As the EQC electric car ad featuring The Weeknd featured admirably, Mercedes-Benz is the world's oldest manufacturer with a long history and many cult models. So it was difficult to select the 10 coolest cars. But not shrinking from any sacrifice, GQ succeeded.
1. The Patent Motorwagen, 1885
This tricycle assembled in 1885 by Carl Benz is considered the first real car in history with its gasoline and internal combustion engine, controlled by an accelerator. For the occasion, Benz had invented (or at least made usable) the spark plug, the carburetor, the gearbox and the differential, hence the name "Patent Wagen" which means "patent car". At the same time, Gottlieb Daimler created the first four-wheeled car in 1886 and developed his brand, renamed Mercedes, named after the daughter of Emil Jellinek, his best customer. It was not until 1926 that the two brands merged and became Mercedes-Benz. It was then necessary to wait until 2002-2003 for the manufacturer to reproduce a hundred replicas of the first tricycle to exhibit them in its concessions. Among these, some were sold to collectors between 90,000 and 110,000 €, the price of a new S-Class limousine.
Single cylinder 1L, 1 hp, 16 km / h max, price 90,000 and 110,000 € (for replicas)
The first car in the world is a… tricycle.
2. The 300 SL, 1954-1963
If we go quickly over the inter-war years and the saga of the Mercedes SSK designed by Ferdinand Porsche, the real shock of the post-war years is the presentation of the 300 SL. Why ? Because its ultra light design and its tubular frame forced the engineers to design revolutionary doors with upward opening called “butterfly” (or seagull wing, “gullwing”). The door threshold became so high that to get into the car, the steering wheel tilted so that you could pass your knees below. The innovative 300SL was the first car to have petrol injection and 4 disc brakes (from 1962). He is also the star of the film Elevator to the Gallows (1958) by Louis Male on a trumpet background by Miles Davis. Squeak squeak.
6 cylinders, 3L, 215 hp, 260 km / h max rating from 1 to 2 million €
Mercedes 300 SL “butterfly” from the film Elevator to the Gallows (1958)
3. The 230 SL Pagoda (R 113), 1963-1971
The Pagoda owes its name to the sheet metal hard top that covers the 230 SL convertible. Designed by Frenchman Paul Bracq, this accessory enlarged the interior thanks to the concave shape of its roof, like a pagoda. Convertible hyper reliable and above all very pleasant to drive, thanks to the flexibility of its 6-cylinder in-line, it is now relatively expensive to buy in collections. Now a safe bet, the 230 SL is also the favorite car of rapper / actor JoeyStarr who bought one from 1967, his year of birth.
6 cylinders, 2.3L to 2.8L from 150 hp to 170 hp, 200 km / h max, rating 80,000 to 110,000 €
The 230 SL with concave hard top in the shape of a “pagoda”.
© Daimler AG
4. SL (R 107), 1971-1989
Less fun than the 230 SL, the following SL was produced from 1971 to 1989, a longevity record partly justified by its presence on TV. Because the Mercedes roadster was Bobby Ewing's car in Dallas and that of Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, the billionaire vigilantes in theLove of Risk (without forgetting that of Richard Gere in American gigolo on the big screen). With the choice of the traditional 6-cylinder or the different V8s from 3.5 L to 5.6 L, this peaceful convertible shines with its very pleasant softness for cruiser, but reluctant to sporty driving.
6 cyl or V8 from 2.8 L to 5.6L, from 185 to 227 hp, from 227 km / h max, rating 10,000 to 50,000 €
Bobby Ewing and his Mercedes SL 560 in the Dallas series in 1984.
© CBS Photo Archive
5. Le Classe G, 1979-…
And yes, this good old G is still produced in 2020. Certainly it was completely modernized in 2018, by exchanging its two rigid axles for four independent wheels, but retaining its characteristic silhouette, cut with a chainsaw. Designed as a NATO vehicle (the French military version was called Peugeot P4), this pure and hard crossing SUV won the Paris-Dakar 1983, before receiving all kinds of V8 and V12 inflated by the AMG preparer, in order to seduce the Russian oligarchs, the Pope and even Arnold Schwarzenegger.
4, 5, 6, 8 or 12 cylinders, 2.4L to 6.2L petrol and diesel, from 72 to 630 hp, 230 km / h max, 10,000 to 170,000 €
The Mercedes G-Class of Jacky Ickx and Claude Brasseur winners of the Paris-Dakar 1983.
6. The 190 E, 1982-1993
At the time of its release in 1982, the 190E was like a bomb. Mercedes, the venerable brand, began to build cars of “normal” size, less than 4.50 m long and recognized at the same time that BMW and its 3 series began to carve croupiers. Nicknamed “Baby Benz”, the 190 E marks a real stylistic turning point with its aerodynamic silhouette considered as a masterpiece of proportions by its designer Bruno Sacco. Available in petrol or diesel, the 2.3 L 16-valve version was the most talked about powder with its engine prepared by the English Cosworth developing 185, 204 then 235 hp in the 2.5 L EVO II version. A true racing beast in the DTM championship, the 190 E has greatly contributed to the rejuvenation of the brand, and the 1.8 million copies produced make it a Youngtimer accessible regardless of the versions.
4, 5 or 6 cylinders, 1.8L to 2.6L petrol and diesel, from 72 to 235 hp, 235 km / h, price 2000 to 170,000 €
The extravagant fin of the 190 E 2.5 16-valve Evolution II.
7. SLK, 1996-2004
And Mercedes invented the convertible coupe … on its small SLK convertible whose sheet metal roof (vario-roof) folded back, before hiding in the trunk in 25 seconds. Advantages: the hard roof is more difficult to break open than a canvas top for thugs, and in bad weather, the car remains elegant like a coupé. If Peugeot believes to have had the first with its 402 Eclipse in 1936, Mercedes is the first brand to promote this retractable roof system in large series, setting the trend among all other manufacturers, including Ferrari with its California. In short, the SLK allowed Mercedes to erase the affront inflicted by BMW who had just released its delicious Z3 roadster, thanks to this chic and affordable little convertible on occasion, with its 2.0L and 2.3L 4-cylinder supercharged by a “ Kompressor ”or the 3.2L V6 peaking at 354 hp.
4 cyl or V6 from 2.0 l to 3.2 L, 136 hp to 354 hp, 208 to 280 km / h, rating 7000 to 10,000 €
In 25 seconds, the sheet metal roof folds back into the trunk. Well done.
© Heritage Images
8. ML, 1997
And Mercedes invented the modern SUV… Admittedly, the Range Rover of 1970 had passed there, but by designing a leisure vehicle intended for the Americans and manufactured in the United States, as at ease on road as on track, Mercedes created a precedent and seduces many women drivers. Since then, all the other brands have succumbed to the charm of the big car, easy to produce and generating high margins: BMW, Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, and even Aston Martin have settled in this market, which represents 35 to 40% of sales in developed countries. However, the first ML with its separate chassis and rough finish was by no means a perfect car. But his presence in the film Jurassic Park: the Lost World (1997) gave him a phenomenal publicity stunt, as did pregnant Catherine Zeta-Jones at the wheel in Traffic (2000) by Steven Soderbergh.
4 to 8 cylinders from 150 hp to 347 hp, 177 km / h to 235 km / h, Cotte 7,000 to 30,000 €
The ML is the first 4X4 for women.
© Daimler AG
9. CLS, 2004-…
And Mercedes invented the four-door coupe … based on an original idea by designer Murat Günak, already the author of the SLK and the first A-Class. The idea is simple: imagine a four-door sedan with a roof plunging towards the back like a coupe. A skillful variation of the very (too) statutory E-Class, the CLS brings a ladle of fun and bling-bling to this segment of classicism. With the acquisition of the AMG preparer in 1999, supercharged versions offer, as a bonus, breathtaking performance. Proof of success, VW will ask Günak to decline its placid Passat in a 4-door coupé version: the CC, before the last Peugeot 508 takes on exactly the same stylistic codes.
V6 or V8, 3.0 L to 6.2L, from 224 to 514 hp, 250 km / h, rating 8,000 to 35,000 €
The CLS launched the 4-door coupe trend in 2004.
© Daimler AG, press department
10. AMG GT, 2014-…
Latest Mercedes jewel to date, the charming little AMG GT coupe with round shapes and an explosive engine developing up to 639 hp in R version. This coupe is so efficient that it acts as a safety car on F1 circuits, with its excellent weight distribution thanks to the transaxle gearbox placed directly on the rear axle. The only real problem with this delicious little coupé: its price, which starts at more than 100,000 € with the 3.0L V6 with 367 hp. Also available in a convertible version, but even more expensive.
V6 and V8, 3.0L to 4.0 L, 367 to 639 hp, 315 km / h max, price from 104.500 €
Small radical sports car, or the 911 according to Mercedes.
For fun the Mercedes AMG GT also exists in red, it goes faster.
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