The new, ie restyled, Mercedes-Benz E-Class in limousine and station wagon versions arrives in showrooms this summer. Now, the announced new convertible and coupe variants are eagerly awaited, which should be available next year. Here is an opportunity to review the history of these models, ie the predecessors of the E-class with two doors, which may not always have shared the same name, but were part of the extended family of the best-selling series (class) in the history of the legendary brand.
1960s and Stroke 8 – W114
According to the German manufacturer, this story begins in 1968 when the “Stroke 8” coupe was launched in Stuttgart, which is basically a version of the W114 with two doors. The main difference between the W114 and W115, the popular “minikis”, is that the former had six and the latter four cylinders. Offered exclusively with six-cylinder engines, the model was very attractive, large and luxurious. It was also quite technologically advanced, as the most powerful 250 CE model came with an M 114 engine that owned a Bosch D-Jetronic electronic fuel injection.
Although the power of 150 horsepower by today’s standards is not too impressive, Mercedes claimed that the car could develop a speed of 200 km / h, which at the time was remarkable for passenger cars.
Of course, the Stroke 8 has embraced what defines a premium mid-size coupe – an elegant sporty style with a luxurious interior. In that respect, the model had a sloping and widened windshield, as well as a lower roof compared to the sedan. The design with wooden upholstery and upholstery, and the absence of B-pillars and lines with an emphasis on sporty elegance will become an imperative for all later luxury coupes.
’70 and W123
Almost a decade later, the coupe version of the W123 debuted at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show. The expanded range of engines ran at 230 C, with a four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 109 horsepower.
The 300 CD diesel joined a line that was made exclusively for North America. It had a five-cylinder engine that produced only 80 hp, and was eventually replaced by a 125 hp turbodiesel unit. In addition to a more diverse range of engines, the W123 coupe was a more sporty model than its predecessor. In terms of size, the model was 85 mm shorter and 40 mm lower than the sedan version.
1980’s – W124
The W124 convertible arrived in 1987 and literally refreshed the entire Mercedes range, as it was the first Mercedes-Benz E Class to be offered as a convertible as well. The “roof removal” happened a couple of years after the purchase of the variant and the convertible model had a soft top cover weighing 43 kilograms with 27 joints and 34 joints.
Like the W123 before it, the W124 was 8.5 inches shorter than its limousine counterpart. However, this time the side edges, roof and rear have also been significantly modified, with only the front remaining largely unchanged from the sedan. The facelift was done in 1993, when the first AMG versions of this model were launched. Known as the E 36 AMG, the models had a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine developing 272 hp.
1990s – new CLK (W208)
Four years later, Mercedes withdraws from the E-Class Coupe and Cabrio accessories and instead uses the CLK designation, for the W208 model. This is not the only change as the German company acknowledges that the two-door model is based on the existing C-Class, but as a fully developed new four-seater coupe that has continued the traditional approach of the E-Class coupe.
The range of engines has also been expanded again, including the entry-level 2.0l four-cylinder petrol engine with 136 hp. Of course the top of the range was the CLK 55 AMG in which Mercedes packed a 5.4-liter V8 that delivers 347 hp.
New century – new challenges
The second generation of the CLK model arrived in 2002 and adopted a more modern sports style than its somewhat “cube” predecessor. The model was also larger than before, which resulted in a more comfortable interior. Seven different engines were offered with the coupe, while five were found in the convertible. Both variants had power units ranging from 163 to 367 horsepower.
An important caveat for this generation – the limited edition CLK DTM AMG. This model was introduced in 2004 with a 5.5-liter V8 engine that delivers 582 horsepower!
Of course, the CLK DTM AMG had much more than a powerful unit, as it also had a unique interior that was inspired by the DTM company in charge of racing cars. The racing-based design of the CLK cab brought lightweight sports seats, carbon fiber materials and a steering wheel upholstered in special soft leather.
The second-generation CLK facelift will arrive in 2005, and includes the 481 hp CLK 63 AMG, which appeared in 2006. The company from Stuttgart also presented a special variant of the “Black Series” within this line, which had over 500 horses and was available exclusively as a coupe.
The new E Class with two doors is back (C207 / A207)
The 2-door coupe with the E-Class designation returns to the big door by presenting it at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show. The convertible arrived a year later and had the optional Airscarf revolutionary heating system. Despite the perhaps somewhat clumsy design, the model was very popular, so Mercedes sold 221,556 coupes and 140,925 convertibles of this generation.
Mercedes E Class 2017 – models C238 / A238
Practically the second generation since the return of the E-Class with two doors presented at the International Motor Show in Los Angeles in 2017.
It will soon be replaced by a facelift version, which should accompany the novelties of the completely refreshed limousine and station wagon version of the E-Class.
Until then, enjoy the evolution of coupe and convertible variants of perhaps the most legendary series in the history of the automotive industry.
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