The 124 model series, introduced in 1984, was more multifaceted than all its predecessors: the saloons were followed by the estate (1985), the coupé (1987), the long-wheelbase saloon (1989) and, for the first time in the recent history of the E-Class, a cabriolet (1991). The 124–model series was the first Mercedes-Benz family to bear the E-Class designation, in line with the S-Class and the newly launched C-Class.
The 124 model series redefined standards with its consistent lightweight construction, optimised aerodynamics and, from September 1985, the 4MATIC automatically activated all-wheel drive system, initially available exclusively on the 124 model series. The range of engines available started with the 53 kW (72 PS) 200 D and went as far as the spectacular 500 E in 1990 (240 kW/326 PS). The premiere of the E 60 AMG (280 kW/381 PS) – the first top-of-the-range E-Class model jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and AMG – debuted in 1993.