The response from the media was consistently positive.
The new intermediate-class saloon was presented by Mercedes-Benz to the specialist media between 22 and 28 January 1976 at the Paul Ricard Circuit in southern France. A train specially chartered for the purpose from the Deutsche Bundesbahn, the German Federal Railway, transported the fleet of test and demonstration vehicles from Stuttgart to France: no fewer than 33 variously appointed and equipped vehicles from the 123 series thus made their public debut to the motoring media under the Mediterranean sun. The response from the media was consistently positive – for the car’s engineering as well as for its design. And their verdict was confirmed by the customers, too: the first year’s production sold out completely shortly after the launch of the W 123, with early second-hand models often selling for their original price within that first year of production.