The Mercedes-Benz W123 is a range of executive cars produced by German manufacturer Mercedes-Benz from November 1975 to January 1986. The W123 models surpassed their predecessor, the Mercedes-Benz W114 models, as the most successful Mercedes, selling 2.7 million units before the production ended in the autumn 1985 for saloon/sedan and January 1986 for coupé and estate/station wagon.

The W123 became a hit with the public due to its modern look. Following the slow build-up during the first year of production as to ensure the high and consistent quality, the customers who placed their orders faced a lengthy waiting period of nine to twelve months. A black market emerged for the customers who were willing to pay more for immediate delivery. The slightly used W123 commanded about 5,000 Deutsche Mark premium over its original sale price.

Like its predecessors, W123 gained the reputation of being over-engineered, well-built, durable, and reliable. Many taxi companies chose W123 for this reason, and they were common sight in Germany. Reaching 500,000 or 1,000,000 km with minor mechanical issues was common with W123 used as taxicabs. Once the W123 reached the end of service life, they were often shipped to Africa and third world countries where they were highly esteemed for ability to travel on rough roads and further without frequent maintenance[citation needed].

W123 production ended in January 1986 with 63 final T-models rolling out. Most popular single models were the 240 D (455,000 built), the 230 E (442,000 built), and the 200 D (378,000 built).

 

W123 shares technical similarities with its predecessors including engines, steering system, and suspension system. The design is updated with styling cues from its larger sibling, Mercedes-Benz W116, namely wider ribbed taillights, horizontal headlamps and front turn signal indicators on the outer edge, and pull-to-open door handles. The interior is revised with larger instrument panel, central round ventilation outlets, HVAC control panel, single row of control switches in the centre.

The instrument panel has three large gauges placed behind a single plastic cover. The manual HVAC control panel has three large dials with left and right dials for individual temperature control and centre dial for fan speed control. Air flow is controlled by two slides (left for upper zone and right for lower zone). If the optional air conditioning unit is ordered, a temperature roll dial is fitted to the row of control switches. The automatic HVAC control panel is simplified with single roll disc on the left for temperature control, a row of push buttons in the middle for directing the air flow and switching the system on and off, and a vertical set of button on the right for controlling the fan speed and switching automatic control on and off.

All models except 280, 280 E, and coupé feature larger round headlamps with smaller round fog lamps with large glass plate covering entire headlamp housing and acting as diffusing lens. This setup is same for the North American models with the sealed beam units and glass plate partially covering the headlamp housing. The 280, 280 E, and coupé models use large rectangular headlamps with round fog lamps. The headlamp washers and wipers set are optional.

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