Ever wondered what are the best Mercedes-Benz cars ever made? Well, it’s not easy cherry-picking cars produced by the most premium automaker out there. Each Mercedes-Benz vehicle is outstandingly well-engineered and deserves the right amount of appreciation. But still, we went a step further, did a lot of research, and listed five models that we believe had a significant role in shaping the company’s history.
And if you happen to own any of these iconic cars, you are practically sitting on a gold mine. The vehicles in this list are some of the most sought-after collector items and have a massive demand in the second-hand market. You will find passionate motorheads willing to pay big bucks to get their hands on one.
Consequently, if you already have a classic Mercedes, the least you could do is take excellent care of your ride to make sure it fetches as high a resale value as possible. Ensure to repair and replace worn-out parts before you plan to put the car up for sale. And if it needs a bit of work, you can even restore the vehicle yourself using a Mercedes-Benz repair manual, saving a significant sum of money on expensive repair shop bills.
But I digress — So without further ado, here are the 5 best Mercedes-Benz ever made!
Mercedes-Benz Patent Motorwagen
It would have been impossible to start this list with any other model than the vehicle that started it all. The Motorwagen was first launched in 1886 and is the world’s first automobile. The three-wheeled vehicle came with a rear-mounted 1.0-liter four-stroke one-cylinder engine churning out 2/3 of horsepower; not a lot but enough to revolutionize the entire automotive industry. It was also the first vehicle to use a pushrod-operated poppet valve for the exhaust and an evaporative carburetor to regulate power and engine speed.
Also worth mentioning, after filing the first patent for the Motorwagen in 1886, Karl Benz continued to introduce improvements in the vehicle. Notably, model number two became the first vehicle to produce over 1.5 hp, while model number 3 had a 2 hp engine letting it hit speeds of up to 10 mph.
The Motorwagen marked a significant stepping stone for the German automaker and the entire industry in general.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gull-Wing Coupe
If you are a fan of 1950s racing, I don’t need to tell you how iconic the 300 SL is. We are talking about the car that secured a double victory at the 1952 24 hours of Le Mans, the most challenging endurance racing competition on the planet. Not only that, but it was also the fastest production car until 1954, hitting speeds of up to 163 mph — an impressive feat at the time.
The legendary coupe is characterized by a pair of stunning gull-wing doors, round headlights, and a massive Mercedes-Benz logo at the front. Under the hood, it packed a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter inline-6 engine producing 221 hp and 202 lb-ft of torque while a four-speed manual gearbox transferred the power to the rear wheels. Crucially, the 300 SL weighed only 3131 lbs, giving it an excellent power-to-weight ratio.
Interestingly, fuel consumption isn’t that bad for a car that goes north of 150 mph. Indeed, the petrol engine provides an average rating of 14 mpg, an excellent number for a vehicle of that era.
Of course, the 300 SL’s striking specifications and pretty good fuel efficiency are nothing compared to how instrumental it was in establishing Mercedes-Benz as a top manufacturer. As a result, if you are looking to get your hands on one, be ready to shell out around $1,500,000 apiece.
The G-Class needs no introduction anymore. Initially developed as a military vehicle, Mercedes quickly rolled out a civilian version with the same rugged and boxy design. Today, a G-Class is more of a status symbol, courtesy of the six-figure price tag and host of luxurious features.
However, the “Geländewagen” is still an off-road monster — it’s among the very few vehicles to use three locking differentials. The latest generation is also pretty quick — the 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 in the most powerful Mercedes-AMG G63 trim produces 577 hp, enough for a brisk 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds.
Currently, the entry-level G550 is priced at $131,750, putting it way beyond the reach of most people. However, if you want a taste of a luxury German SUV, a used G-Class would be an excellent choice. You can find a lot of second-hand G550 or G63 for sale online and for a lot less than a new one.
But don’t just go and hastily buy the first one you come across. Used luxury SUVs like the G-Wagen tend to develop several complications over time. Fortunately, that’s nothing you can’t fix using a Mercedes-Benz shop manual. Moreover, keeping in mind that luxury vehicles equipped with advanced electronic systems are significantly more challenging to repair, you really don’t want to start playing with those without the proper troubleshooting procedures and corresponding diagrams. Not so sure where to start? Take a look at eManualOnline — they have every repair Mercedes repair guide you’ll need to keep your G-Class in tip-top shape.
Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
What’s better than a car made by one luxury automaker? Two legendary automakers coming together to create a fantastic piece of automotive engineering — the Mercedes SLR McLaren. And despite having been launched over 20 years ago, the SLR still feels incredibly modern, even giving most modern supercars a run for their money.
Indeed, the SLR packs a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 producing 617 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque, pretty decent numbers even by today’s standards. However, the AMG Speedshift five-speed automatic transmission with three manual modes might be the only technology that didn’t age well here.
Regardless, acceleration is quite impressive — the SLR hits 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.4 seconds and decimates the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at 130 mph.
As you might expect, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren doesn’t come cheap, fetching anything between $200,000 and $700,000, with limited edition going well over a couple of million.
Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series
When Mercedes-Benz acquired AMG in 1999, it unlocked a whole new level for the German automaker. And one of the most stunning projects created as a result of the merger is the SL 65 AMG Black Series, packing a massive V8 producing a staggering 720 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque.
The result? A sports car that can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 3.1 seconds, reach a top speed of 202 mph, and run the Nürburgring’s 12.944-mile lap in 6:48.047 — good enough to become the fastest production car in 2016.
Of course, being a high-performance model, the SL 65 AMG Black Series requires frequent maintenance, but Mercedes got you covered. All you need to do is take your vehicle to an authorized dealership and let the experts deal with your problems (I wouldn’t necessarily suggest fixing such an expensive car on your own). Every dealership is equipped with modern equipment and employs skilled mechanics who rely on Mercedes-Benz auto repair manuals to conduct your repairs — and if you own a Black Series, I can assure you they’ll take good care of you.
Let’s admit it; making a list of the best five Mercedes-Benz cars ever was never going to be an easy task. Thinking about it, many outstanding vehicles didn’t make the cut, including the Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman, the finest luxury automobile of its era, or the SSK Roadster, a sports car from almost 100 years ago that ran circles around its competitors. Still, we had to keep only 5 so we had to make tough choices. I’m sure you could add another handful of models, so please feel free to do that in the comments below.
With that being said, Mercedes-Benz is now slowly shifting into EV territory, with the highly luxurious EQS leading the way with its futuristic exterior, aerodynamic design, and hi-tech battery solutions. There is no doubt that the next couple of years will be crucial for the German manufacturer, trying to establish itself as a top player in a field where several questions are still unanswered and everything is still left to be done.
Which makes me think — would a list of the best Mercedes-Benz cars 100 years in the future include some of the old-school internal combustion models?
What do you think?