At the time, it was considered the fastest diesel passenger car in the world. A top speed of 148 km/h and a time span of 19,9 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h were sufficient for that qualification. More importantly, the Mercedes-Benz 240D 3.0 was the first passenger car in the world to have a five-cylinder diesel engine. Made that construction Stuttgart no half work. The three-litre power source was – a year after the appearance of the facelift version of the Strich 8 – available in the upper middle class model from Mercedes-Benz.
Klaas de Poel in Surhuisterveen gave us a 240 Mercedes-Benz 3.0D 1975. The car – originally delivered in Austria – has just over 33.000 kilometers on the clock when we get the keys. We have the honor to be the first with this one Series 2 W115 to drive. It is a beautiful specimen. The combination of Papyrus weiss, an open electric sliding roof, an almost flawless condition, Vredestein Classics and a very nice blue interior make us look forward even more to the moment to put the five-cylinder diesel engine into operation.
Simple pre-heating procedure
This is easy with the Mercedes-Benz 240D 3.0. In contrast to the W115 with a four-cylinder diesel engine, there is no need to go through a protocol with pull switches. One turn of the key is enough to pre-heat. Soon I can start the OM617 engine. Immediately I detect a completely vibration-free run. This Benz also retains that characteristic when we are on the road.
Not just another cylinder
You soon notice how beautifully the power source in this car continues to rotate. The motor does its job – without any vibration – in peace. Regardless of speed and rpm. A consequence of the fact that Mercedes-Benz did not easily get rid of it when constructing the OM617 engine. It got, among other things, a six-way bearing crankshaft, improved vibration damping and a new maintenance-free Bosch fuel injection system with mechanical (instead of the usual pneumatic) controller. The latter adjustment also contributes emphatically to an almost flawless operation of the clutch and the manual four-speed gearbox.
Excellent sound insulation, exclusivity without excess
The serene five-cylinder rumble barely penetrates the beautiful interior, even when the electric sunroof is in the open position. Speaking of noise control: the open roof leaves no trace of wind noise. It all fits with the tranquility that radiates from the serene and spacious interior. And with regard to quality, because we can feel and see again the high quality that Mercedes-Benz used to associate with its cars. The interior says that Mercedes-Benz did not need burr walnut to add luster to the exclusivity experience in the Mercedes-Benz 240D 3.0. In addition, the first Austrian buyer really ticked the right options in 1975.
Delicious seating, excellent service
This Mercedes-Benz 240D W115 of the second series offers every comfort. The seating in the blue fabric and sky upholstered furniture (for fetishists: code 62) is excellent. And the shifting, clutching and braking are really done in an excellent way. It is also easy to drive for a car of this size. Also on back roads. The star on the wide grille is an ideal landmark. The power steering is light as a feather, very handy and a little indirect.
Anticipate early change of course
The fact that this Mercedes-Benz 240D 3.0 was once known as the fastest diesel passenger car does not mean that it is made for sharper cornering. Comfort is paramount. In this car it is therefore important to anticipate a change of course early on. Also with the calm pace with which we approach the bend. If you don't, the front train will warn you immediately. This is partly due to the heavy five-cylinder diesel engine in the front. We also know the phenomenon from other more heavily motorized Mercedes-Benz models from those years.
Brilliant rear axle
The modern Diagonal Pendelachse for its time (including diagonally placed cross arms in one piece) does its job excellently at the rear and keeps the Benz in balance in the bends. It makes a steering correction – in combination with the correct operation of the accelerator pedal – a lot easier. When I start the change of course of the Mercedes well in time, the car remains completely neutral. This is how you should steer this car into a bend. It suits the totally laid back and dignified character.
Straight: unparalleled cruise qualities
On the highway, the unsurpassed cruising qualities of this 80 HP five-cylinder Mercedes-Benz 240D 3.0 come into their own. With the OM617 power source, the Mercedes-Benz wants to keep up in all relativity. Speeds of 110 and 120 kilometers per hour are fairly easy to achieve. This car also radiates complete tranquility on board. Once again, the qualities of this almost excellent car come together very nicely. You imagine yourself in a flying carpet, while the interplay of the front and rear suspension gently filters out all irregularities. The Benz does not flinch, it is an ideal straight-ahead cruiser.
Pure quality, a jewel of a power source, the right options (right exterior mirror, electric sliding roof), a ballroom of space and a beautiful rust-free condition make this Mercedes-Benz 240D 3.0 an ultimate diesel classic. This car allows people to escape from the hectic everyday life in a high-quality and relaxed way. The Mercedes-Benz 240D 3.0 rightly wears the star on the hood. And with a strong conviction. That of historical and natural leadership.
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