details realised for the first time in series 107 and 116 were of course transferred to the medium-size types. The most important improvements, in comparison to the preceding model range, was the even more stable security passenger cell with stiffened roof-frame structure, high-strength roof and door pillars as well as reinforced doors. The energy absorption of the front and rear deformation zone in the front and rear end was significantly increased by a controlled deformation capacity.

A technical novelty was the safety steering column, realised for the first time in series 123. Steering aggregate and steering column tube were linked together by a corrugated metal tube. In case of a crash, this corrugated metal tube could buckle to the side. This was a further step to reduce the danger of the column tube invading the interior of the car.

The various big round dual head lamps were a characteristic design of the new models. Next to the main head lamp, under a common lens, there was a smaller halogen fog lamp. Differing from that, the two top models of the series, Types 280 and 280 E, were provided with rectangular halogen wide-band head lamps. Externally both 2.8-liter models differed in three further points from their less powerful brothers. Type 280 as well as 280 E had a twin-scroll exhaust system - with twin end pipes, chromed air induction grill in front of the windscreen and an additional chrome strip under the rear lamps.

The range of engines was mostly taken over from the preceding models. The only exception was the Type 250, which was not provided with the old 2.8-liter aggregate M 130 any more, but with the newly constructed 2.5-liter 6-cylinder engine.

According to a long tradition, the 123 series saloons were also available as chassis with partial bodywork. They were completed to ambulances, estate cars and other special versions by body manufacturers at home and abroad. As in the preceding series, there was a variant with normal wheelbase, the 240 D and 230, as well as a prolonged version with Types 240 D, 300 D and 250. Ambulance constructions based on this chassis were mostly built at Binz in Lorch and at Miesen in Bonn. Among the best known German producers of funeral cars on the basis W 123 were the body makers Pollman in Bremen, Rappold in Wülfrath, Stolle in Hannover and Welsch in Mayen.

In the course of the year 1977 the 123 series model range was extended by three new body variants. First a stylistically very appealing coupé was presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March. It was available as 230 C, 280 C and 280 CE. Since August Types 240 D, 300 D and 250 7/8-seater saloons with long wheelbase were offered. As their predecessors from series 115 they were mostly used by taxi and hired car enterprises in transfer services. Finally, in September, the fourth 123 series body variant, a estate car called "T-model", was presented at the Frankfurt International Motor Show IAA.

In the years 1978 to 1980 some changes took place in the engine range of model series 123. First, in April 1978, the power of the 280 E was increased to 185 hp. Then the 240 D was altered. From August onwards it mobilised 72 hp. In February 1979 even the least powerful model of the series, the 200 D, got 5 hp more. At the same time the 220 D was taken out of the program. Finally, in September 1979, the power of the 5-cylinder Diesel engine in the 300 D and of the 6-cylinder carburettor engine in the 250 was increased as well.

Nine months later, in June 1980, three new engines were introduced - one Diesel and two petrol-engines. The 3.0-liter 5-cylinder Diesel engine with exhaust-gas turbocharger, which had been used in the S-Class export model 300 SD for almost two years, was now also available in series 123. First, however, only for the estates. A year later, in August 1981, the turbodiesel was also offered in the 123 series saloon and coupé. Both, however, were exclusively reserved for export to North America.

The two new petrol engines, a 2.0-liter carburettor engine with 109 hp and a 2.3-liter injection engine with 136 hp, replaced the well proven 2.0-liter and 2.3-liter units. Both engines, two different versions of the new in-line 4-cylinder engine M 102, were designed for slightly slanting installation in order to keep the height as low as possible. Despite a boost in output of 15 and 25 % respectively, fuel consumption could be reduced by about 10 %.

ABS (August 1980) and airbag (January 1982) were available as an option.

In July 1981 the 280 with the carburettor engine was discontinued but the 280 E with fuel injection remained in the range.

In September 1982 series 123 received a facelift with numerous improvements including power assisted steering as standard equipment. 

The production of 123 series saloons ended in November 1985, about a year after its successor, the 124 series, had gone into production. Almost 2.7 million cars of all body versions were built in ten years, of which 2,375,440 were saloons, 13,700 were saloons (with longer wheelbase) and 8,373 were chassis for special bodies.


  • 76173-3A
    In January 1976, the large diversity of the new mid-range generation (W 123) is a big highlight for customers who are willing to wait up to one year for their car due to the great demand prevailing at the beginning. This is the reason why its predecessor is still produced at the same time, until December 1976. In the first year already, the 200, 230, 250, 280 and 280 E as well as the 200 D, 240 D and 300 D models are available. In addition to the saloon car, a coupé, a saloon with a long wheelbase and the first ex-factory T model estate car are available as of 1977. The five-door model is launched in September 1977. The T stands for "Tourism and Transport" and underlines the dual role of the upper mid-range vehicle designed for flexible use. The Mercedes-Benz T model presented in 1980 is the first passenger car in Germany equipped with a turbo diesel engine. At the same time, the 230 E, the first four-cylinder model by Mercedes-Benz with mechanical petrol injection has its debut. This series it the most succ
    MB Baureihe 123
  • 78F65
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123
  • 78F66
    Mercedes-Benz 123-series sedans
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123
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    Mercedes-Benz 123-series sedans
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123
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    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123
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    Mercedes-Benz Motor M 110
    Mercedes-Benz Motor M 110
  • 79F85
    Mercedes-Benz Motor M 110
    Mercedes-Benz Motor M 110
  • 80F14
    Mercedes-Benz 230 E
Limousine der Baureihe 123
    Mercedes-Benz 230 E
  • 80F17
    Mercedes-Benz Coupé, Sedan and Station Wagon, 123 series
    Mercedes-Benz Coupé, Limousine, T-Modell
  • 80F19
    Mercedes-Benz Coupé, Sedan and Station Wagon, 123 series
    Mercedes-Benz Coupé, Limousine, T-Modell
  • 80F20
    Motorraum der Mercedes-Benz Typen (von links) 200, 230 E
    Motorraum der Mercedes-Benz Typen (von links) 200, 230 E
  • 80F22
    Mercedes-Benz, (Motor M 102 E 23) Motorraum
    Mercedes-Benz, (Motor M 102 E 23) Motorraum
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    Mercedes-Benz, (Motor M 102 E 23) Motorraum
    Mercedes-Benz, (Motor M 102 E 23) Motorraum
  • 80F31
    Schnittmodell, Mercedes-Benz Motor M 102
    Schnittmodell, Mercedes-Benz Motor M 102
  • 80F33
    Schnittmodell, Mercedes-Benz Motor M 102
    Schnittmodell, Mercedes-Benz Motor M 102
  • 80F34
    Schnittmodell, Mercedes-Benz Motor M 102
    Schnittmodell, Mercedes-Benz Motor M 102
  • 80F35
    Schnittmodell, Mercedes-Benz Motor M 102
    Schnittmodell, Mercedes-Benz Motor M 102
  • 80F48
    Mercedes-Benz Motor OM 617 Turbodiesel, (Auspuff glühend) auf dem Prüfstand
    Mercedes-Benz Motor OM 617 Turbodiesel, (Auspuff glühend)
  • 80F49
    Mercedes-Benz Motor OM 617 Turbodiesel, (Auspuff glühend) auf dem Prüfstand
    Mercedes-Benz Motor OM 617 Turbodiesel, (Auspuff glühend)
  • 80F50
    Mercedes-Benz Motor OM 617 Turbodiesel, (Auspuff glühend) auf dem Prüfstand
    Mercedes-Benz Motor OM 617 Turbodiesel, (Auspuff glühend)
  • 80F213
    Mercedes-Benz Typ 200, Baureihe 123
    Mercedes-Benz Typ 200, Baureihe 123
  • 80F215
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123
  • 80F219
    Motorraum des Mercedes-Benz Typ 200, Baureihe 123
    Mercedes-Benz Typ 200, Baureihe 123, Motorraum
  • 80F237
    In January 1976, the large diversity of the new mid-range generation (W 123) is a big highlight for customers who are willing to wait up to one year for their car due to the great demand prevailing at the beginning. This is the reason why its predecessor is still produced at the same time, until December 1976. In the first year already, the 200, 230, 250, 280 and 280 E as well as the 200 D, 240 D and 300 D models are available. In addition to the saloon car, a coupé, a saloon with a long wheelbase and the first ex-factory T model estate car are available as of 1977. The five-door model is launched in September 1977. The T stands for "Tourism and Transport" and underlines the dual role of the upper mid-range vehicle designed for flexible use. The Mercedes-Benz T model presented in 1980 is the first passenger car in Germany equipped with a turbo diesel engine. At the same time, the 230 E, the first four-cylinder model by Mercedes-Benz with mechanical petrol injection has its debut. This series it the most succ
    MB Baureihe 123
  • 80F238
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123
    MB Baureihe 123
  • 80F239
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123
    MB Baureihe 123
  • 80F240
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123
    MB Baureihe 123
  • 80F241
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine Typ 230 E
    Mercedes-Benz Typ 230 E
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    Mercedes-Benz 230 E
    Mercedes-Benz 230 E
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    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123, Wasserdurchfahrt auf der Untertürkheimer Einfahrbahn, 1980.
    Baureihe 123 .
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    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123, Schlechtwegfahrt auf der Untertürkheimer Einfahrbahn, 1980
    Baureihe 123
  • 81F15
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine Typ 280
    Mercedes-Benz Typ 280
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    Mercedes-Benz Typ 280 E
    Mercedes-Benz Typ 280 E
  • 81F19
    Mercedes-Benz Typ 280
    Mercedes-Benz Typ 280
  • 81F23
    Mercedes-Benz Typ 300 D
    Mercedes-Benz Typ 300 D
  • 81F24
    Motorraum des Mercedes-Benz Typ 200 (Motor M 102)
    Motorraum des Mercedes-Benz Typ 200 (Motor M 102)
  • 81F25
    Mercedes-Benz Typ 300 D
    Mercedes-Benz Typ 300 D
  • 81F28
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine Typ 280 E
    Mercedes-Benz Typ 280 E
  • 81F90
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123
    Mercedes-Benz Limousine der Baureihe 123
  • 82F9
    Mercedes-Benz Limousinen der Baureihe 123. 
Verladung im Werk Sindelfingen, 1982.
    Mercedes-Benz Limousinen der Baureihe 123
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