Mercedes-Benz celebrates first airbag in W126 S-Class

Mercedes-Benz celebrates first airbag in W126 S-Class

The airbag was first developed by Mercedes-Benz after 13 years of research. The first car to receive an airbag was the W126-code 1980 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, in its early 280SE, 380SE and 500SE guises. Mercedes-Benz has also offered a standard driver-side airbag in all models by October 1992.

Mercedes-Benz is now celebrating 30 years of the airbag. Nowadays, airbags are much more modern, available in even sub-compact cars, with dual-stage deployment based on passenger weight, while coming in front, side, curtain and even knee versions, with seat-belt mounted ones soon for all you paranoid freaks out there. We’d rather celebrate 30 years of the W126 S-Class, which was in production for 12 years, sold 900,000 units and is considered the most successful S-Class of all time.

What do you think?



  1. W126… Still an icon!

  2. Even now my favourite is W140.

  3. after getting my license this was the car i really practised the driving…from sunny straight to this beast….it was an awesome car…

  4. very humbling to just think of how many lives have been saved by the air bag and how manypeople are still with us thanks to this amazing invention. well done Mercedes!

  5. GM was the first manufacturer to offer airbags years before Mercedes offered a single driver side airbag in some of it’s cars.
    I have a 1975 Buick Electra with driver and passenger side airbags and GM made them available as an option as early as 1973 on on many 1974 models.

  6. General Motors was the first manufacturer to offer airbags as an option in 1973 on many 1974 models. Most full size Buicks, Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs could have been ordered with them.
    I have a 1975 Buick with airbags, and unlike the 1980 Mercedes, they offered protection for the 3 front passengers and they offered 2 stage deployment.

    • Author

      Yep, you’re right. GM offered airbags in the mid-70s, and Mercedes was the first outside USA only. Looks like Mercedes-Benz is vaguely taking credit for it.

    • My Buick was sold new in Canada (and GM sold quite a few ACRS-equipped cars here) so it wasn’t USA only!

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