The Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9 is considered by some to be one of the greatest sedans of all time, along with its predecessor, the equally-epic 300 SEL 6.3. In the dark days of the late 1970s and early 1980s, “high-performance” was defined by anything that could do 0-60 in less than 10 seconds. Suffice to say, the 6.9 dispatched the deed in considerably less time.
In a demonstration of how far technology and engineering has come in the intervening decades, the editors of Autoexpress decided to pit the former king against the most parsimonious and frugal example of the current S-Class, the S350 diesel. The two vehicles weigh around the same amount, and on paper, their respective engine outputs are remarkably closely-matched. The S350 diesel has the advantage of having more than double the number of gear ratios of its predecessor, as well as modern traction aids.
The two cars stayed quite close to each other down the track, with less than a car length separating the two for most of the distance. Did high-tech efficiency, or big-displacement boisterousness finally prevail? We won’t spoil the outcome for you. Watch the video below of these unlikely relatives battle it out below.