01st January 2018, Singapore – Recently Sigma Singapore had sent their latest 16mm F1.4 DC DN|C to our office for our review. Our guest editor Trisha had reviewed the lens in Sony E-mount – you can read it here. And so I took the MFT mount and have it fitted to my Olympus OM-D EM1 MarkII and use it for this project. All the model cars are in 1:43 scale (longest side is about 6.5cm) and some of them are rare – so rare that I have to use a glove to handle these cars to prevent accidental damage to them.
This is an article about the legacy of Mercedes-Benz’s E-Class saloons from its first form till present – doubling up as a photography project and a lens test for Sigma.
Image: The New Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN | C mounted to Olympus OM-D EM1 MarkII.
Mercedes-Benz has always been a brand of luxury, quality & automotive legacy. In Singapore, it is one of the top 3 luxury car brand and I am sure you will have seen a lot Mercedes-Benz running on our roads and the models spans from generations ago to the latest model – and yes, many are still running from yesteryears. We did a simple photoshoot in 2014 with a few W124 Owners and it was my initiative to meet other W124 owners having bought my first E-Class back then. You can check out the article here.
Noting that when I bought my W124, it was already 26 years old and I drove it for another 2.5 years before another buyer bought it from me. And I move on to my next
E-Class the W211 and drove it till this very day.
As my curiosity & interest about E-Class feeds on each other, I begin reading up about the Mercedes-Benz brand and the E-Class series line, the history, the models and everything in between. I have also started collecting scale models of E-Class models and I had selected 1:43 scale (aka palm size scale) to collect as this scale has ALL the models in the E-Class series and for practical reasons like easy storage and space. I managed to collect all the 10 generations models – including the pre-E-Class W136 or better known as the Mercedes 170V! Let’s go!
Mercedes-Benz W15 – The Origin
The Mercedes-Benz E Class legacy (sort of) started with the W15 model which spans from 1931 to 1936 of which 13,775 units were produced. Although the W15 was the “skeleton” of many other models to come (and not exactly the supreme great grandfather of E-Class), it played an important role in fitting a Mercedes-Benz into a middle class segment back in the 1930s. Sadly after years of sourcing for the 1:43 scale model of the W15, none was found.
Mercedes-Benz W136 – The War
The Mercedes-Benz W136 is the beginning of many E-Class to come. Better known as Mercedes-Benz 170V, it replaced the W15 in 1935 and productions runs till 1942 (75,006 units) which the world war started. After the war, Mercedes-Benz continued the production from 1947 to 1955 (83,190 units). Many units were made for military use too!
Mercedes-Benz W120 – The Ponton Era
The W120 path the way and eventually leads Mercedes-Benz into the middle class luxury saloons segment. Released in 1953 and lasted till 1962 (442,963 units produced), the W120 is widely known by a nickname aka “Ponton” and this car sees the “growth” in vehicular size and specs and importantly, it covers an era which modernization takes centre stage across the world.
Mercedes-Benz-W110 – The Fin Tail
From 1961 to 1968 (628,282 units produced), the Mercedes-Benz W110 marked yet another important model replacement. Marketed as the “Entry Level” of mid-sized luxury saloon cars, it features a Fin Tail design that was a hit back in that era and after the W110 made its debut, many other automotive manufacturers incorporated the Fin Tail designs into their cars too. The Mercedes-Benz W110 is indeed a trend-setter!
Mercedes-Benz W114 – Mini S-Class
The Mercedes-Benz W114 that was produced from 1968–1976 with 1,919,056 units built was widely touted as the “Mini S-Class” as the vehicle have grown in overall size and it exudes an overbearing road presence as compared to other mid-sized saloon of that era. The W114 also laid new design cues that will we will all see in all the later E-Class models to come.
Mercedes-Benz W123 – True Executive Class
Till this very day, Mercedes-Benz W123 is still very much alive with many still running on our roads and all over the world. Produced from 1976 to 1985 and with 2,696,915 units built, this has to be the most successful and profitable model for Mercedes-Benz. Many variants was also spawned from the W123 saloon with Coupes, Estates & others making the W123 a true Mercedes-Benz statement to the world of what “luxury with practicality” means. During its time, this was the most sought-after saloon car by executives and upper-middle class.
Mercedes-Benz W124 – The Official First E-Class
Mercedes-Benz first badge “E-Class” onto the W124 making it the first Official E-Class model. This was my first Mercedes-Benz too as mentioned earlier. On Singapore roads, you can still see many W124 running till today. Although its model year was from 1985 to 1996 with 2,562,143 units built, today is 2018 and this model is still going strong! With parts easily sourced and low running cost, the W124 is a workhorse that had lived beyond its intended life span. Like me, many had driven a W124 as their 1st Mercedes-Benz and got hooked to E-Class – for its practicality, reliability and quality of build.
Although I had sold my W124 for a W211, I still miss my W124 very much.
Mercedes-Benz W210 – New Look
Spotting a brand new look that either you love or hate, the radical design of the W210 had the automotive industry shook up for “new age” car design. Produced from 1996 to 2001 (No official numbers was recorded on how many units were produced), this model was Mercedes-Benz’s “King of variants” – with at least 20 engine options and comes in so many forms (coupes, estates, sports, hearse & many more!) The W21 were also loved by many for the interior space which is huge & the offending & towering road presence. And yes, you can still see this model running on Singapore roads till today.
Mercedes-Benz W211 – Timeless Update
Taking design cues from the W210, the Mercedes-Benz W211 was really a new car designed from ground up. Probably the similarity is the headlight design that features a “split pair of eyes” but slicker and angled for an aggressive look! Hard ware are more hardy and electronics kept simple – but made to last for ages. Produced from 2002 to 2009 with over 1,500,000 units produced, this is the popular “replacement” for W124 as the next workhorse that will see this E-Class on our roads for another 30 years or more. The design is timeless (with a mid-life facelift) and still look very relevant on our roads with newer cars and among the newer E-Classes. I had never regretted buying this model and it offers one of the best driving experience & lowest maintenance that one can get from a Mercedes-Benz. Till today, I am still driving the W211 and I am sure it will continue to serve me for a few more decades.
Mercedes-Benz W212 – All-In-One
While Mercedes-Benz’s competitors in Singapore are taking market shares with newer models, bigger cars and newer designs, Mercedes-Benz knew they were up for some really nasty competition here in Singapore. The W212 came along and changed the game. Building on Mercedes-Benz’s legacy of hardy & solid cars that offers the unique Mercedes-Benz experience, the W212 brought back memories of W124’s solid build, W210’s space management & W211’s electronics technology and a new E-Class was born.
Built from 2009 to 2016, Mercedes-Benz had not released an official figure on how many units were built during the model year. The W212 became Mercedes-Benz’s best seller in recent times and it is easy to know why – with a package that are backed by more than 100 years of automotive manufacturing experience and combining the constant advancement of technologies, the W212 is truly continuing the E-Class legacy line.
Mercedes-Benz W213 – The Future
The Mercedes-Benz W213 is the current model that took design cue from its bigger (S-Class) & younger sibling (C-Class) which many can see the similarity in the headlights & tail lights, the front grille and the body lines. Touted as the 5th Generation E-Class (If taking W124 as the Official 1st E-Class), it started the model year from 2017 to present, Mercedes-Benz had claimed this E-Class to be the most advanced in its features. Personally I do not like the design, once inside the car, you will find all the “E-Class-typicals” all in place with many more extras. If you have driven any E-Class before, you will feel immediately at home with the W213. I am just crossing my fingers that the next model (hopefully W214), Mercedes-Benz will bring back the solid feel of W124, good space management with the W212 & the slick looks of W211. Mercedes-Benz please note if you are reading this.
Most of the information stated in this article comes from here. If you are keen to find out more, please feel free to visit the link.
And if you are a fellow Mercedes-Benz E-Class Owner, do say Hi! in the comments and share with me which E-Class you are driving/ owned & from which country too!
Thank You Sigma Singapore for sponsoring the 16mm F1.4 DC DN | C lens for this project!
Image: Editor AL (top) W124 from 2012 to 2014, (bottom) W211 from 2014 to present.