Out now: the Autocade Yearbook 2024
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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024

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German company with the distinction of being the pioneer of the modern motor car powered by the internal combustion engine. Mercedes-Benz was created as a marque in 1926 from the merger of Daimler and Benz (which formed Daimler–Benz AG), though the Mercedes name had come from a Daimler model in 1901. The merger proved successful, and Mercedes-Benz became known for prestige and racing models. In 1931, the company débuted a model with four-wheel independent suspension, the 170; while before World War II sporting models such as the 540K helped cement its reputation among the wealthy.

After the war, Mercedes-Benz launched the original 300SL, effectively a supercar with technology, such as fuel injection, ahead of the rest of the pack. Its lesser models still held a premium position, unlike BMW, which had to resort to manufacturing bubble cars during the 1950s to supplement its range of luxury and sporting models.

By the 1970s, Mercedes-Benz continued to innovate. Already a safety pioneer with crumple zones in the 1950s, the company incorporated ABS into its S-Klasse model of 1980, along with other innovations. By the turn of the century, Mercedes-Benz’s range was highly varied as it tried to play numerous niches, from small cars (such as the A-Klasse) to SUVs (the original ML-Klasse). Quality suffered as the focus went on marketing, and Mercedes-Benz spent the opening years of the 21st century refocusing on engineering and high standards.


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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024