Even though the range of executive cars officially known today as E-Class have been produced since 1953, the E-Class nomenclature is much more recent, having first been utilized in 1993 with the W124.

The W124 Mercedes-Benz was introduced as the successor to the W123 on November 26, 1984, as a high-end executive car. The estate version was introduced in 1985 and the coupe was introduced in 1987, followed by the long wheelbase version in 1989 and the convertible in 1991.

It came with better aerodynamics, innovative multi-link rear suspension and a pioneering three-way catalytic converter. Development of the W124 began in the late 1970s with the creation of several clay models to test the car's drag coefficient and aerodynamic properties. Then, in the early 1980s, prototype mules were extensively tested in Africa, on the high-speed track at Nardò in Southern Italy, in the mountains in Spain, Canada, the Alps and Scandinavia.

Over the years, the W124 was made available with an incredibly wide and varied selection of engines. Petrol/gas engines ranged from the diminutive 2-litre 8V making 104 hp to the powerful AMG 6-litre 32-valve producing 381 hp and in between, customers were given different options including 2, 2.3, 2.6, 3.6, 4.2, and 5-litre engines. Twelve different diesel engines were also available, both with and without turbocharging, ranging from the smaller 2-litre I4 making 74 hp to the 3-litre turbodiesel producing 145 hp.

In 1985, Mercedes began offering a 4MATIC four-wheel drive option along with six-cylinder engines, with an automatic lock diff and acceleration skid control.

Over 2.7 million units were sold, making it the most successful E-Class ever.

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