At the 1987 Geneva Motor Show Mercedes-Benz presented the Coupes of the 124 series. Models 230 CE and 300 CE were the first to debut. In autumn 1989 the 300 CE-24 was added as new flagship model. One year later it was joined by the 200 CE, which was intended solely for export to Italy. The year 1992 saw the arrival of the 200 CE, 220 CE and 320 CE with up-to-date four-valve-per-cylinder engines. In 1993 the powerful E 36 AMG Coupe marked the brilliant climax of the series in regard to output.
Stylistically the Coupes of the 124 series display their affinity to the Saloon, presenting themselves with the same composed, clear lines for which chief designer Bruno Sacco was responsible. And yet their looks make them cars in their own right: the Coupes are a little shorter than the corresponding Saloons, are designed as two-doors, and their windscreen and rear window have a flatter angle. These stylistic features emphasise the character of these exclusive vehicles.
For the technology the engineers fell back on the Saloon: the Coupes have the multi-link independent rear suspension of the four-door cars and their shock absorber strut independent front suspension located by individual wishbones. The braking system also originated unchanged from the Saloons. Features like this ensure the high safety for which Mercedes-Benz stands. The passive safety is characterised by an elaborate bodyshell structure which provides crumple zones that deform according to a specific pattern and attains excellent ratings for stability and stiffness despite the lack of B-pillars.
The vehicles scored high on safety with further equipment features, such as the anti-lock braking system ABS, which was standard equipment in the 300 CE from the outset and in the 230 CE from February 1988 on. In autumn 1988 all cars of the series got a heated nearside exterior mirror and, adopted from the S-Class, a windscreen washing system with a heated washer reservoir including heated nozzles and hoses.
The innovative strength of the company found expression in details like the eccentric-sweep panoramic windscreen wiper in the 124 series, which ensured a swept area that was the largest of any car, but also the electric belt feeder, which automatically extended the Coupe seat belts to a convenient gripping position once driver or front passenger had taken their seats.
Within a nine-year period, 141 498 Coupes of the 124 series were built. This may sound like a lot at first, but the figure is put into perspective by the overall production volume for the series: inclusive of all body variants almost 2.6 million vehicles were produced.