A really tough job.

This is a really tough job: how to pick ten of the most beautiful Mercedes-Benz cars from the brand’s long history? Actually, it’s not really solvable.

On the one hand, because opinions about beauty are highly controversial. On the other hand, because there are indisputably more than ten “absolute beauties” from Mercedes-Benz. Nevertheless, we took our courage in both hands and came to a conclusion: these are our “top ten” Mercedes-Benz beauties, which are still inspiring today.

Without this simple but beautiful emblem, it wouldn’t be a Mercedes-Benz: the famous three-pointed star is an icon of vehicle design par excellence.

What a shapely rear end: the Mercedes-Benz 320 Streamline Saloon was a harbinger of aerodynamic bodywork design.

Mercedes-Benz 320 Streamline Saloon, “Autobahn courier”.

To translate the requirements for comfortable, fast travel into a streamlined vehicle body was the task – and the stylists, as designers used to be called, came up with the perfect solution: the Mercedes-Benz 320 Streamline Saloon. You can imagine the vehicle gliding along the new motorways of the 1930s.

Mercedes-Benz 500 K Spezial-Roadster (W 29).
Mercedes-Benz 500 K Special Roadster (W 29).

Another great moment in the designs of the 1930s: the Mercedes-Benz 500 K Special Roadster was a pioneering luxury car of the brand. Its spaciousness and unfussiness invited one to join it on a stylish excursion.

Perpetual example: the Mercedes-Benz 500 K Special Roadster is regarded as one of the most beautiful vehicles in the history of the brand. It can be seen in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Legend Room 3: Times of Change – Diesel and Compressor.

“Sports Car of the Century”: the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing”, to be found in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Legend Room 4: Post-war Miracle – Form and Diversity.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (W 198).

What a brilliant idea: its gullwing doors rounded off the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL to make it the perfect design icon. No wonder it was voted “Sports Car of the Century” in 1999. Motorsports were in its genes, because a top speed of 245 km/h was more than impressive in the 1950s. 

Mercedes-Benz “Fintail” (W 110/111).

It is fairly obvious where the stylists found inspiration for this vehicle: the American road cruisers with their distinctive tail fins. These fins are, indeed, more discreet in the Mercedes-Benz “Fintail” Saloons of the W 110/111 model series. Officially they were called “sights” to facilitate reversing.

Beautiful – and wonderfully safe too: the Mercedes-Benz W 111 “Fintail” model series was the first production vehicle to feature crumple zones at the front and rear in conjunction with a rigid passenger compartment.

For a representative entrance: the Mercedes-Benz 600 was built from 1963 to 1981. As a luxurious limousine or landaulet, it is at the top of the model range.

Mercedes-Benz 600 (W 100).

Be honest: if this vehicle were to come round the corner now, who wouldn’t stop and look at it and anticipate some high-ranking statesmen or even crowned heads? To this day, the Mercedes-Benz 600 is the perfect example of a highly comfortable, stylish and representative saloon.

Mercedes-Benz C 111-II.

In 1969, the Mercedes-Benz C 111 was a sports car of the future, with a Wankel engine and a futuristic body. Its gullwing doors were reminiscent of the famous 300 SL from 1954. Version II was introduced in 1970.

And the future has, once again, become reality: Mercedes-Benz C 111-II, presented in 1970. Isn’t the “Weissherbst” colour shade the perfect choice?

A perfect blend of form and function: the first Estate was launched in 1977 in the 123 model series.

Mercedes-Benz Estate (model series 123).

The usefulness of the multi-purpose estate car is undisputed. But if it is made by Mercedes-Benz, it can also be exceptionally beautiful. Traditionally, the estates with the star emblem are called the “T-model” in German: the “T” stands for tourism and transportation. The first T-model was launched in 1977 in the 123 model series.

Mercedes-Benz SL of the R 129 model series.

Every Mercedes-Benz SL is a design icon, and the SL in the R 129 model series is an icon of modernity. It was introduced in 1989. The R 129 is still one of the most popular SLs today. In addition to its timeless and elegant sportiness, the model series offered such outstanding innovations as an automatic roll-over bar.

Timeless and elegant sportiness: the Mercedes-Benz SL of the R 129 model series is one of the brand’s most popular sports cars and a sought-after modern classic.

Modern gullwing doors: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG dating from 2009. This was also the first vehicle developed independently by AMG.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (C 197).

An ideal blend of power and elegance is offered by the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG. The abbreviation was created in the late 1950s and stood for “Sports–Light–Super”. The gullwing doors are just one of the many fascinating details and forge a link to underline the relationship to the 300 SL. 

Mercedes-Benz CLS (C 219).

Coupé and saloon at the same time: the Mercedes-Benz CLS elegantly bridges the gap between these worlds. Never before had two completely different characters been united so consistently and at such a high aesthetic level in a motorcar made by the brand with the star. Final opinion? An absolute beauty!

And which Mercedes-Benz do you consider to be the most beautiful? Post an image on Instagram @mercedesbenzmuseum or Facebook along with the #MBclassic hashtag.