Production Models Book

Model 450SEL 6.9

W. Robert Nitske

The 450SEL 6.9 model was first publicly shown in 1974. It was a fast, powerful luxury sedan in the manner of the 300SEL 6.3 of 1968-1972. The sedan utilized the same body and chassis of the larger S-class, but had a hydropneumatic suspension system with four spring units carrying the weight of the vehicle. A constant self-leveling device kept the car at an even level under all road or load conditions, giving it a superb roadability. All of the technological improvements of the time were incorporated in the construction, making it truly an excellent automobile in every respect.

The 6.9-liter V-8 engine was an enlarged version of the tested powerplant used so successfully in the former 6.3 model and currently in the large 600 models. Many improvements had been accomplished since the time it was first introduced in the 6.3 sedan. With greater torque (405 ft/lb. against 369) and an increase in actual DIN horsepower to 286 from 250 formerly, the new 450SEL 6.9 car had a maximum speed of 140 miles (225 kilometers) per hour, although the new car weighed about 400 pounds more than the 6.3 model. The final drive had been reduced to 2.65:1 (against 2.85:1) which gave it a slightly greater maximum speed (about 3 mph), but reduced the acceleration somewhat.

In the words of Road & Track magazine, it was "the fastest, best sedan in the world."

Production Figures for Model 6.9

  Total U.S. Sales
1975 474 units
1976 1,475 units
1977 1,798 units 462 units
1978 1,665 units 437 units
1979 1,839 units 576 units
1980 129 units 317 units
4 units
total 7,380 units 1,816 units