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Mercedes S-Class W140: the last over-equipped “Benz”?

In 1993, Mercedes launched the Classes and all models in production during this period changed names. It is the flagship of the brand that inaugurates this tradition: the S-Class.

Development of the Mercedes S-Class Type 140 began in 1981 and production was originally scheduled to start in October 1989. At the start of development, the planned budget was around three billion Deutsche Marks. But in 1989, the brand japanese Lexus presents its luxury sedan, the LS 400and becomes the itchy hair of European brands.

Daimler breaks the piggy bank

In response to their quality and equipment, Mercedes was forced tomake improvements shortly before the start of series production in 1991 in order to consolidate the market position of the 140. According to the American magazine Motor Trendthis caused project development cost overruns (more than one billion Dollars) and resulted in the dismissal of Wolfgang Peter, the chief engineer of Daimler-Benz.

A shower of innovations!

Presented at the Hilton Hotel in Geneva in 1991, the Mercedes S-Class Type 140 presented innovations that mark a technological leap at Mercedes-Benz, in particular with the networking of control units via the CAN data bus (Controller Area Network

; Controller zone network in French), electric and anti-pinch double-glazed windows, power-assisted closing for the doors and the boot, rear parking lights coming out of the rear fenders (which will then be replaced by parking assisted by “Parktronic” sonar), voice control for the car’s telephone, and the hot air recuperation heating system operating after the engine has been switched off. There are also automatic rain-sensing windshield wipers, retractable electric mirrors (optional), automatic anti-dazzle interior rear-view mirror, driver’s seat and steering wheel with position memory, and dual-zone air conditioning.

The last over-equipped Mercedes

For all this equipment which was innovative at the time but which may seem banal today, the “W140” is often considered thehe last “over-equipped” Mercedes-Benza feature that causes delays and additional costs.

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