Virtually every Mercedes-Benz model gets a performance variant these days, but that never would have happened without the Mercedes-Benz 500 E, which turns 30 this year. To commemorate the sport sedan’s birthday, Mercedes released a retrospective on its development.
Unveiled at the 1990 Paris International Motor Show, the 500 E was a W124-body mid-size sedan (which would get the E-Class designation for the United States in 1995) with the M119 5.0-liter V-8 from the R129-generation 500 SL. A twin-turbocharged racing version of this engine won the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Sauber-Mercedes C9 prototype.
The initial 500 E made 326 horsepower and could do 0-62 mph in 5.9 seconds, according to Mercedes. Top speed was electronically limited to 155 mph.
The 500 E wasn’t the first Mercedes to follow this muscle-car template. In the 1960s, test engineer Erich Waxenberger shoehorned the 6.3-liter V-8 from a 600 limousine