6 Game-Changing Cars from Mercedes-Benz | Inspire
6 Game-Changing Cars from Mercedes-Benz
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Good to Know

6 Game-Changing Cars from Mercedes-Benz

World-firsts, paradigm shifts – it wasn't just every new S-Class that transformed the world of motoring. Take a look at six more innovative models from Mercedes-Benz.

1. 300 SL - 1954

The Gullwing (pictured above) was not only the most sensational and beautiful car ever built, but also one of the most innovative. The body was constructed from a complex tubular steel spaceframe covered by alloy panels – a construction never before seen on a road car, and also the reason for the unique top-hinged doors. Moreover, its 3.0-litre, straight-six engine pioneered fuel injection in a road-going car, too: the engine itself canted over to keep the centre of gravity and bonnet line low.

2. SE 'Fintail' – 1959

From as early as 1951, Mercedes-Benz experimented with crash testing. Of course early tests were rudimentary by today's standards – performed outside with test drivers – but the learning was invaluable when crumple zones finally made series production in 1959. This was the first time that manufacturers paid attention to crash protection.

3. 300 SEL 6.3 – 1967

You've obviously heard of #AMG50Years. Well, it all started with this car. When engine fettlers Aufrect and Melcher created the hugely torquey 6332cc V8 and Mercedes-Benz – in its infinite wisdom – decided to drop it into the S-Class body, the world's first hot-rod luxury sedan was born... along with a 63 moniker and #AMGgrowl that would be heard for decades to come. 

4. SLK Roadster – 1994  

Mercedes-Benz's grasp of leading-edge technology took a new approach in the nineties when it brought innovation to the two-seater sportscar class. The 'Sport' 'Licht' 'Klein' (SLK) was the first to feature an electronically-operated hardtop folding roof. From secure to open-top in a matter of seconds, this superb piece of engineering has been widely copied ever since. Today, it is known as the SLC. 

5. (W 220) S-Class – 2002

Mercedes-Benz innovation isn't complete without mentioning the S-Class at least once. Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP) are just two of the raft of technologies it pioneered. However, in 2002, the S-Class broke new ground with PRE-SAFE – the active safety system that knew when you were going to have an accident. In the 15 years since it debuted, Mercedes-Benz has refined this tech with ATTENTION ASSIST, DISTRONIC PLUS with PRE-SAFE Brake and even PRE-SAFE Sound – a feature that emits a noise-cancelling pulse to minimise potential hearing damage. Incredible.  

6. AMG Project One – 2017

'Formula 1 for the road' is not a new concept. However, a modern 1.6-litre turbo V6 with battery electric boost from three motors creating a total output of over 1000 horsepower (745kW) certainly is a world first. The fact that Project One will spin to 11000rpm, idle quietly in traffic, and need servicing only after 50 000 km, is astonishing; a feat that will make its few hundred owners very happy indeed. 

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