In September 1972 a totally new car generation of the upper class was presented to the public. For the first time the name "Mercedes-Benz S-Class" was officially used. It replaced model series 108/109 and at that time consisted of Types 280 S, 280 SE and 350 SE. Since November 1973 the prolonged version was also available as 350 SEL, since April 1974 finally also as 280 SEL.
A remarkable technical novelty in the saloons of type range 116 was the double-wishbone front wheel suspension with zero steering-offset and brake dive support. It improved the handling characteristics of the car considerably. The rear wheel suspension corresponded for the most part to the construction which had proved itself for years in the "Stroke Eight" models and was also used in the 350 SL.