14. W124 Mercedes Benz 500E Is Arguably The Only Perfect Sedan Ever Built – By Porsche.
Mercedes-Benz presented the world’s most perfect sedan series in November 1984 and produced two and a half million W124s until 1996.
Positioned in the upper middle class, W124 Mercedes Benz was initially powered by 4, 5, and 6-cylinder engines. The entry of Japanese Toyota’s premium brand Lexus into the US market with its luxury LS model at almost half the price of its competitors and with a powerful V8 engine prompted Mercedes to offer the V8 engine option. The problem was there was not enough space under the hood to fit the large V8 engine.
Since the Mercedes-Benz design department was using all capacities for development of the new S-Class at that time, Mercedes-Benz commissioned its neighbor Porsche in 1989 with the design of the W124 chassis. At the time, Porsche had an engineering consulting service and desperately needed money because it faced an almost 90% drop in US sales.
After redesigning of the W124 chassis for the V8, another problem arose. Widened wings were so large that the car didn’t fit down production line at Mercedes plant. Thus once again, Porsche took the task of assembling the iconic W124s.
Mercedes provided bodies to Porsche for modification. Later they transported them back by truck for paint according to customer specifications. After painting, all parts were returned to Porsche to assemble the vehicle. Finally they transferred cars to Mercedes for final inspection and delivery. (Porsches and Mercedes Benzes parking together in Porsche factory)
The extraordinary production process took 18 days for a single car. The Benz cost at 134,000 Deutsche Marks in 1990 without extras. The costly price tag did not deter customers. W124 was sold out three years in advance.