Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Overview
 
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a series of luxury sedans produced by Mercedes-Benz, a division of Daimler AG. The classification was officially introduced in 1972 with the W116
Mercedes-Benz W116
The Mercedes-Benz W116 was a series of flagship vehicles produced from September 1972 through 1979. The W116 automobiles were the first Mercedes-Benz models to be officially called S-Class, although earlier sedan models had already unofficially been designated with the letter 'S' - for...

 S-Class, which succeeded previous Mercedes-Benz models dating to the mid-1950s. As the flagship
Flagship
A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, reflecting the custom of its commander, characteristically a flag officer, flying a distinguishing flag...

 of the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the S-Class has debuted many of the company's latest innovations, including drivetrain technologies, interior features, and safety systems (such as the first seatbelt pretensioners).
Encyclopedia
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a series of luxury sedans produced by Mercedes-Benz, a division of Daimler AG. The classification was officially introduced in 1972 with the W116
Mercedes-Benz W116
The Mercedes-Benz W116 was a series of flagship vehicles produced from September 1972 through 1979. The W116 automobiles were the first Mercedes-Benz models to be officially called S-Class, although earlier sedan models had already unofficially been designated with the letter 'S' - for...

 S-Class, which succeeded previous Mercedes-Benz models dating to the mid-1950s. As the flagship
Flagship
A flagship is a vessel used by the commanding officer of a group of naval ships, reflecting the custom of its commander, characteristically a flag officer, flying a distinguishing flag...

 of the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the S-Class has debuted many of the company's latest innovations, including drivetrain technologies, interior features, and safety systems (such as the first seatbelt pretensioners). The S-Class has ranked as the world's best-selling luxury flagship sedan, and its latest generation, the W221 S-Class, premiered in 2006 as an all-new design. As in previous iterations, the W221 S-Class is sold in standard- and long-wheelbase versions; V6
V6 engine
A V6 engine is a V engine with six cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of three cylinders, usually set at either a right angle or an acute angle to each other, with all six pistons driving a common crankshaft...

, V8
V8 engine
A V8 engine is a V engine with eight cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of four cylinders, in most cases set at a right angle to each other but sometimes at a narrower angle, with all eight pistons driving a common crankshaft....

, V12
V12 engine
A V12 engine is a V engine with 12 cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of six cylinders, usually but not always at a 60° angle to each other, with all 12 pistons driving a common crankshaft....

, diesel
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

 and hybrid
Hybrid vehicle
A hybrid vehicle is a vehicle that uses two or more distinct power sources to move the vehicle. The term most commonly refers to hybrid electric vehicles , which combine an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors.-Power:...

 powertrains are offered. All models built in Mexico or sold in the United States are only available in long wheelbase.

The name "S-Class" derives from the German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 word "Sonderklasse" of which "S-Class" is an abbreviation. Sonderklasse means "special class" (or rather: "In a class of its own"), and in automotive terms thus refers to "a specially outfitted car." Although used colloquially for decades, following its official application in 1972, five generations of officially named S-Class sedans have been produced. Past two-door coupe models of the S-Class were known as SEC and later S-Coupe. In 1998 they were spun off in a separate line as the CL-Class
Mercedes-Benz CL-Class
The Mercedes-Benz CL-Class is a luxury coupé automobile produced by the German automaker Mercedes-Benz. The name CL stands for the German Comfort Leicht ....

, however it will be re-designated as the S-Coupe for the 2011 model year.

Model nomenclature

Chassis Type Debut
W180
Mercedes-Benz W180
The Mercedes-Benz W180 is a 6-cylinder sedan, coupé, and convertible made from 1954 to 1959. The models associated with the W180 chassis code were the 220a and 220S...

"Ponton" 1954
W128
Mercedes-Benz W128
The Mercedes-Benz W128 was a 6-cylinder automobile that was available in sedan, coupé, or cabriolet body styles and produced from October, 1958 to August, 1959...

"Ponton" 1958
W111
Mercedes-Benz W111
The Mercedes-Benz W111 was a chassis code given to its top-range vehicles, including 4-door sedans, produced from 1959 to 1968, and 2-door coupes and cabriolets from 1961 to 1971. The W111, was initially attributed only to 6-cylinder cars with 2.2 litre engines. The luxury version with big-block 3...

"Fintail" 1959
W112
Mercedes-Benz W112
The Mercedes-Benz W112 was a flagship model in Mercedes-Benz's line-up during the early 1960s. The car, produced in four modifications: coupé, cabriolet and sedans, was identical to the standard Mercedes-Benz W111 Fintail car, but was fitted with the M189 big-block six-cylinder engine, as well as...

"Fintail" 1959
W108
Mercedes-Benz W108
The Mercedes-Benz W108 and W109 were luxury cars built by Mercedes-Benz from 1965 through 1972. The line was an update of the predecessor W111 and W112 fintail sedans. The cars were successful in West Germany and in export markets that included including North America and Southeast Asia...

N/A 1965
W116
Mercedes-Benz W116
The Mercedes-Benz W116 was a series of flagship vehicles produced from September 1972 through 1979. The W116 automobiles were the first Mercedes-Benz models to be officially called S-Class, although earlier sedan models had already unofficially been designated with the letter 'S' - for...

S-Class 1972
W126
Mercedes-Benz W126
The Mercedes-Benz W126 is a series of flagship vehicles manufactured by German automotive marque Mercedes-Benz. Premiering in September 1979 as the successor to the earlier W116 line, the W126 was the second generation of the Mercedes-Benz flagship to officially bear the S-Class name referring to...

S-Class 1979
W140
Mercedes-Benz W140
The Mercedes-Benz W140 was a series of flagship vehicles manufactured by the German automotive company Mercedes-Benz. The car premiered at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1991, with the first examples rolling off the production line on August 6, 1991. Short and long wheelbase sedans were offered...

S-Class 1991
W220
Mercedes-Benz W220
The Mercedes-Benz W220 was a series of flagship sedans which constituted the Mercedes-Benz S-Class during the early-to-mid 2000's. Development for the W220 S-Class started in 1992, with the final design being approved in 1996 spanning a total of 38 months. The completed prototypes were presented in...

S-Class 1999
W221
Mercedes-Benz W221
The Mercedes-Benz W221 is a chassis code of S-Class, the successor of Mercedes-Benz W220.The vehicle was unveiled in 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show.-Styling:The W221 S-Class' exterior styling is distinctly different to the W220...

S-Class 2005

In early Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG...

 history, the "S-Class" designation was used colloquially, referring to the letter "S" which designated most of the larger six-cylinder powered vehicles in the company's lineup (but not the luxurious V8-powered 600 limousine
Mercedes-Benz 600
The Mercedes-Benz 600 is a large luxury automobile offered in several variants worldwide. Introduced in September 1963, it had very few competitors, these being Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Cadillac Fleetwood 75, the stretched Lehmann-Peterson Lincoln, and the Crown Imperial Ghia...

). In typical Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG...

 fashion introduced in the late 1920s, the traditional designation of each car consisted of three numbers indicating engine size (up to 770 in the 1930s), and optional letters indicating either engine features ("260D" since the first Diesel of 1936) or body styles ("K" for kompressor (typically a Roots compressor
Roots type supercharger
The Roots type supercharger or Roots blower is a positive displacement lobe pump which operates by pumping fluids with a pair of meshing lobes not unlike a set of stretched gears. Fluid is trapped in pockets surrounding the lobes and carried from the intake side to the exhaust...

). In 1930, Mercedes-Benz names further added secondary engine displacement labels, e.g. "190E 2.6", in order to distinguish it from the mid-sized 260E, the mid-size five-door 260TE, and the "S-Class" 260SE using the same six-cylinder.

In 1993, when the W202 was introduced as C-Class, the traditional naming convention (numbers, plus letters) was reversed, with a leading letter identifying the line (currently, A, B, C, CLS, E, G, GL, GLK, ML, R, S, SL,SLK,V are in use). From then on, the long-wheelbase models (formerly "SEL") and the regular length models (formerly "SE") are both labeled with the prefix of "S" regardless of length. For example, both 500SE and 500SEL are now labeled as S500/S500L, with fuel injection being standard by now anyway. The W221 S-Class has been available in four trim levels; the numbers are given in ascending order to denote more upscale models (e.g. S550/S600/S63 AMG/S65 AMG etc.) In official Mercedes-Benz publications and on vehicle nameplates, a space between the letter and numbers is customary (e.g. S 600).

"Ponton" (1954)

The W180 line debuted in 1954, and is the first lineup of "Ponton" models associated with the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The W180 featured six-cylinder sedan, coupé, and convertible models, and was produced until 1957. The later W128 lineup, introduced in the mid-to-late 1950s, was the last to be associated with the "Ponton" name. It featured the 220a, 219 (W105), 220S, and 220SE models (sedan, coupé, and cabriolet) powered by a 2.2L straight-6
Mercedes-Benz M130 engine
The Mercedes Benz M130 Engine was the last and largest of the ‘mid-sized’ Single Over Head Camshaft straight-6 cylinder engines produced by Mercedes Benz. The ‘mid-sized six’ started life as the 2.2 litre M180 which was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor show in September 1951 alongside the new...

, and came to ten. The "Ponton"
Mercedes-Benz Ponton
The Ponton was Daimler-Benz's first totally new Mercedes-Benz series of passenger vehicles produced after World War II. In July 1953, the cars replaced the pre-war-designed Type 170 series and were the bulk of the automaker's production through 1959, though some models lasted through 1962.The...

 designation referred to pontoon fenders
Pontoon fenders
Pontoon fenders are a type of automobile fender.Originally the term referred to a design prevalent in the United States in the 1930s where front fenders encased a wheel and terminated in a teardrop point, remaining distinct from the running boards or the body of the car...

, a stylistic feature on the W180/W128 models.
The "Ponton" lineup included four- and six-cylinder models, but only the six-cylinder W180 and W128 lines are considered part of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class chronology, as they were the most powerful "Ponton" versions available. Both "Ponton" models were Mercedes' first without a conventional frame, using a unitized body/frame construction.

"Fintail" (1959)

Mercedes Benz Fintail (German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

: Heckflosse) is a nickname given to certain Mercedes Benz vehicles which show American influences in design including the presence of tailfins. Though never officially designated as such (they were designated Peilstege, marking the end of the car in rear view mirror). The Fintail series replaced the Ponton series.

The exterior was designed for the European and North American markets. The body was modern and featured a characteristic tailfins that gave gave the models their nickname — the fintail (German: Heckflosse).

The W111 was a chassis code given to its top-range vehicles, including four-door sedans, produced from 1959 to 1968, and two-door coupes and cabriolets from 1961 to 1971. The W111, was initially attributed only to six-cylinder cars with 2.2 litre engines. The luxury version with big-block 3-litre engines were given the chassis code W112. The entry-level vehicles with four-cylinder engines were called W110. All three versions W110, W111, and W112, in both two- and four-door bodies, were built on an identical chassis.

W108 (1965)

With "Fintails" being passé and dropped in favor of a look similar to the 600, the updated and larger W108
Mercedes-Benz W108
The Mercedes-Benz W108 and W109 were luxury cars built by Mercedes-Benz from 1965 through 1972. The line was an update of the predecessor W111 and W112 fintail sedans. The cars were successful in West Germany and in export markets that included including North America and Southeast Asia...

/W109 lines were introduced in 1965. With the W108/W109 series, the range received V8
V8 engine
A V8 engine is a V engine with eight cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of four cylinders, in most cases set at a right angle to each other but sometimes at a narrower angle, with all eight pistons driving a common crankshaft....

 power for the first time (from 1969). The W108
Mercedes-Benz W108
The Mercedes-Benz W108 and W109 were luxury cars built by Mercedes-Benz from 1965 through 1972. The line was an update of the predecessor W111 and W112 fintail sedans. The cars were successful in West Germany and in export markets that included including North America and Southeast Asia...

 line launched with an initial lineup of straight-six powered models using the M129, 2.5 liter engine. The unusual high-displacement 300 SEL 6.3
Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 started out as a private venture in 1966 by company engineer Erich Waxenberger.- Concept :Waxenberger's principle was simple: take the powerful 6.3 litre V8 Mercedes-Benz M100 engine from the luxurious Mercedes-Benz 600 limousine, and fit it into the regular...

 V8 model was based on this body type. The W108 line, which included the 250S, 250SE, 280S 280SE and 280SEL (long-wheelbase) models, was larger than the Fintail models it replaced, and also eliminated the characteristic design feature of the previous model.

During this period, the designation S or SE was used for short-wheelbase models including 250S, 250SE, 280S, 280SE and 300SE. The "E" stands for the German word "Einspritzen" which was a reference to the vehicle being equipped with fuel injection for the engine. Vehicles without the E designation as part of the model number or nomenclature retained the carburetor setup. Long-wheelbase models (extended by 4 inches in the rear doors) were designated SEL (L= lang or long). Since the advent of the W108 series, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has always included two wheelbase lengths, although not all wheelbases are sold in every country. The 300 SE and 300 SEL models were classified as W109 chassis and had rear air suspension compared to coil spring based rear suspension of W108 models. The more powerful 300SE and 300SEL models were the most luxurious versions of the W108 line, with available burl walnut interior trim, automatic transmission, and power windows.

In 1968, the W108 line dropped the 250S and 250SE in favor of S-Class models with the larger engined 280S (in carbureted form) and the 280SE (with fuel injection); the 300SE/SEL models were later offered with a 3.5 litre V8 engine
V8 engine
A V8 engine is a V engine with eight cylinders mounted on the crankcase in two banks of four cylinders, in most cases set at a right angle to each other but sometimes at a narrower angle, with all eight pistons driving a common crankshaft....

 (in both the SE and SEL form) and 4.5 litre and 6.3 litre V8 engines (in the SEL model only). The W108/109 lines, which eventually supplanted the W111 lines, were not available with 4-cylinder engines, and thus established the distinct S-Class market position which continues to the present day.

W116 (1972)

In 1973, Mercedes-Benz introduced the W116
Mercedes-Benz W116
The Mercedes-Benz W116 was a series of flagship vehicles produced from September 1972 through 1979. The W116 automobiles were the first Mercedes-Benz models to be officially called S-Class, although earlier sedan models had already unofficially been designated with the letter 'S' - for...

 line, the first to be officially called the S-Class. Produced from 1972 through 1979, the W116 series featured a four-wheel independent suspension
Independent suspension
Independent suspension is a broad term for any automobile suspension system that allows each wheel on the same axle to move vertically independently of each other. This is contrasted with a beam axle, live axle or deDion axle system in which the wheels are linked – movement on one side affects...

 and disc brakes. The 280, 350, and 450 (4.5L version) models featured SE and SEL versions. Production of the W116 totaled 473,035 units. This was a groundbreaking sedan for Mercedes-Benz, and for the first time in the company history, the car had an obvious, blatant and outward emphasis on safety placed above a pure styling viewpoint. The overall design incorporated numerous safety features developed from the "safety research vehicles" in the mid-to-late 1960s to the very early 1970s.

These safety features were all newly introduced passenger-car "firsts" on a production vehicle: padded door trim around the windows, heavily padded steering wheel (later to be replaced by an airbag with the Mercedes-Benz abbreviation of SRS standing for the English-language term Supplemental Restraint System), more comprehensive safety padding on the dashboard and around the interior, dual asymmetric windshield wipers, headrests with a center depression to locate the occupant's head in a more central position during a rear impact, a rain-water management system to improve visibility consisting of deep channels on both sides of the windshield and flowing into deeply channeled rain gutters, including similar designs on the side mirrors, rounded body shapes along the edges, such as the tops of the front fenders, etc., designed to ameliorate pedestrian injuries, ribbed rear taillamp lenses which would remain clearer of dirt on the recessed areas, an easy-to-access first aid kit stowed in a recessed compartment on the rear parcel shelf prominently labeled with the universally recognized "cross" symbol which represents "first aid", and several other subtle safety features related to both active and passive safety.

The W116 models were large luxury sedans. The W116 was larger on the outside than the W108/W109 series
Mercedes-Benz W108
The Mercedes-Benz W108 and W109 were luxury cars built by Mercedes-Benz from 1965 through 1972. The line was an update of the predecessor W111 and W112 fintail sedans. The cars were successful in West Germany and in export markets that included including North America and Southeast Asia...

 it replaced, but had similar interior capacity, as the additional bulk was driven by several new and aforementioned engineering developments on car safety
Car safety
Automobile safety is the study and practice of vehicle design, construction, and equipment to minimize the occurrence and consequences of automobile accidents. Automobile safety is the study and practice of vehicle design, construction, and equipment to minimize the occurrence and consequences of...

 and occupant protection in a crash. The W116 introduced other improved passive safety
Car safety
Automobile safety is the study and practice of vehicle design, construction, and equipment to minimize the occurrence and consequences of automobile accidents. Automobile safety is the study and practice of vehicle design, construction, and equipment to minimize the occurrence and consequences of...

 features into the vehicle design, including a strengthened vehicle occupant shell. It was one of the first cars to be available with ABS
Anti-lock braking system
An anti-lock braking system is a safety system that allows the wheels on a motor vehicle to continue interacting tractively with the road surface as directed by driver steering inputs while braking, preventing the wheels from locking up and therefore avoiding skidding.An ABS generally offers...

, a driver's airbag
Airbag
An Airbag is a vehicle safety device. It is an occupant restraint consisting of a flexible envelope designed to inflate rapidly during an automobile collision, to prevent occupants from striking interior objects such as the steering wheel or a window...

 supplemental restraint system (but not available at the vehicle's initial launch), and the first appearance of a turbocharger for the diesel engine.

The 450SE, then the most powerful model in the W116 lineup, was awarded European Car of the Year
European Car of the Year
The European Car of the Year award was established in 1964 by a collective of automobile magazines from different countries in Europe. The current organisers of the award are Auto , Autocar , Autopista , Autovisie , L'Automobile Magazine , Stern and Vi Bilägare .The voting jury consists of motoring...

 in 1974. At the New England Auto Show in 1972 held in the fall season in Boston, the Munroney Label (window sticker) of a 1973 450SE was right at $13,000. 1973 was the first model year of the W116 for the US market. Starting in 1975, the W116 was upgraded with a new fuel injection system in order to comply with revised exhaust emission standards in European markets. A slight power reduction was a result of this update, but in 1978, a series of further engine upgrades restored original performance levels under the new fuel injection systems.

Engines

With the W116 models, the V8-engines of the 350/450 SE/SEL models were now regular options. Due to the oil crisis
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

, fuel efficiency was the major concern for the engineers, yet they still added also the high-performance, limited-production 450 SEL 6.9
Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9
The Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 is a high-performance version of the S-Class luxury saloon. It was built on its own assembly line by Daimler-Benz in Stuttgart, Germany and based on the long-wheelbase version of the W116 chassis introduced in 1972...

. This 8-cylinder model, affectionately referred to as simply "the 6.9", boasted the largest engine installed in a postwar Mercedes-Benz up to that time. Every 450 SEL 6.9 featured a self-leveling hydropneumatic suspension, and offered the ABS anti-lock braking system
Anti-lock braking system
An anti-lock braking system is a safety system that allows the wheels on a motor vehicle to continue interacting tractively with the road surface as directed by driver steering inputs while braking, preventing the wheels from locking up and therefore avoiding skidding.An ABS generally offers...

 as an option from 1978 onwards. Also, in the United States and Canada only, Mercedes-Benz introduced the economical but powerful 3.0 liter 5-cylinder turbodiesel in 1978, sold as the 300SD.

W126 (1979)

The W126 series premiered in late 1979 as 1980 model (and 1981 in USA and Australia), replacing the W116 line. The W126 line introduced a host of new safety features, and ushered in the next phase of Mercedes-Benz styling. The W126 brought much-improved aerodynamics
Aerodynamics
Aerodynamics is a branch of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air, particularly when it interacts with a moving object. Aerodynamics is a subfield of fluid dynamics and gas dynamics, with much theory shared between them. Aerodynamics is often used synonymously with gas dynamics, with...

 to the S-Class, enlarged yet lighter engines with blocks made of aluminium. The W126 S-Class was also the first luxury car to win the prestigious Car of the Year
Car of the Year
Car of the Year is a phrase usually considered to have been invented by Motor Trend magazine in the 1950s for their annual award for best American automobile...

 award from Australia's Wheels magazine, which it did in 1981. The W126 line lasted from 1979 through 1991, a production run of over twelve years, its model cycle extended by the first-ever S-Class mid-cycle update. Coupé models based on the S-Class were reintroduced with the W126 (380/500 SEC). Total sales of the W126 S-Class sedans reached 818,036 units, with an additional 74,060 coupes sold. These sales figures make the W126 the most successful S-Class line in Mercedes-Benz history.

In 1981, the W126 introduced the modern airbag
Airbag
An Airbag is a vehicle safety device. It is an occupant restraint consisting of a flexible envelope designed to inflate rapidly during an automobile collision, to prevent occupants from striking interior objects such as the steering wheel or a window...

, as patented by Mercedes-Benz in 1971, to the world as an additional measure of occupant protection. Other safety innovations on the W126 included passenger side airbags (in 1986), seat-belt pretensioners, and traction control. In the cabin, additional courtesy and reading lamps, along with heated seats and a more advanced climate control system, added to the luxurious interior environment. A four-speed automatic transmission was standard.

Although the top of range Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9
Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9
The Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 is a high-performance version of the S-Class luxury saloon. It was built on its own assembly line by Daimler-Benz in Stuttgart, Germany and based on the long-wheelbase version of the W116 chassis introduced in 1972...

 of the previous generation was not directly replaced, the W126 carried forward the hydropneumatic suspension of the 6.9 as an option on the 500SEL. A new cruise control system was offered as well. Abandoning the roadster based coupes, the W126 introduced a two-door variant, the SEC coupé
Coupé
A coupé or coupe is a closed car body style , the precise definition of which varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and over time...

.
The longevity of the W126 S-Class model cycle was aided by a mid-cycle update in 1986, an upgrade which previously was not done in S-Class generations. During the update of the W126 model S-Class, a facelift was performed and engine upgrades occurred.

Engines

Powerplants on the W126 S-Class included straight-6 and V8 engines. Most sales came from the diesel
Diesel engine
A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber...

 model in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and straight-six models in Europe, although the V8 models were praised by contemporary journalists. During the W126 mid-cycle update in 1986, both the straight-6 and V8 engines were upgraded in several models to different displacement levels (six-cylinder upgraded from 2.8 L to 3.0 L, eight-cylinder upgraded from 3.8 L to 4.2 L, and 5.0 L to 5.6 L).

Notably, the 500SE has an interesting place in US history, despite not being offered in that country. American demand for this particular car drove the establishment of a large grey market
Grey import vehicles
Grey import vehicles are new or used motor vehicles and motorcycles legally imported from another country through channels other than the maker's official distribution system...

. The detuned, yet very expensive standard US specification 380 SE/SEL/SEC/SL was underpowered, according to contemporary reports, so 25,000 units per year of the parallel import vehicle were sold in the early 1980s. That prompted then Mercedes-Benz of North America to lobby for the elimination of parallel import in 1988.

W140 (1991)

In 1991, the W140 series replaced the W126 line in the Mercedes-Benz line-up, the first production model rolling off the assembly line on August 6 of that year. As with its predecessor, the W140 launched the "next generation" of Mercedes-Benz design language. The W140 saw the S-Class grow in its proportions; more technology and features were added due to product evolution and through competition. The car was available in two wheelbase lengths and a shorter-wheelbase W140 coupé. Production totalled 432,732 units; down on volumes for the W126 reflecting its shorter production period, competitive pressure (especially Lexus in the US) and higher market positioning.

A W140 S-class was the car in which Princess Diana died in when her chauffeur (the only survivor of the four occupants was her security guard, who was located in the front passenger seat) crashed into a Parisian concrete pillar in August 1997.

The W140 cost 25% more than the preceding W126. There was new pressure from competitors such as Lexus
Lexus
is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation. First introduced in 1989 in the United States, Lexus is now sold globally and has become Japan's largest-selling make of premium cars. The Lexus marque is marketed in over 70 countries and territories worldwide, and has...

 and Infiniti
Infiniti
is the luxury division of automaker Nissan. Infiniti officially started selling vehicles on November 8, 1989 in North America. Marketing operations have since grown to include the Middle East, South Korea, Russia, Taiwan, China, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. Infiniti began sales in additional...

 in the US. Specification and options increased in this period as the Mercedes Benz evolved the model to remain competitive.

The W140 introduced new innovations such as double-pane window glazing, self-closing boot lid and doors, electric windows with a jam-protection feature (lowering back down when encountering an obstruction), rear-parking markers in the US (which appeared on the rear wings when in reverse), and a heating system which emitted warm air whilst residual energy was available after the engine was turned off.
In 1993, Mercedes-Benz model nomenclature was rationalized, with the SE/SEL/SEC cars becoming the S-Class and alphanumerical designations inverted (e.g. the both 500SE and 500SEL became S500 regardless of wheelbase length). In 1995, the W140 received a minor facelift. The clear turn signal indicator lenses on the front and rear were the most obvious changes. Headlamps were fitted with separate low and high beam reflectors for the US. Following the mid-year facelift, the W140 coupé and sedan (Saloon) were each fitted with Electronic Stability Control
Electronic Stability Control
Electronic stability control is a computerized technology that may potentially improve the safety of a vehicle's stability by detecting and minimizing skids. When ESC detects loss of steering control, it automatically applies the brakes to help "steer" the vehicle where the driver intends to go...

. The W140 was to feature an air suspension
Air suspension
Air suspension is a type of vehicle suspension powered by an engine driven or electric air pump or compressor. This pump pressurizes the air, using compressed air as a spring. Air suspension replaces conventional steel springs. If the engine is left off for an extended period, the car will settle...

 as an option, but Mercedes-Benz was still perfecting the technology and chose to launch air suspension as an option in the next generation S-Class in late 1999.

W220 (1999)

In late 1999, the W220 was introduced. The W220 S-Class was completely restyled, with a body that was slightly smaller and lighter than its predecessor. Unlike its predecessor, the W220 was not the first model to feature the company's new design theme for the next generation of Mercedes-Benz. This honor was given to the A-Class
Mercedes-Benz A-Class
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a mini MPV produced by the German automobile manufacturer Mercedes-Benz. The first generation was introduced in 1997, and the all-new second generation model appeared in late 2004. Launched as a five-door hatchback in 1997, the second generation W169 introduced a...

 when it launched in 1997. The new S-Class incorporated the new styling cues first introduced on the Mk I A-Class the year before (for example, the dashboard carried over the new styling details first seen in the A-Class), with a renewed focus on elegance and style in a more rounded shape compared to the preceding W140. Despite being smaller, the W220 S-Class offered more interior space than the W140. Production of the W220 S-Class totaled 485,000 units, slightly more than the production totals from the W140. The W220 was produced in a sedan version only.

As with each new S-Class, the W220 brought in new innovations such as Airmatic air suspension
Air suspension
Air suspension is a type of vehicle suspension powered by an engine driven or electric air pump or compressor. This pump pressurizes the air, using compressed air as a spring. Air suspension replaces conventional steel springs. If the engine is left off for an extended period, the car will settle...

 and Active Ventilated Seats (which used miniature fans in the seats to move air through perforations). A navigation system with center console-mounted screen display was introduced, along with the COMAND input control system. Other options included keyless entry and ignition, a radar-controlled Distronic cruise control system and a cylinder shut-off system called Active Cylinder Control
Active Cylinder Control
Daimler AG's Active Cylinder Control is a variable displacement technology. It debuted in 2001 on the 5.8 L V12 in the CL600 and S600...

. The 4MATIC
4MATIC
4Matic is the name of an AWD four-wheel drive system developed and used by Mercedes-Benz. It is designed to increase traction in slippery conditions....

 all wheel drive system was introduced to the North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 market S-Class for 2003, complementing the traditional rear-wheel drive configurations.
Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports is an American magazine published monthly by Consumers Union since 1936. It publishes reviews and comparisons of consumer products and services based on reporting and results from its in-house testing laboratory. It also publishes cleaning and general buying guides...

classified the W220 model's reliability as "poor," its lowest rating, and declared it one of the "least reliable luxury cars." As of March 2011, however, used 2001 and 2002 models are classified by Consumer Reports as having improved to "average". Build quality was generally considered to be good. For instance, Forbes described the W220 S500 as "built remarkably well." Early W220s were recalled for issues with the trunk spring and the hydraulic fuel line; there were no recalls for the 2005 or 2006 model years.

In 2002, Mercedes-Benz introduced the world's first preemptive safety system on the W220 with its first iteration of Pre-Safe. In 2003, the W220 S-Class received an exterior refresh with updates to the front fascia. The grille angle was adjusted to a slightly more upright position, and the xenon-discharge headlamps were given a new transparent housing, replacing the earlier opaque versions. The front bumper's lower air intakes were also restyled. In 2005, the S-Class was the first vehicle to receive a TÜV Institute environmental certificate from the German Commission on Technical Compliance for environmentally friendly components.

Engines

The W220 was available with more engine options than the W126 or W140. The range started with smaller 3.2L 224 hp V6 motor, which was superseded by an enlarged 3.7 L 245 hp V6 in the S350. The S430 was powered by a 4.3 L 279 hp V8 and the S500 was powered by a 5.0 L 306 hp V8. The S55 AMG was outfitted with a supercharged 5.4 L 493 hp V8 motor, the S55 AMG 2000/2001 was outfitted with the naturally aspirated 5.4 L 367 hp V8 motor. The S600 was outfitted with a 5.5 L 493 hp V12 twin turbo engine, the S600 2000/2001 was outfitted with the naturally aspirated 5.8 L 367 hp V12 engine.

For one month in 2001, AMG produced the S63 AMG, which was sold in very limited numbers. The S63 was powered by a 6.3 L 444 hp V12. An undisclosed number of were sold exclusively through AMG in European and Asian markets. The S65 AMG was introduced in 2006. Powered by a 6.0 L 612 hp V12 twin turbo motor, the S65 was the most powerful S-Class, as well as the world's most powerful production sedan. The S65 had a 0 to 60 mph (0 to 96.6 km/h) time of 4.2 seconds (conservative MB estimate) and an owner tested time of 3.8 seconds and could reach 100 mph (160.9 km/h) under 9.  seconds. Furthermore a simple software upgrade pushes the motor to 740 hp and well over 850 ft/lbs tq.

W221 (2005)

The all-new W221 was introduced in the autumn of 2005 at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, with export to other markets beginning in 2006. The W221
Mercedes-Benz W221
The Mercedes-Benz W221 is a chassis code of S-Class, the successor of Mercedes-Benz W220.The vehicle was unveiled in 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show.-Styling:The W221 S-Class' exterior styling is distinctly different to the W220...

 S-Class made its North American premiere at the 2006 North American International Auto Show
North American International Auto Show
The North American International Auto Show is an annual auto show held in Detroit, Michigan at Cobo Center, usually in January. It is among the largest auto shows in North America.-History:...

 in January. The latest S-Class is slightly larger in all dimensions than its predecessor, and it features three newly developed engines with up to 26% power increase. The interior is completely new, all materials have been upgraded and make for a more luxurious ride, and the center console transmission gear lever has been replaced with a column-mounted shifter. New technological features on the W221 include an infrared
Infrared
Infrared light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength longer than that of visible light, measured from the nominal edge of visible red light at 0.74 micrometres , and extending conventionally to 300 µm...

 Night View Assist
Automotive night vision
An automotive night vision system is a system to increase a vehicle driver's perception and seeing distance in darkness or poor weather beyond the reach of the vehicle's headlights...

 feature and the latest Mercedes-Benz pre-collision system. The W221 features sharper exterior styling (most notably wide fender arcs) and technological improvements. The W221
Mercedes-Benz W221
The Mercedes-Benz W221 is a chassis code of S-Class, the successor of Mercedes-Benz W220.The vehicle was unveiled in 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show.-Styling:The W221 S-Class' exterior styling is distinctly different to the W220...

 is the second consecutive generation of the S-Class to be solely produced in a sedan body style.

Models sold in North America are the S450 (2008-,SWB and Canada only), S400 Hybrid (2010- ), S550, S600, S63 AMG and S65 AMG; other models to be sold outside North America include the S280, S350, S300, S420 CDI and S320 CDI. The first W221 model released in North America and Japan was the S550 (called S500 outside North America and Japan), with the S600 arriving in the following spring. Mercedes Benz Mexico also produces a police spec model of the S-600, the S-600P. The S-600P is similar to the standard S-600 but is equipped with the dual turbo charged V-12 engine of the S65 AMG and includes police lights, siren, run flat tires, a gun mount, a Lanix computer station integrated with the host police network, optional prisoner cage and restraint seats, and level B6/B7 armoring. The S-600P is only built in Mexico and only comes in long-wheelbase version. The Mexican government uses S-600P's mainly for transporting important figures, but several police departments in wealthier cities in the country use them as patrol vehicles, as does the Mexican Federal Police in limited numbers. A small number of S-600P were purchased by the police department of Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 for protection of key government figures.
In the US for 2010, the S-Class received a face lift across the entire model line. Daytime LED running lights were fitted to the outer edges of the bi-xenon lamp units. The rear end was accented with a total of 52 distinctively arranged LEDs in the two taillights. Gone are the body-colored strips through the tail lamps. Other noticeable changes at the front of the car are a more pronounced arrow-shaped grille, plus a new front bumper with a light-catching contour and a chrome strip below the cooling air intakes. New sleeker rear view door mirrors with LED turn signals were also added. Exhaust tailpipes of all S-Class variants were visibly integrated into the rear bumper. The wheels were updated to more modern-style ones. Also new is a S400 Hybrid version. Safety also improved on most Mercedes Benz models with the orange colored light reflectors mounted on the side of the bumpers. Also before it was updated it had a C-Class look at the front. Afterwards it disappeared. Also some shiny chrome is added to the bottom of the doors and bumper.

In terms of performance, the S550 completes the 0–60 mph run in just 5.4 seconds. The car weighs about 2250 kg, but S65 AMG still makes it 0 to 60 in just 4.2 seconds, although a 4.2 second 0-60 mph has never been claimed or tested, although various automobile magazines state that the S65 will never achieve a practical 0 to 60 time of under 5 seconds because of its execrable and abominable traction. The S 63 AMG and the S600 makes the same sprint in about 4.6 seconds. Mercedes-AMG
Mercedes-AMG
Mercedes-AMG GmbH, commonly known as AMG, is a subsidiary of the Mercedes-Benz car company specializing in high-performance luxury cars....

 claim that the S63 will pull from 50 mph to 70 mph in around 3.9 seconds while the S65 make it to 50 mph from 70 mph in 3.6 seconds.
The brakes continue to become more advanced with the new Brake Assist Plus system monitoring for an impending collision
Precrash system
A precrash system is an automobile safety system designed to reduce the severity of an accident. Also known as forward collision warning systems they use radar and sometimes laser sensors to detect an imminent crash...

 and increasing braking if needed, while the Distronic Plus radar guided cruise control
Cruise control
Cruise control is a system that automatically controls the speed of a motor vehicle. The system takes over the throttle of the car to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver.-History:...

 can now bring the car to a complete stop. This system works in outdoor conditions; a test demonstration by Mercedes-Benz in a crash-test hall resulted in embarrassment for the company when a new S-Class crashed into the back of a stationary W220 S-Class. This incident was later attributed to the radar system malfunctioning inside the radar-reflective (i.e. radar-confusing) steel test building where the event was filmed.

Upscale department store Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue
Saks Fifth Avenue is a luxury American specialty store owned and operated by Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises , a subsidiary of Saks Incorporated. It competes in the high-end specialty store market in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, i.e. 'the 3 B's' Bergdorf, Barneys, Bloomingdale's and Lord & Taylor...

 offered 20 special-edition S600 sedans for sale in its 2005 Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 catalog. All 20 cars, priced at US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

145,000 each, sold on November 22, 2005 in under seven minutes. The Saks-edition S600 sedans were finished in a mocha black exterior with an almond beige interior and were the first examples of the S600 to be sold to private owners. The S600s came with nearly every option standard. In 2007, Automobile Magazine
Automobile Magazine
Automobile magazine is an automobile magazine in the United States and is owned by Source Interlink. It was founded by a group of former employees of Car and Driver magazine, led by that publications’s former editor, David E. Davis, and originally published by News Corporation...

named the W221 S-Class as one of its 2007 "All-Stars" over rivals from Lexus
Lexus
is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation. First introduced in 1989 in the United States, Lexus is now sold globally and has become Japan's largest-selling make of premium cars. The Lexus marque is marketed in over 70 countries and territories worldwide, and has...

 and BMW
BMW
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916. It also owns and produces the Mini marque, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW produces motorcycles under BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna brands...

, and Car and Driver
Car and Driver
Car and Driver is an American automotive enthusiast magazine. Its total circulation is 1.31 million. It is owned by Hearst Magazines, who purchased prior owner Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. in 2011...

selected the S550 as the winner in a five-way comparison test of flagship luxury sedans, as did Motor Trend Magazine in July 2009 in a three way comparison test, with the other two competitors being the BMW
BMW
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG is a German automobile, motorcycle and engine manufacturing company founded in 1916. It also owns and produces the Mini marque, and is the parent company of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. BMW produces motorcycles under BMW Motorrad and Husqvarna brands...

 750Li, and Audi
Audi
Audi AG is a German automobile manufacturer, from supermini to crossover SUVs in various body styles and price ranges that are marketed under the Audi brand , positioned as the premium brand within the Volkswagen Group....

 A8L 4.2 Quattro
Audi A8
The Audi A8 is a four-door, full-size, luxury sedan car manufactured and marketed by the German automaker Audi since 1994. Succeeding the Audi V8, the A8 has been offered with front wheel drive or permanent four-wheel drive, with multitronic or tiptronic automatic transmissions — and in short- and...

. The W221 S-Class was also the recipient of several other motoring awards (see following).

Autobahn role

Large stretches of the German Autobahn network do not feature any speed limit except a recommended 130 km/h (80.8 mph). Driving at rather high speeds for extended periods tends to result in increased strain on a vehicle and requires careful engineering. Mercedes-Benz has sought to engineer its vehicles, most notably the S-Class, to excel in this unique environment, allowing high speed cruising. Specific standards of engine performance, body integrity, and reliability are part of this process. For instance, the S-Class is built with an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), which drivers can maintain when driving on the autobahn. AMG Manufaktur also offers delimitation or reset to 300 km/h (186 mph). Historically, the engineering of the S-Class has often occurred without regard to cost, a practice which continued unfettered up through the W140 line. The company in turn has been able to exploit this as a marketing
Marketing
Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments...

 tool, culminating in its onetime slogan, "engineered like no other car in the world." This slogan was used throughout the 1980s with the marketing of the W126 S-Class.

However, following the formation of DaimlerChrysler
DaimlerChrysler
Daimler AG is a German car corporation. By unit sales, it is the thirteenth-largest car manufacturer and second-largest truck manufacturer in the world. In addition to automobiles, Daimler manufactures buses and provides financial services through its Daimler Financial Services arm...

 and the cessation of engineer-sanctioned overbudgeting in the late 1990s, this slogan was dropped; the subsequent W220 model S-Class also exhibited lower reliability and quality rates.

Concept cars

In the 1980s, Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG...

 built the world's first driverless car
Driverless car
An autonomous car, also known as robotic or informally as driverless, is an autonomous vehicle capable of fulfilling the human transportation capabilities of a traditional car. As an autonomous vehicle, it is capable of sensing its environment and navigating on its own...

s using the S-Class, together with the team of Professor Ernst Dickmanns
Ernst Dickmanns
Ernst Dieter Dickmanns is a former professor at Bundeswehr University Munich , and a pioneer of dynamic computer vision and of driverless cars. Dickmanns has been visiting professor to CalTech, Pasadena, and to MIT, Boston teaching courses on 'dynamic vision'.- Biography :Dickmanns was born in 1936...

 at Bundeswehr
Bundeswehr
The Bundeswehr consists of the unified armed forces of Germany and their civil administration and procurement authorities...

 Universität München. The culmination of this effort was achieved in 1995, when Dickmanns' re-engineered autonomous S-Class robot
Robot
A robot is a mechanical or virtual intelligent agent that can perform tasks automatically or with guidance, typically by remote control. In practice a robot is usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by computer and electronic programming. Robots can be autonomous, semi-autonomous or...

 completed a trip from Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 to Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 and back. On the autobahn, the robot S-Class achieved speeds exceeding 175 km/h. It suggested and executed overtaking maneuvers. The car's abilities left a big impression on many observers, and is said to have heavily influenced robot car research and funding decisions worldwide.

A concept future hybrid, the F700 research car
Mercedes-Benz F700
The Mercedes-Benz F700 is a concept car produced by Mercedes-Benz. It was first revealed to the public at the 2007 Frankfurt motor show.-DiesOtto engine:...

, was also unveiled at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. The F700 featured three regular opening doors and a fourth door capable of 180 degree rotation. Also comes with bulletproof and puncture resistant tyres.

Safety

Mercedes-Benz has traditionally introduced its safety innovations in the S-Class. For instance, the S-Class was the first car in Europe to incorporate airbags. S-Class safety features included innovations in active safety
Active safety
In engineering, active safety systems are systems activated in response to a safety problem or abnormal event. Such systems may be activated by a human operator, automatically by a computer driven system, or even mechanically...

 (accident avoidance), passive safety (collision protection), and holistic safety (integration of both active and passive safety features). Active safety features include: ABS braking in 1978 (acts to reduce braking distances and improve stopping control; co-developed with Bosch); traction control and Electronic Stability Program
Electronic stability control
Electronic stability control is a computerized technology that may potentially improve the safety of a vehicle's stability by detecting and minimizing skids. When ESC detects loss of steering control, it automatically applies the brakes to help "steer" the vehicle where the driver intends to go...

 (ESP) in 1995 (improves driver control during difficult road conditions); and Brake Assist (provides full braking power during emergency stops). In 2005, a new infrared night vision feature was introduced (improves visibility during nighttime conditions). Despite the popular misconception, the S-Class was not the first car fitted with ABS braking technology, although some credit can be given for popularizing this now largely standard feature (ABS was initially an option on most models of the W126 S-Class).
Passive safety features include: crumple zones in 1957 (vehicle body structure absorbs the force of impact); three-point seatbelts in 1965 (provides additional torso/body protection); collapsible steering column (prevents the steering column from protruding into the cabin during accidents), strengthened occupant cell enhanced occupant protection during severe impacts (rollovers); pre-accident seatbelt tensioning (tightens seatbelts prior to impact), and sandwich platforms (allows the engine to slide under the occupants in a head-on collision).

PRE-SAFE, Mercedes-Benz's holistic safety feature, was introduced on the S-Class in 2002. PRE-SAFE
Precrash system
A precrash system is an automobile safety system designed to reduce the severity of an accident. Also known as forward collision warning systems they use radar and sometimes laser sensors to detect an imminent crash...

 integrates multiple active and passive safety features for a "safety net" approach to vehicle safety by attempting to prevent accidents; if accidents do occur, PRE-SAFE aims to reduce occupant injury. In the latest version of this pre-collision system, PRE-SAFE will prime the brake assist system, lock the doors to prevent accidental opening during the accident, adjust the seats, close the windows and sunroof, and tighten seatbelts during certain types of collisions. In the event an accident results in a roll over, the PRE-SAFE feature unlock the doors and lower the windows approximately one half-inch to allow you to exit or safety workers to gain access easily.

Road accident statistics on a model-by-model basis from the UK Department of Transport show that the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is one of the safest cars on the UK roads (measured in terms of chance of death in an accident).

S-Guard

A special armored version of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been produced, known as the S-Guard. Special features include the capability to withstand military-grade small arms fire and certain explosive devices, a self-sealing fuel tank, and a special alarm system. For 2009, Mercedes-Benz launched a long-wheelbase version of the S-Guard, known as the Pullman Guard. This model is 45 inches longer than the standard model and also has a higher roof and taller rear window with a different rake.

The S-Guard is widely used at the diplomatic level to protect world leaders. Ninety governments worldwide are known to use the S-Guard for transport of government leaders and dignitaries. The S-Guard is built on a special production line at the S-Class facility in Sindelfingen
Sindelfingen
Sindelfingen is a German town near Stuttgart at the headwaters of the Schwippe that is the site of a Mercedes-Benz assembly plant.-History:* 1155 First documented mention of Sindelfingen...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, with specific S-Guard enhancements integrated at multiple stages throughout the production process.

Production

Most S-Class models, including the W221, are built at the Daimler AG plant in Sindelfingen
Sindelfingen
Sindelfingen is a German town near Stuttgart at the headwaters of the Schwippe that is the site of a Mercedes-Benz assembly plant.-History:* 1155 First documented mention of Sindelfingen...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and at the Mercedes-Benz-Valdez
Mercedes-Benz Mexico
Mercedes Benz Mexico S.A. de C.V. is a subsidiary of Daimler AG headquartered in Mexico City. It's commercial vehicle branches, Daimler Vehiculos Comerciales, S. de R.L. de C.V.; Freightliner Vehiculos Comerciales, S. de R.L. de C.V and International Vehiculos Comerciales, S. de R.L. de C.V. are...

 plant in Santiago Tianguistenco
Santiago Tianguistenco
Santiago Tianguistenco, often just simply called Tianguistenco, is a city and municipality located in Mexico State about thirty km south of the state capital of Toluca. It is located in the southwest part of the Valley of Toluca at the edge of the Ajusco mountain range that separates it from Mexico...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

. Founded by Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft
Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft
Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft was a German engine and later automobile manufacturer, in operation from 1890 until 1926. Founded by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, it was based first in Cannstatt...

 in 1915, the Sindelfingen plant also produced the model 600 "Grosser Mercedes" and past generations of the S-Class. Previous S-Class models (such as the W126) were built in different locations ranging from Stuttgart to South Africa, but with recent models (such as the W220) production has been concentrated in Sindelfingen and Santiago Tianguistenco. In February 2007, DaimlerChrysler Malaysia's plant in Pekan, Pahang began production of S350 (model W221) vehicles. In all, some 2.7 million S-Class vehicles have been produced in the past forty years.
  • W116: 473,035
  • W126: 818,036
  • W140: 406,532
  • W220: 485,000
  • W221: 85,900 ('06), 85,500 ('07), 90,600 ('08), 53,400 ('09), 66,500 ('10)

Sales


Awards

Notable examples of awards received by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class include the top ranking in the J.D. Power
J.D. Power and Associates
J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services firm founded in 1968 by James David Power III. The firm conducts surveys of customer satisfaction, product quality, and buyer behavior for industries ranging from cars to marketing and advertising firms. The firm is best known for...

 Sales Satisfaction Index from 1987 to 1990, seven time ranking as What Car?
What Car?
What Car? is a long-running UK monthly automobile magazine and website, currently edited by Steve Fowler and published by Haymarket Motoring. First published in 1973, it is intended primarily as a magazine for consumers rather than dedicated automobile enthusiasts...

"Best Luxury Car", and five times as Fleet News "Luxury Car of the Year". The S-Class was Wheels Magazine
Wheels magazine
Wheels is an Australian automotive magazine published monthly by ACP Magazines. The publication is well-renowned by Australian car enthusiasts...

Car of the Year for 1981 and 1999, U.S. Highway Loss Data Institute
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a U.S. non-profit organization funded by auto insurers, established in 1959 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. It works to reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes, and the rate of injuries and amount of property damage in the crashes that...

 "Safest Passenger Car of the Year" in 1988 and 1989, and European Car of the Year
European Car of the Year
The European Car of the Year award was established in 1964 by a collective of automobile magazines from different countries in Europe. The current organisers of the award are Auto , Autocar , Autopista , Autovisie , L'Automobile Magazine , Stern and Vi Bilägare .The voting jury consists of motoring...

 in 1974. The S-Class is also the first car ever (2005) to receive an environmental certificate from the German Commission on Technical Compliance (TÜV
Tuv
Tuv may refer to the following geographical locations:*Töv Province in Mongolia*Tuv in Hemsedal municipality, Buskerud, Norway*Tuv in Bodø municipality, Nordland, NorwayTUV may also refer to the following:*Tuvalu, a Pacific Island nation...

). Other awards range from Popular Science
Popular Science
Popular Science is an American monthly magazine founded in 1872 carrying articles for the general reader on science and technology subjects. Popular Science has won over 58 awards, including the ASME awards for its journalistic excellence in both 2003 and 2004...

Best of What's New - Grand Award 2005 to Top Gear
Top Gear (magazine)
Top Gear is an automobile magazine published by BBC Worldwide, and named after the BBC's Top Gear television show. It was first published in October 1993 and is published monthly at a price of £3.95. The major presenters of the television series—Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson—are...

magazine's "Limousine of the Year" for 2006.

External links

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