Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3

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Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3
Mercedes-Benz W109 fl.jpg
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size luxury car (F)
LayoutFR layout
PlatformMercedes-Benz W109
Engine6,332 cc (386.4 cu in) M100 V8
Transmission4-speed automatic
Wheelbase2,865 mm (112.8 in)
Length5,000 mm (196.9 in)
Width1,810 mm (71.3 in)
Height1,420 mm (55.9 in)
Curb weight1,765 kg (3,891 lb)
SuccessorMercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 was a full-sized luxury performance car built by Mercedes Benz from 1968 to 1972. It featured the company's powerful 6.3-litre M100 V8 from the flagship 600 (W100) limousine installed in the normally six-cylinder powered but top-end Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL (W109). The result was a nearly 2-ton sports sedan with muscle car performance. At the time of its release it was the world's fastest four-door car.

A total of 6,526 300 SEL 6.3s were produced, and though quite costly to maintain are very collectible today.


The car started out as a private venture in 1966 by company engineer Erich Waxenberger. His principle was simple: take the powerful 6.3 litre Mercedes-Benz M100 V8 from the massive 600 saloon and limousine, and fit it into the engine bay of the top-end 6-cylinder 300 SEL W109 model. The result was pavement-ripping muscle car performance. It is said that chief Mercedes engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut, when invited to test drive the prototype, opened the hood at the first red light to find out how the big engine and its supporting equipment had been squeezed in there.

The company turned the prototype into a production model, introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1968.[1] This not only enhanced Mercedes-Benz's reputation for performance vehicles, languishing since the demise of the iconic Gullwing and Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadsters of the 1950s, but made better use of the M100 engine production facilities.[citation needed] By the end of line's production the 6,500 built for the 300 SEL 6.3 far outnumbered the 2,700 turned out for the 600.[citation needed]

The 6.3 was known for its ability to cruise at over 200 km/h (124 mph) with five occupants in complete comfort. Later, the company also fitted new, smaller V8 engines into the W109 series. The 300 SEL 4.5 was only available in the United States, while the 280 SE 3.5 Coupé could also be ordered in Europe.

In 1975, the Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9 was introduced as a 300 SEL 6.3 successor with larger displacement, modifications to the equipment, and more power.


M100 engine in a 300 SEL 6.3

The 300 SEL 6.3 was an extremely luxurious vehicle for its era. Standard features included air suspension, ventilated 4-wheel power disc brakes, power windows, central locking and power steering. Air conditioning, power sunroof, audio tape deck, and rear window curtains, writing tables, and reading lamps were available as options.



  • 0-62 mph (100 km/h): 6.6 seconds
  • 0-100 mph (160 km/h) : 14.6 seconds
  • Standing quarter-mile (~400 m) : 14.2 seconds
  • Top speed : 220 km/h (136.7 mph) (factory figure)

Special build 300 SEL AMG 6.8-litre road race cars

6.8-litre engine fitted (315 kW/428 hp and torque to 610 Nm/450 lb-ft), the 300 SEL AMG could reach 100 km/h in only 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 265 km/h.

Test results[edit]

Auto, Motor und Sport published the following test results for the 300 SEL 6.3 in March 1968:[2]

  • 0–80 km/h (49.7 mph): 4.3 s
  • 0–100 km/h (62.1 mph): 6.5 s
  • 0–120 km/h (74.6 mph): 9.3 s
  • 0–140 km/h (87.0 mph): 13.0 s
  • 0–160 km/h (99.4 mph): 17.3 s
  • 0–180 km/h (111.8 mph): 22.8 s
  • 0–200 km/h (124.3 mph): 31.0 s
  • 0–1,000 m (3,281 ft): 27.1 s
  • Top Speed: 220 km/h (137 mph)

Motor racing[edit]

Rote Sau car at Legendy 2014 car show in Prague

Originally not intended for motor sports, a few cars were built for racing, usually with the engine enlarged to 6.8 litres or more. The car had an impressive, but short-lived racing career, due to the lack of suitable tyres, or rule changes preventing the use of them.

AMG, now the sports tuning subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz, but then a small local tuning company founded by former Mercedes engineers, modified a damaged car to compete in racing events, nicknamed "Red Pig" (German: Rote Sau) which finished 2nd in the 24 Hours of Spa in 1971. At the end of its racing career the 6,834 cc engine yielded 428 PS (315 kW; 422 hp). The car was sold to French company Matra who used it for tests of jet fighter landing gear.[3][4] Five examples were built: three racers and two test cars. The last original works-built Waxenberger 69 "Red Pig" is in the Mobilia Automotive Museum, Finland.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "News: New V-8 Mercedes". Motor. Vol. nbr 3430. 16 March 1968. p. 58.
  2. ^ Auto, Motor und Sport 6/1968 16 March 1968
  3. ^ Tom Grünweg (19 May 2006). "Renaissance der "Roten Sau"". Der Spiegel (in German).
  4. ^ Oldtimer-Markt 7/98

External links[edit]