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At the end of the sixties Mercedes were developing a successor to the W 114/115 series model that came out at the end of 1967/68, the /8 . The new series with the internal designation W 123 was first demonstrated in January 1976. Although this well-made new type was only a development of the /8 , the W 123 offered everything that the target group of established professionals of a mature age desired and for many years this middle-range Mercedes occupied third place in the German registration statistics. All W 123 models were characterized by obvious comfort and a suitable seat position irrespective of size of driver. They all had a well laid-out and functional cock a roomy interior and outstanding longevity. From the technical point of view, the new type made only a modest step forward. The virtue of its engine was reliability, rather than agility, which was not sought by these customers. The conventional and trusted diesel engine of the /8 was therefore retained without major modification. The first significant development arrived in 1979: apart from detail modifications the water-cooled four cylinder diesel engine of the 240 D now developed 72 bhp. The extra 7 bhp was achieved by improvements to the camshaft and combustion. From 1982 onwards power steering became standard and even the smallest type had wide beam headlamps. The 240 D was the most popular model in the range with over 450,000 built. It had a top speed of about 143 km/h and accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 22 seconds.
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