Mercedes-Benz 500e (W124) By Porsche

Mercedes-Benz 500e (W124) By Porsche

In the late 1980s, Porsche was commissioned by Daimler-Benz AG to create the Mercedes-Benz 500 E, a high-performance touring saloon that combined luxury with sportiness.

The Birth of a Classic
In 1988, Porsche took on the challenge of developing the 500 E, integrating a five-litre V8 four-valve engine from the 500 SL into the W124 chassis. This project not only showcased Porsche’s engineering prowess but also provided much-needed work during a financial downturn. The result was a car that debuted at the 1990 Paris Motor Show and went on sale in 1991, earning acclaim for its blend of comfort and performance.

Design and Development
The 500 E’s design was notable for its wide stance and lowered body, features that were hand-crafted at Porsche’s Zuffenhausen facility. The body parts were sent between Zuffenhausen and Sindelfingen, reflecting the complex logistics and collaboration required. Despite the absence of CAD technology, the design remains timeless, with distinctive pronounced wings and a luxurious interior featuring leather, wood, and advanced (for its time) amenities like electrically adjustable sports seats.

Performance Excellence
The 500 E’s performance was groundbreaking. With a standard four-speed automatic gearbox, it accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.1 seconds, thanks to its 326 PS (240 kW) engine and 480 Nm of torque. The car’s top speed was electronically limited to 250 km/h. Porsche’s meticulous tuning of the chassis, brakes, and engine ensured a superb driving experience, as evidenced by Hölscher’s anecdote of effortlessly reaching 250 km/h on a drive to Lake Constance.

Production and Legacy
Production of the 500 E involved a unique process where Porsche handled body assembly in Zuffenhausen, and final assembly occurred in Sindelfingen. This collaboration between Porsche and Mercedes-Benz was crucial during Porsche’s financial struggles, highlighting the importance of strategic partnerships. The car’s production ran until April 1995, with 10,479 units built.

Technical Highlights

  • Engine: 5.0L V8, 326 PS (240 kW)
  • Torque: 480 Nm
  • Transmission: 4-speed automatic
  • 0-100 km/h: 6.1 seconds
  • Top Speed: 250 km/h (electronically limited)
  • Dimensions: 56 mm wider, 23 mm lower than the base W124

The Mercedes-Benz 500 E stands as a testament to Porsche’s engineering excellence and the successful collaboration between two automotive giants. Despite being produced in the early 1990s, the 500 E continues to impress with its blend of understated luxury and remarkable performance, embodying a legacy that remains influential in the automotive world.

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