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ROAD TESTING THE MERCEDES BENZ 220 SE SALOON 1961

ROAD TESTING THE MERCEDES BENZ 220 SE SALOON 1961

BY JOHN B. BALL – ILLUSTRATED BRISTOL NEWS.

THE NEW STYLED larger Mercedes 220 SE was first seen in this country at the 1959 Motor Show. It was, however, some time after this before we began to see this vehicle on the home market, and despite the fact that greater production has considerably cut down the waiting period, there is still a very great demand for this German de luxe car.

The 220 SE is the only production car in the world which offers fuel injection. To the uninformed, this really means that the carburettors are completely replaced by a fuel pump which injects petrol into the combustion chamber. The main advantage of this, of course, is that the injection timing is always perfect, and varies in relation to the speed of the engine. This not only gives perfectly smooth running, but also increases the brake horsepower of the engine, and gives a better and more balanced fuel consumption.

The exterior line of this Mercedes is dignified and elegant, and although it gives an impression of power and speed, could not under any circumstances be called ‘rakish’. It is six inches longer than its predecessor, and with an overall length of over 16 ft. must certainly be classed as a ‘big’ car. Upon entering the saloon, one must be impressed by the amount of passenger space available. In the front, two semi-bucket type seats give maximum comfort to the driver and passenger, whilst a broad armrest will fold away and with the insertion of a cushion, a third person can be taken as an occasional passenger. In the rear, three fully grown people could be accommodated in complete comfort without any crowding.

The leather upholstered seats are firmly comfortable, and the standard of trim and saloon fittings is extremely high. At the front, however, I was not at all impressed by the dashboard and facia. Although at first glance it looked extremely attractive, having a padded leather head and foot, the centre itself is almost completely dominated by the heater and demister controls.

The most important instruments are enclosed in what I consider to be a particularly cluttered cowl, which is seen through the steering wheel, but even this view is broken by the inner horn ring. This, I feel, is a particularly bad mistake, for in the normal driving position I found that I could not take a full reading of my instruments without close scrutiny, which, of course, must surely be a very bad point. The foot controls and hand-brake are nicely placed, as are the hand instruments and indicator controls. Mercedes have, in the past, no doubt due to their racing successes, been accredited with excellent performances, and in the acceleration field the 220 SE is no exception.

I found it was possible to go from a standing start to 50 m.p.h. in as little as six seconds, and a standing start to 60 m.p.h. (using only three gears) in 10.2 seconds. Maximum speed, which on the …