Mercedes-Benz V8

Mercedes-Benz V8
ER Classics Desktop 2022

Twelve cylinders are for exotics. But V8 engines are the standard when it comes to Groot & Sterk. Mercdes-Benz has of course become famous for the indestructible and tractor slow 200D models. But those were taxis and cars for the better kind of representatives. Mercedes showed its muscles with the Mercedes-Benz V8.

Mercedes-Benz 350 SL (C)

Production of the Mercedes-Benz V8 started in April 1971 with the 350 SL and 350 SLC with a 3.5 liter V8 (M116), electronic fuel injection (Bosch D-jetronic) and a manual 4-speed or a 3-speed automatic transmission as option. The engine delivered about 200 hp (at 5800 rpm) and a torque of 286 Nm (at 4000 rpm). The SL models were delivered with a linen roof and an optional steel removable hardtop was available. There was room for two adults and two children (2 + 2). The SLC model with closed body was 36 cm longer in total and therefore had four full-size seats.

Mercedes-Benz 450 SL (C)

For the US market, exhaust standards were stricter and several measures had been taken to meet those requirements. However, this resulted in less power 195 hp (at 5500 rpm) and less torque 275 Nm (at 4000 rpm). To compensate for this, a 4.5 liter Mercedes-Benz V8 (M117) had already been developed for the American market. It delivered 190 hp at 5000 rpm and 360 Nm at 3250 rpm. The first W107 models that came with this engine had a type plate 350 SL (C) 4.5 but from November 1972 the official name became 450 SL (and 450 SLC).

A lot of torque

Due to the high torque of the engine, it was standard equipped with an automatic transmission and a manual gearbox was not available. In Europe, the 450 SL (C) was only introduced in 1973 and the Mercedes-Benz V8 delivered 225 hp (5000 rpm) and 378 Nm (3000 rpm) here.

So the 560'er

A 4,5 liter V8? That was a lot here in Europe. But to impress in America? There, such a SL with a 4,5 liter V8 was only moderately motorized. That is why Mercedes introduced the 1985 SL in 560. The 5,6 liter Mercedes-Benz V8 engine in that über Benz delivered 227 hp (4750 rpm) and 366 Nm (at 4000 rpm). This 560 model was only available on the American, Australian and Japanese markets. The copies you come across here are what they call 'immigrants' in Flanders.

Maintenance is maintenance

When Mercedes introduced the 'small' 1970-liter V3,5 in 8, it was hailed as a technological breakthrough in car engine design. The same basic design was produced until the early 90s. The engine itself has proven to be very robust and, if properly maintained, can run 500D km. However, time has proven that these engines have an “Achilles heel” that can lead to serious mechanical infarctions.

The problem with these engines apparently lies in the brittleness of the camshaft chain guide, which apparently does not cope well with the thermal load. If pieces break off, it could be the beginning of a dramatic ending. We heard the story of a mechanic. And we wonder if there are readers who have experience with this?

Also nice to read:
- Mercedes-Benz S-Class W116 (1972-1980)
- The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 Pininfarina. UNIQUE!
- Mercedes MB 100 D: Rarer than a big AMG
- The Mercedes G Class
- Driving impression. A Mercedes Benz 250 D with 2,1 million kilometers driven


Give a reaction
  1. Orange plastic chain guides are still the first and must indeed be replaced. Around 300.000 replace the entire chain, which can easily be pulled through a good workshop so that only the valve covers have to be removed.

    And while you're there, another possible shortcoming of these engines is the vibration of the lubricating oil pipes that provide the cams with a constant oil bath. Just feel whether everything is still firmly attached and renew otherwise.

    Of course, the aluminum V8 blocks coupled to the automatic four-speed gearbox have been used not only in the SL class, but in much larger numbers in the S class.

    Furthermore, these motorcycles are “bulletproof” as long as you drive and maintain them properly and yes, the engine character is formidable.

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