Mercedes-Benz has been synonymous with quality since the brand’s inception way back in the nineteenth century. This auto manufacturer is revered for good reasons. Quality, elegance, style and power are adjectives that come to mind when one thinks about a Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes -Benz automobiles have long been the benchmark for luxury and elegance. Mercedes-Benz cars are status symbols. Consider one of the earliest Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the 1931 170. This car was considered a massive feat of technological advancement of the time because it offered its drivers four-wheel independent suspension. During the 1930s and 1940s, Mercedes-Benz established itself as the car of choice for those seeking the finest in luxury.
During the 1950s the designers at Mercedes-Benz continued to strive to be the best of the best, to corner the marketplace on luxury and innovative design. Mercedes-Benz’s 300SL debuted in the 50s and is thought to be the world’s first supercar. Born out of Mercedes-Benz’s racing history, the 330SL had dramatic styling and, well, to be honest, it looks like it was a crazy fast car. The lines of the body are aerodynamic and you can imagine the car in motion, even when it is standing still. But the 1950s weren’t all about flash for this automaker. The Mercedes-Benz 200 sedans were also born in the 1950s, and featured more stunningly innovative safety technology from the German automaker. The 220s were the very first cars to use the Mercedes-Benz patented “crumple zone” body design, which absorbs impact in a crash.
In the 1960s, Mercedes-Benz continued to remain ahead of its competitors in terms of safety and luxury. The Mercedes-Benz 600 sedan featured an air suspension system and a 300 horsepower V8 engine that cemented the automaker as the go to company for luxury. The 300 was also manufactured as a limousine, which truly benefited from the cutting edge air suspension from Mercedes-Benz. Lest the buying public think the German automaker too staid, this decade also saw the debut of the Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3. This full size sedan went from zero to sixty in under seven seconds, making it by far the fastest luxury car of its time.
While the 1970s heralded a time of clumsy design for most automobile manufacturers, once again Mercedes-Benz was ahead of the pack. The S-class was born in the 1970s and was the antithesis to other sedans of the era. The S Class was the epitome of luxury with powerful engines and an exhaustive list of luxury features. This was no Ford Pinto, folks. During the 1970s Mercedes-Benz also continued to push the envelope on safety – they were the first company to offer antilock brakes in their cars.
During the 1980s, Mercedes-Benz continued its advancements in safety. They were the first car maker to offer airbags and traction control in their vehicles. The Mercedes-Benz 190 E was the first to feature multilink rear suspension, which created a much more comfortable ride, especially in the smaller 190 chassis. This suspension is still in use in Mercedes-Benz automobiles today.
In the 1990s Mercedes-Benz partnered with AMG, giving their lineup of automobiles an edge on the high performance market. The first Mercedes-Benz AMG model in the United States debuted in 1995. It was the C36, a powerful, high performance sedan with the handling of a luxury car and the pick-up of a sports car. Today almost all of the Mercedes-Benz models are offered in an AMG version.
During the mid part of the 2000s, Mercedes-Benz saw a downturn in sales. Suddenly other car manufacturers caught up to Mercedes-Benz in terms of safety, performance and luxury. The venerable old German car manufacturer had to go back to the drawing board and quite nearly reinvent itself. This strategy worked. Today’s lineup is incredibly diverse. A variety of sedans, coupes, roadsters, convertibles and SUVs fill showrooms and roam highways and city streets across the nation. Mercedes-Benz remains a brand known for luxury and performance and most importantly, longevity.