Sedans & Coupes

Is the Mercedes-Benz 500E is Actually A Porsche Sedan?

To many people looking at an old Mercedes-Benz car, the 500E doesn’t look like anything more than an antique. Some might view it as a piece of junk older car, but most people have never actually seen one in person. If you have seen one in person, you could easily recognize it as a Mercedes-Benz car from the front and rear Mercedes-Benz badging, but not much else. It lacks the iconic stylings of Mercedes-Benz in most ways the modern consumer would recognize, and you might be inclined to walk past it without so much as a second glance. This Mercedes-Benz 500E has a secret, and it could be that it’s not a Mercedes-Benz at all.

The Mercedes-Benz 500E

Of course, the Mercedes-Benz 500E is true to its brand at the end of the day. It has the star badging and luxury of every other Mercedes-Benz car, but there is a little bit more to this car’s design than you might expect. The Mercedes-Benz 500E was built by a different car manufacturer, which you could probably guess by now is Porsche. Before the introduction of the Panamera, Porsche had produced a well-equipped sedan under the Mercedes-Benz name, and it became the well-loved 500E.

1994 Mercedes Benz 500E | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images

Under the hood of the 500E is a massive V8, and as cool as that sounds on its own, it also led to some cool design features. Mercedes-Benz reached out to Porsche to figure out the best way to accommodate for the motor size the 500E. They decided the most natural solution would be to adjust the car’s body panels and create beautifully flared fenders, making it look incredibly sporty as well as luxurious.

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The flared fenders made the V8 fit under the hood, but the car became too wide for Mercedes-Benz to produce along with their regular cars. The 500E wasn’t designed to be a large-scale production car, so it didn’t warrant adjusting their facility to accommodate the machinery needed to fit the wider body, so the car’s production was given to Porsche.

A Porsche in disguise?

The flared fenders were the only uncommon aspect of the Mercedes-Benz 500E, and most people wouldn’t be able to distinguish it as something unique without this feature. That’s because it was still the same interior as the more standard E-class that Mercedes-Benz was producing at the time. In fact, it shared so much in common that most people couldn’t tell them apart if it wasn’t for the fenders and ‘500E’ badge on the back.

1994 Mercedes Benz 500E | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images

The interior of the 500E is undoubtedly Mercedes-Benz in style. While you couldn’t tell by looking at it now, the car was endowed with high-end touches, like the wood grain trim and leather door panels. It shares so much in common with other Mercedes-Benz cars of the time that from the inside, you probably wouldn’t suspect that Porsche built the car.

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At the end of the day, while Porsche did technically produce the 500E it was still a Mercedes-Benz car in just about every way. There isn’t much difference between the 500E and the standard E-class cars of the brand because they share almost all of their components. Though we can give Porsche the credit for production, the 500E still deserves it’s Mercedes-Benz badging.