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Mercedes Benz W114

Sl In All But Name Published: 12th Nov 2012 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Mercedes Benz W114

Fast Facts

  • Best model: 250
  • Worst model: Anything tatty
  • Budget buy: Diesel
  • OK for unleaded?: Some are - check
  • Will it fit in the garage? (mm): L15’ 4” x W5’ 9” (230 4)
  • Spares situation: Pretty good
  • DIY ease?: OK, and beautifully engineered
  • Club support: Very good
  • Appreciating asset?: No – never will?
  • Good buy or good-bye?: An SL for practical folk
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If those Fintail Mercs are Pagodas for the family guy, then the replacement W114 range is surely an R107 SL which all the household can enjoy? Life’s not fair. You really yearn for a sexy Mercedes SL but with 2.4 kids, family dog and kitchen sink to tout around they’re not all going to fit in one – well not comfortably, at least! So what’s the answer? Simple, buy an ‘SL saloon’. The W114/5 Series is closely related to the ‘107’ sports and what it lacks in stylish, open top motoring it makes up for in terms of practicality, usability and value. Penny to a pound you know this already because you’ve been in one, perhaps without knowing it. In the UK, Mercs were – and remain – prestigious purchases but abroad they were simply something a bit more upmarket than a Ford Cortina and thus used for taxi service! It’s time to ‘hail’ one.

Pros & Cons

Quality, longevity, practicality, value for money, wide body choice including coupes
Usual confusing array of models, colourless four-cylinder versions, general neglect
£1000 - £8000


The new generation, mid-range Fintail replace- ment surfaced in 1968, but was more than a re-shell. Mercedes don’t do thing by halves, so in came an all-new monocoque with styling like the ‘65 250/280 plus new semi trailing rear suspen- sion and revised engines and more, including coupe versions. The engine range overseas was enormous and confusing, but thankfully most UK models made do with 2.2 and 2.5-litre petrol engines, although a diesel line up was offered. A year later the CE coupe came aboard with a 2.5 fuel injected engine, a year later a very rare long-wheelbase diesel saloon was launched. For 1972 a new 2.8-litre twin cam boasting 185bhp was launched, replacing the 2.5, although in certain markets this model continued, albeit with a 2.8 carb fed engine still designated ‘250’.

Just in time for the energy crisis came a much improved 2.4-litre diesel (240D) yielding 65bhp and 80mph top speed! A five-cylinder was also launched but it never came to the UK. With two years left to run before the W123 displaced it, the range was slightly facelifted featuring a neater frontal, while a new entry 200 arrived in the UK.


The W114/5 range seems much more youthful and crisp than the Fintail it replaced, yet feels just as tough and longlasting. The new rear suspension gives the car far tidier handling and better ride while with such a spread of engines, there’s something for everybody.

All will crack the ton and perform adequately, most will be automatics although four and five- speeds manuals (floor mounted – columns weren’t offered here) can be found depending upon model.

Like the SL, this Mercedes is happier when not driving ten-tenths, where the excellent cruising qualities surface. Comfort is what you’d expect from the badge and it’s roomy for a family. Indeed,even the CE coupe can squeeze in five and their luggage – you try that in a Capri!

Motor tested a 230 4 in ’74 and it’s the least we’d opt for as performance is reasonably fair (0-60mph 12.3 secs) even if fuel economy (23mpg) particularly isn’t. The respected weekly praised the car’s handling awarding it with five stars for an “outstanding ride/handling compro- mise” and four stars for most of the rest. However it did moan about the lack of standard equip-ment this £3689 saloon cost back then, which was dearer than a Jaguar XJ6 and a whopping £1200 pricier than a Rover 3500. “The quality of Mercedes engineering is undisputed and a strong selling point for British executives as well as German taxi drivers”, it nevertheless concluded.


These cars may have been extremely expensive when new, but as a cultured classic are now as cheap as chips. Reckon on spending well under a grand for a runner and no more than £6000 for a beautiful Benz. That’s the saloons, but you can cheerfully add £4000 for rarer CEs, although a good one can be had for under £7000.

When you consider what an SL can sell for, these have to be real bargains. Sadly, depending upon your point of view, they will remain so, as values don’t look like moving at all, so buy the best you can and don’t waste time and money restoring one just to save a few quid because it won’t work out that way.


This is a difficult one. As a car these Mercs have a lot to offer and are bound to prove durable and in many ways desirable. But lacking the cachet of an SL and with no cabrio option they will always be a backwater buy. Plus, the replace- ment W123, which ran well into the 1980s is more plentiful and arguably a much better bet. That said, a good W114/5 will always stand you in good stead if you get a good one.

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