Driving the mighty 450SEL 6.9

Today I was able to drive a 450SEL 6.9 for the first time.    I have driven many M117 engined cars (450’s and 560’s primarily) and the big difference is the massive amount of torque on tap with the M100.   Regardless of the speed or gear the car launches immediately with even minor throttle input.    The car I drove was the imported high compression model (8.8:1 instead of 8:1 in the Aussie version).    This was a particular contrast to my 450SLC which as the low compression version of the M117 450.

The suspension is supple even with the low profile tyres on this particular car.   You can feel the origins of the system (from the Citroen DS), but its firmer and has less squat and dive on braking and acceleration.   This is quite an achievement as the squat/dive was always the downside of the Citroen setup.

I can understand the reviews these cars got when new and why they are worth 3-5x a regular W116.   I’m really glad to have driven one, it was on my car ‘bucket list’.   I don’t think I will even own one though.   M100 ownership is not for the feint of heart – even if the 450SEL 6.9 is the most affordable way of getting into it.     As Sydney is bristling with speed cameras it would never be able to used as intended.

450SEL 6.9

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