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Information > W124 information & history > Model range
 
Origins
Model Range
Dates

Origins
The first mass-produced Mercedes estate was the W123. It introduced the roof rails, folding rear seats and 7-seat option that define the Mercedes estate car. The W123 was long-lived - it was in production from 1976 to 1985

The W124 was introduced in 1985. Heavily based on the previous W123 model, the W124 was lighter and more agile and was a much more modern car overall. It incorporated many of the safety features pioneered in the S Class saloon, such as driver and passenger airbags, into an estate car with modern styling

So successful was Mercedes in driving forward safety standards with the W124 that their methodology was used as the benchmark for the European NCAP tests. NCAP started after the FIA joined with the Swedish National Road Administration and the British Transport Research Laboratory to institute a Europe-wide test standard. The tests included the now-familiar offset crash test which Mercedes had been using in their safety research for some years

Introduced in 1995, the W210 was the first product of a new regime within Mercedes-Benz, one in which cost savings were pursued at the expense of engineering integrity. The W124 was an expensive car to build and had a long product cycle. Japanese manufacturers, in particular, had driven product cycles down to 3 years and the continuous stream of new models made other manufacturers look hard at the way they designed and built cars. The W210 debuted in 1995 without an estate version and the W124 estate continued in production till 1996 when the W210 estate was launched

Model Range
The W124 model range is complex and varies by year, but all had the same standard equipment and options. UK models differ from continental versions: the 2.6 6-cylinder petrol engine used in early 260 saloons was not offered in the estate, there were no UK turbodiesel cars or estates (a turbo on a RHD car would foul the steering box) and the later 250 Multivalve diesel engine was not offered in the UK in the estate. In general, details given here refer only to UK-model estates

AMG estate cars were produced in small numbers, initially with the tacit approval of Mercedes and, following the acquisition of AMG by Mercedes, almost as production models

All W124 engines use a cam chain rather than a cam belt. The chain has no specified replacement interval and should last the life of the car

The vast majority of UK estates are automatics. A five-speed manual gearbox was available but not common. A four-speed auto (722.4) was offered across the range, including the diesels, making it one of the few automatic diesels on the market at the time. The five-speed auto (722.5) arrived in 1989 with the first of the multivalve engines (M104) and was an option on the six-cylinder petrol cars only

Dates
It's difficult to be precise over dates for model and specification changes. Partly this is due to a lack of accurate data but it's also a result of variations in registration date for each model. Due to delays in registering older stock there is overlap of models by registration year - you will find L-registered E Classes, as well as M-registered half-facelift models with the older grille, so treat all dates as a guide

The introduction of the new multivalve engines just predated the introduction of E-Class-badged cars so the new engines appeared briefly in the pre-facelift cars. This resulted in a small number of 220TE, 280TE and 320TE models. These are quite rare. Our Timeline page shows this crossover