Mercedes-Benz 240D 3.0 – drive with a smile

Mercedes Benz 240D 3.0
ER Classics Desktop 2022

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.

Natural leadership

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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Also read:
- Mercedes Benz W114/W115.
- The 300 Mercedes-Benz 124E (W1986) – Driving with a smile
- Mercedes-Benz 240D (1975). Love for the 'star'.
- A Mercedes 220
- Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 Pininfarina. UNIQUE!


Give a reaction
  1. Too bad the diesels are so despised. I can see it happening that the government will announce a driving ban for these motorcycles. This while they do promote the so-called 'emission-free' electric cars that leave a larger environmental footprint on materials than such a nice Mercedes diesel and that do not poop their emissions out at the exhaust but largely secretly at the chimneys of the falsely CO2 neutral declared biomass power stations and at the chimneys of coal-fired power stations, multiplied by all the loss of efficiency in that long trajectory. This almost equals the deception of the century. Those Mercedes diesels were and still are very good engines with a truly blissful engine run.

  2. Back when Mercedes was still proud of what they make. I have certainly driven a lot, a lot in her successor. The 4 cylinder 240D and the 300D type 123. Especially then the 300D 5 cylinder was a great car to drive, she preferred to drive than the 230E. The 240 and the 300 had a contact starter, but also the "winding" key, to be able to turn the idle a little higher in winter.
    This and some petrol at the diesel, the good times steel oil and diesel

  3. What a great car, we had the 200D at the shop, with a 2.2 liter engine. . With of course the foot / handbrakeThis tired. t have been 1 of the last of this series.

  4. The 3 liter was actually the same engine, where they just added a cylinder.
    My W115 was a rust free Californian one, which, because of previous experiences, I gave a complete anti-rust treatment from day one and then checked the car for starting rust on a regular basis. Still, it took a lot of work every year to keep it rust-free.
    These are cars that are therefore better left in the garage in the winter.
    They are nice cars to drive, but if I compare with my Saabs and Volvo classics, I hardly have to worry about rust formation with the latter. Maintenance and parts are also a lot friendlier.
    After 15 years, and 210.000 miles with my 1974 240D, I was honestly happy to have it out the door.

  5. Strange as it may sound, this 5-cylinder was a design by Ferdinand Piech. An order from Mercedes in the short time that Piech was an independent manufacturer.

  6. Restored a W12 115D from 200 1974 years ago. Everything original except gear lever and steering wheel. Gear lever was no longer available at the local Mercedes dealer and I had to assemble a copy of the W123 which was still available. I replaced the thick rubber steering wheel by a steering wheel with chrome horn ring from the first series W115. I thought that steering wheel better suited the nostalgic look of the vehicle. Since the restoration I only use it in the summer months on dry days. Very solid car and they drive well.

  7. ie
    nice that thick 5 cylinder, but the first series I find infinitely more beautiful, just the top-hung windows with the rotary knob control, infinitely adjustable
    not that fat clunky steering wheel….

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