80HP Mercedes-Benz 240 D 3.0 was fastest in its time

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80HP Mercedes-Benz 240 D 3.0 was fastest in its time (8) (1300x1042) (1000x802)

80 hp signified a quantum leap in 1974: The five-cylinder diesel engine on board the Mercedes-Benz 240 D 3.0 produced such an output, making the model series 115, commonly known as the “Stroke/8”, the torquiest and fastest diesel-powered passenger car in the world. The diesel engine combined strong driving power with impressive economy. At the same time, the 240 D 3.0 was the first series-production car with a five-cylinder engine.

Baureihe 114, 115

Five-cylinder diesel engines were not a totally new phenomenon 40 years ago – they had already proven successful in trucks and as stationary devices. Their use in a passenger car placed Mercedes-Benz in the headlines and assured the company of a pioneering role in the field of engine technology, however. The new engine accelerated the 240 D 3.0 from 0 to 100 km/h in 19.9 seconds, with a top speed of 148 km/h (automatic: 20.8 seconds, 143 km/h). This performance made the 240 D 3.0 the undisputed leader in the field of diesel-powered cars at the time of its press launch. “With its refined character, smooth running and economy (10.8 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres), the latest diesel-powered vehicle from Mercedes will appeal to a new and broad range of customers,” predicted the press announcement, claiming: “With the 240 D 3.0, driving a diesel has become even more attractive.” From a present-day perspective, the car undoubtedly paved the way for the continuing success of the company’s diesel cars.
80HP Mercedes-Benz 240 D 3.0 was fastest in its time (11) (1300x904) (1000x695)

The engineers developed the five-cylinder in-line engine OM 617 for use in series-production cars on the basis of a 2.4-litre OM 616 engine. The latter’s proven characteristics were retained, but the five-cylinder engine was provided with a new Bosch injection pump which was connected via oil ducts to the engine’s oil circuit and was thus maintenance-free. A mechanical governor replaced the pneumatic governor which was customary for the smaller diesel engines. This benefited driving comfort – the 240 D 3.0 with manual transmission revealed virtually no load alteration effects, and with automatic transmission gear-changing was substantially smoother in the partial load range.

Typ 240 D 3,0-Liter, Baureihe 114,115

The five-cylinder in-line engine’s increased cubic capacity of 3,005 cc produced an output of  59 kW (80 hp) at 2,400 rpm. The press reporters also welcomed the additional output: “This added power provides a very pleasant boost in practice. […] To put it bluntly: The 240 D 3.0 is the first diesel car that can keep the pace in fast traffic without hindering other vehicles,” wrote “Auto Zeitung”. And “auto motor und sport” commented: “Despite the higher gearing, the 15 hp more in comparison to the 240 D provide the 3.0 with a pace that will also be to the liking of drivers who are not sworn diesel fans.”

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