Launched in 1959, the 220, 220 S and 220 SE “fintails” (W 111) owed their nickname to their distinctive rear fins.
These were officially known as “sight lines” on account of their function as a parking aid. This new generation of luxury-segment saloons marked quite a special milestone in automotive history, as these were the first series-produced motor vehicles to feature the safety body conceived by Béla Barényi. In the event of an accident, front and rear crumple zones absorbed the energy of the impact to protect the occupants.
- Safety passenger compartment with crumple zones (front and rear)
- Padded steering wheel and interior appointments designed so as to reduce injury hazards in accidents
- Wedge-pin door locks featuring two safety detents
- Disc brakes (300 SE, from 1961)
- Dual-circuit braking system (from 1963)
- Four-speed automatic transmission (from 1961)
- Air suspension (300 SE, from 1961)
- Long-wheelbase version available (300 SE, from 1963)
- Central locking available as an optional extra (300 SE long)