Though the 4.5-litre V8 had been available as an option for American market 350SLs since 1971 (largely to compensate for Federal emissions controls), Europe had to wait until 1973 for the official 450SL model. The extra litre didn’t add much in the way of bhp, but the torque figure took a big leap and allowed the larger-engined car to be fitted with a much taller rear axle ratio. That makes it even more of a lazy cruiser than the 350SL, but does help out on the economy front. You’ll find a fair proportion fitted with automatic gearboxes.
Price at launch:
Independent, wishbone, coil spring
Independent, semi-trailing arm, coil spring