The Mercedes-Benz 260 D was the first diesel engined series produced passenger car and was introduced in 1936. It was named in reference to its engine's cubic capacity. Nearly 2,000 vehicles were assembled until 1940, when the Daimler-Benz group had to devote itself entirely to military manufacture.

The 2545 cc overhead valve, 4-cylinder engine employed the Bosch diesel injection system and produced 45 bhp (34 kW) at 3000 rpm. The car weighed approximately 1,530 kg (3,373 lb) and could attain a top speed of 95 km/h (59 mph).

The chassis was based on contemporary Mercedes technology and had transverse leaf spring independent front suspension and swing axles at the rear. The brakes were hydraulic. A range of body types were made including saloons, landaulettes and cabriolets.

Two series were manufactured, 170 pullman-landaulets used only as taxis based on the W21 chassis, called the Nullserie from 1936 to 1937, with a three-speed plus overdrive transmission, without syncromesh on the first gear, and, from 1937 on, the regular production 260D based on the W143 chassis, with a four-speed fully synchronized transmission.

A surviving example of the car is displayed at the Mercedes-Benz museum in Germany.