The Mercedes-Benz S-Class tradition

  • Captivating in the sum of its qualities
  • World’s best-selling luxury vehicle
  • A unique tradition since the early days of the brand

Stuttgart – The S-Class from Mercedes-Benz has a long and rich tradition that stretches back to the early days of the Mercedes brand at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, every model has shaped the automotive developments of its time.

However, the reputation of the Mercedes-Benz brand for offering high-end vehicles with an emphasis on luxury, comfort and safety had been firmly established long before the S-Class was given its official designation.

This tradition follows the philosophy of a car that is always a reflection of the times. After all, with each new generation of its top-of-the-range vehicles, Mercedes-Benz has always provided convincing responses to the wishes and needs of each specific era.

In a phrase that sums up the importance of the model’s history right through to the present day, the S-Class and its predecessors are, and have always been, the epitome of the perfect car.

Captivating in the sum of its qualities

Thanks to the innovative technology, high level of comfort and ground-breaking safety systems in every generation, the flagship model from Mercedes-Benz is considered a pioneer of automotive engineering – and of the industry as a whole, as many technical features offered by Mercedes-Benz for the first time in a series production car with the S-Class were subsequently also adopted by other car manufacturers.

This pioneering role has been a constant throughout the company’s history and it is still an important aspect at Mercedes-Benz today. There is hardly any other vehicle with which Mercedes-Benz is identified more closely than the S-Class. Due to the sum of its characteristics, it is a benchmark for the entire Mercedes-Benz brand and is considered the best in its class throughout the industry.

The S-Class embodies the image of premium-class Mercedes-Benz vehicles: it is the automotive essence of a lifestyle characterised by the highest possible standards of mobility and individuality, and stands for the ultimate in success and good taste. Not for nothing has the S-Class been acclaimed again and again as the best car in the world.

The world’s best-selling luxury vehicle

Since 1951, when the production of luxury class saloons resumed for the first time since the end of the Second World War, Mercedes-Benz has sold more than 3.5 million high-end saloons. This makes the S-Class and its predecessors the most successful model series in this segment. The current model series 221 has continued the success story by selling more than 500,000 units since its market launch in autumn 2005.

A unique tradition stretching back to the early Mercedes days

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class looks back on a unique tradition. Since the early days of the Mercedes brand at the start of the 20th century, its model range has focused around premium-class vehicles. Mercedes-Benz dominated the high-end, luxury segment right from the start and helped to shape automotive developments in every era like no other marque.

From W 187 to ‘Ponton Mercedes’ (1951 to 1959)

The direct ancestral line of the S-Class begins in the post-war period with the type 220 (W 187) which marked the return of Mercedes-Benz to the luxury segment in 1951 – six years after the end of the Second World War and after the first phase of Germany’s reconstruction was complete. In 1954, this was followed by a completely new model with the same designation.

This new type 220, also known internally as the 220 a (W 180), was the first Mercedes-Benz six-cylinder model with a unitized body design. Its ultra-modern, spacious ‘ponton’ body offered previously unheard of  levels of comfort. With the launch of the overhauled and more powerful type 220 S in 1956, the ‘S’ designation became a permanent fixture in the names of high-end Mercedes-Benz models, underlining the special status of the ponton six-cylinder.

1958 saw the launch of the 220 SE (W 128), an even more powerful version of the flagship model thanks to fuel injection. As with the 300 d (W 189) luxury limousine introduced one year earlier, the vehicle’s performance and efficiency were enhanced by manifold injection.

From ‘fintail’ to high-performance saloon (1959 to 1972)

The ‘fintail’ models introduced in 1959 (220, 220 S and 220 SE (W 111)) earned their nickname from the understated tail fins that adorned the rear wing. Owing to their function as a parking aid, they were also officially known as ‘sight lines’.

The new high-end generation represented a very special milestone in automotive history, as this was the first time that the safety bodyshell with crumple zones devised by Béla Barényi had been used on a series production car.

The flagship model presented in 1961, the 300 SE (W 112), was fitted as standard with air suspension and the newly developed automatic transmission from Mercedes-Benz, and its longer version in 1963 started off a tradition in luxury class saloons by Mercedes-Benz: the wheelbase, which was now 10 centimetres longer, offered rear passengers significantly more legroom and comfort.

The 108 and 109 sedans, which replaced the 1965 ‘Fintail’, were characterised by a timelessly elegant design and large windows. In addition to the models fitted with conventional steel springs – referred to internally as the 108 series –, there was also an air-sprung variant of the model series 109, which was also available from the outset with a 10 cm longer wheelbase.

Special highlights included the 300 SEL 6.3 presented in 1968. The new top-of-the-range model in the series was fitted with the high-performance V8 engine from the high-end Mercedes-Benz 600 sedan. In addition to exceptional comfort and luxurious interior fittings, it also rivalled the performance of a sports car.

Model series 116 (1972 to 1980)

The name of the next-generation 116 launched in 1972 also reflected what had been on the agenda at Mercedes-Benz for decades: all luxury sedans with an ‘S’ in their model designation were now officially referred to as ‘S-Class’. The new designation went hand in hand with a whole bundle of innovations that set new standards in respect of safety and comfort.

The comprehensive safety concept included a collision-proof fuel tank, a four-spoke safety steering wheel, dirt-deflecting side windows, larger headlamps, distinctive turn signal lamps and dirt-deflecting ribbed rear lamps. 1977 saw the dawn of the diesel age in the premium class with the 300 SD, although this was initially just in the North American markets.

The luxury diesel was also the first series production car with a turbo-diesel engine. From 1978, the S-Class was the first series production vehicle to be fitted with ABS (anti-lock braking system), which ensured that the vehicle would respond fully to the driver’s steering action even in an emergency braking situation.

A global sensation, this ground-breaking innovation is now standard across all vehicle categories. The S-Class underlined its status as an automotive engineering benchmark and its model designation became a generic term for high-end vehicles.

Model series 126 (1979 to 1991)

The transfer of technology from the S-Class to other Mercedes-Benz model series and to competitor vehicles before becoming the generally accepted technology standard continued in the years that followed, turning the S-Class into a genuine trendsetter. The airbag, now a key component of automotive safety, made its debut in 1981, in the model series 126 which had been launched two years earlier.

Other features from this S-Class generation included the aerodynamically-enhanced shape and systematic weight reduction through the use of elements such as the new light-alloy V8 engines.

The model series 126 also set the trend in terms of its design: it was the first Mercedes-Benz passenger car to do away with the traditional chrome bumpers in favour of deformable plastic ones built to withstand a ‘parking dent’. Initially felt by some observers to be plain and tasteless, the design of the model series 126 soon came to be regarded as timeless and elegant.

Model series 140 (1991 to 1998)

The S-Class of the model series 140 represented the new superlative at Mercedes-Benz in 1991. Its developers were aiming for maximum comfort, not least due to the larger dimensions and double glazing for optimum acoustic insulation. The top models, 600 SE and 600 SEL, were the first series production cars at Mercedes-Benz to feature a V12 engine.

The entry model was the 300 SD turbo-diesel, which now brought luxury class to the diesel segment in the markets outside of North America too.

This generation of the S-Class also introduced a pioneering safety innovation to the world of automotive engineering: the ESP® Electronic Stability Program which was fitted as standard on the V12 versions and was available as an option on the V8 models from 1995 onwards. The following yearalso saw the addition of the BAS Brake Assist System.

Model series 220 (1998 to 2005)

After the model change in 1998, the appearance of the new S-Class (model series 220) was all about understatement. Weight saving and a further increase in safety and comfort were among the primary development goals.

Despite having to abandon weight-intensive features such as double glazing, the new model generation offered even greater comfort, not least due to the new electronically controlled AIRMATIC air suspension, COMAND control and display system, and innovative DISTRONIC proximity-controlled cruise control system.

Active Body Control (ABC), which was available from 1999, reduced body roll for an as yet unsurpassed level of driving dynamics. The interior design which, for the first time, had been developed in close conjunction with the exterior, created an inimitable ambience in the S-Class.

The first AMG model to officially make its way into the S-Class price list, the S 55 AMG appealed to customers with a passion for speed. Even the regular high-end model without the AMG sports badge, the S 600, had its performance boosted in autumn 2002, making it capable of reaching the magical 368 kW (500 hp) mark for the first time ever.

At the same time, the model series 220 saw the introduction of another ground-breaking innovation: the PRE-SAFE preventive occupant safety system.

This system enabled the vehicle to prepare occupants for an imminent collision by automatically initiating measures for their optimum protection. As part of the model refinement, the S-Class could now also be equipped with intelligent 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive for the first time.

Model series 221 (2005 to 2013)

The model generation 221 presented in 2005 combined an expressive exterior with a high-grade, luxury interior. The advanced COMAND system included a controller on the central tunnel for quick and intuitive operation of the increasingly complex functions and menus.

Other pioneering technical innovations included active Night View Assist, advanced DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control and Brake Assist Plus, which was upgraded to the PRE-SAFE brake with autonomous partial braking in 2006.

Further assistance systems such as Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Speed Limit Assist helped to further reduce the strain on the driver and brought the Mercedes-Benz S-Class one step closer to the vision of safe, accident-free driving.

This generation of the S-Class also set new standards in terms of improved physiological safety, which was demonstrated by comparing the heart rates of various drivers. In this respect, too, the S-Class proved that its extremely sound basis established over more than 40 years could still be improved upon.

The upgraded generation of the 221 series was launched in 2009. The S 400 HYBRID was the first luxury Mercedes-Benz model with a hybrid drive and the first series production car with a lithium-ion battery.

Other prime examples of efficiency were the S 350 BlueTEC model introduced in 2010 – a particularly clean diesel – and the S 350 and S 500 BlueEFFICIENCY featuring petrol engines that were extremely efficient, yet powerful thanks to direct fuel injection.

Finally, at the start of 2011, Mercedes-Benz introduced a highly efficient four-cylinder engine to the S-Class in the shape of the S 250 CDI. Its diesel powerplant delivered the consumption figures one would expect of a compact car, previously unachieved by a vehicle in the luxury class – without any compromise in terms of performance and comfort.

The roots of the S-Class

The unique tradition of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class did not begin with the type 220 (W 187) in 1951; its roots stretch right back to the very origins of the Mercedes brand at the start of the 20th century. An early, eye-catching example is the Mercedes-Simplex 60 PS launched in 1903.

The then top-of-the-range model is now one of the most spectacular exhibits in the Mercedes-Benz Classic collection. The elegant and luxurious touring sedan from 1904 was once owned by Emil Jellinek, a key protagonist in the early history of the Mercedes brand.

In the years to follow, the Mercedes and Benz sales ranges always included several high-end, luxury models. Even though open-top tourers were by far the most commonly-used body form during this period, the more powerful models were also offered as luxury sedans affording the ultimate in passenger comfort.

In the mid-1920s it was a different picture. Due to ever more powerful engines and increasing volumes of traffic, which the road-building programme was unable to keep up with, safe handling characteristics, a comfortable interior and optimum protection against wind, rain and dust were becoming more and more important. Saloons and Pullman saloons gradually began to replace the open-top tourers.

The important high-end, luxury models of this era were the six-cylinder compressor 15/70/100 PS and 24/100/140 PS, produced under the Mercedes marque at the end of 1924. In 1926, the merger of the two previously independent companies founded by Carl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler led to the creation of Daimler-Benz AG, which added the first Mercedes-Benz production car with an eight-cylinder engine, the Nürburg 460 (W 08), to its model range in 1928.

It remained in the sales programme – with continuous further development – until 1939. The last model was the type 500. From 1926 onwards, the entry-level vehicle in the Mercedes-Benz high-end range was the six-cylinder 12/55 PS, which was continually refined and developed through to the launch of the Mercedes-Benz Mannheim 370 (W 10) in 1931.

The completely new Mercedes-Benz 290 (W 18) followed in 1933, but went on to be replaced by the type 320 (W 142) in 1937.

High-end saloons

In addition to vehicles from the high-end, luxury segment, Mercedes-Benz has always offered cars that represent a major advancement. They not only meet the highest standards in terms of safety, comfort and style: due to their status as an absolutely top-of-the-range model, extremely luxurious ambience and particularly opulent and spacious interior, they are primarily tailored to meet the requirements of individuals who need to,  or have to, reflect their status in the choice of their vehicle, too.

In this category was the Mercedes-Benz ‘Super Mercedes’ launched in 1930, also known as the type 770. Powered by a large-displacement eight-cylinder engine with supercharging, this top-of-the-range Mercedes-Benz model was used as an automotive statement, primarily by crowned and uncrowned heads of state and high-ranking figures from the world of industry and finance.

The ‘Adenauer Mercedes’ (1951 to 1962)

After the Second World War, Mercedes-Benz once again dominated the luxury class automotive segment. The type 300 (W 186) made its debut in 1951 along with the type 220 at the first International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt am Main. When it was launched, the new flagship model from Mercedes-Benz was the fastest German production car with a top speed of 160 km/h.

The 300 was also the first official state vehicle produced in Germany after the war and therefore represents, like no other model, Germany’s return to the international stage. The German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was given one of the first examples of this model in December 1951 and, from then on, he would be driven around in nothing other than a type 300.

Consequently, the high-end model became popularly known as the ‘Adenauer Mercedes’. The type 300 was completely revised in 1957 and was given the internal designation 300 d (W 189). The ‘d’ stood for the fact that this was the fourth version (after the 300, 300 b, and 300 c).

The car’s higher engine output was thanks to fuel injection which, for the first time, was no longer direct fuel injection, but manifold injection. The longer wheelbase and larger body resulted in greater comfort, as did the optional electronic power steering and air conditioning – both of which were anything but commonplace at the time.

The air conditioning system, known back then as the ‘cooling system’, was available at an extra cost of DM 3,500 – about the same as it would have cost for an entire VW Beetle at the end of the 1950s.

The legendary type 600 (1963 to 1981)

One and a half years after the last 300 rolled off the production line in Sindelfingen in March 1963, a new top-of-the-range model from Mercedes-Benz made its debut at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt. The type 600 (W 100) was a superlative vehicle: its 6.3-litre V8 engine delivered an extremely respectable performance and a top speed in excess of 200 km/h.

Optimum ride comfort was ensured by air suspension, an automatic transmission manufactured in-house and electronic power steering. Unique hydraulic comfort features enabled adjustment of the front seats and rear bench, opening and closing of the doors, boot lid and optional sliding roof, and opening and closing of the side windows.

The five to six-seater version with a regular wheelbase of 3200 millimetres was predominantly ordered by highly discerning private customers. In addition, Mercedes-Benz also offered a seven to eight-seater version with a 70 cm longer wheelbase, which was primarily used as an official state or ceremonial limousine.

In June 1981, the last of a total of 2,677 examples of the legendary luxury saloon was produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen. It was driven straight to Untertürkheim, where it was given pride of place in the company’s vehicle collection.

Present and future

Over 20 years later, the company was once again dominating the high-end luxury saloon segment: with the Maybach 57 and Maybach 62 models, which were built in exclusive limited editions to the individual specifications of their discerning buyers at the Sindelfingen plant between 2002 and 2012.

From 2013 onwards, Mercedes-Benz will take its long-established tradition of building luxury, high-end vehicles into the future with the new S-Class (model series 222).

Highlights of the S-Class and its predecessors

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class and its predecessors have always stood for innovative automotive engineering. Over the years, they have continually brought new features to the market which have then found widespread acceptance. Here is a brief overview of the special features in each model series.

Mercedes-Simplex 60 PS (1903 to 1905)

  • State-of-the-art high-performance engine: large-displacement four-cylinder unit with overhead intake valves
  • Highly efficient honeycomb radiator
  • Longer wheelbase and low centre of gravity

Mercedes-Benz Nürburg, W 08 (1928 to 1933)

  • First Mercedes-Benz series production car with an eight-cylinder engine
  • Luxurious and spacious Pullman body
  • High-speed transmission system as special equipment (from 1931, in conjunction with increased cubic capacity)

Mercedes-Benz 770 ‘Super Mercedes’, W 07 and W 150 (1930 to 1943)

  • First Mercedes-Benz series production car with an 8-cylinder supercharged engine
  • Dual ignition system with two spark plugs per cylinder (high-voltage magneto ignition and battery ignition)
  • High-speed transmission system (five-speed manual transmission from 1938)
  • Oval tubular box frame (from 1938)
  • De Dion rear axle (from 1938)

Mercedes-Benz 320, W 142 (1937 to 1942)

  • Smooth-running six-cylinder engine
  • All-synchromesh four-speed transmission, with remote action gear from 1939
  • Wide range of bodies: sedan, Pullman sedan (with exterior case from 1939), streamlined sedan, several convertibles

Mercedes-Benz 300, W 186 and W 189 (1951 to 1962)

  • Cutting-edge six-cylinder engine with overhead camshaft
  • Manually-controlled intake manifold fuel injection (from 1957)
  • Safety tang lock to prevent the doors from bursting open
  • Electrically-operated torsion bar suspension to compensate the height of the rear wheels under heavy loads
  • Heating with blower(s) as standard
  • Air conditioning as special equipment (from 1958)
  • Power-assisted steering as special equipment (from 1958)

Mercedes-Benz 220, W 187 (1951 to 1954)

  • Cutting-edge six-cylinder engine with overhead camshaft
  • Safety tang lock to prevent the doors from bursting open
  • Heating with blower(s) as special equipment

Mercedes-Benz 220 a/220 S/220 SE, W 180/W 128 (1954 to 1959)

  • Integral body construction
  • Increased spaciousness and comfort due to modern ponton shape
  • Front suspension subframe
  • Single-joint swing axle with low centre of rotation
  • Brake drums with turbo cooler
  • Heating with blower(s) as standard, separately adjustable for driver and front passenger
  • Hydrak automated hydraulic clutch as special equipment (from 1957)
  • Manually-controlled intake manifold fuel injection (220 SE, from 1958)

Mercedes-Benz 220 b to 300 SE/300 SE long, W 111/W 112 (1959 to 1965)

  • Passenger safety cell with crumple zones (front and rear)
  • Padded steering wheel and interior appointments designed so as to reduce injury hazards in accidents
  • Wedge-pin door locks featuring two safety detents
  • Disk brakes (300 SE, from 1961)
  • Dual-circuit braking system (from 1963)
  • Four-speed automatic transmission (from 1961)
  • Air suspension (300 SE, from 1961)
  • Long version available (300 SE, from 1963)
  • Central locking as special equipment (300 SE long)

Mercedes-Benz 600, W 100 (1963 to 1981)

  • Powerful, large-displacement V8 engine
  • Four-speed automatic transmission
  • Dual-circuit braking system with disk brakes
  • Air suspension
  • Power-assisted steering
  • Central hydraulic system for seat adjustment, opening and closing doors, windows and luggage compartment
  • Electronically-controlled heating and ventilation system

Mercedes-Benz 250 S to 300 SEL 6.3, W 108/W 109 (1965 to 1972)

  • Safety steering system (from 1967)
  • Hydropneumatic compensating spring on rear axle
  • Air suspension (300 SEL, 300 SEL 6.3, 300 SEL 3.5)
  • Top-of-the-range 300 SEL 6.3 model with an output of 250 hp (184 kW), powerful V8 engine and sports car performance (from 1968)

Mercedes-Benz S-Class 116 model (1972 to 1980)

  • First official use of the ‘S-Class’ designation
  • Integral safety concept
    – four-spoke safety steering wheel
    – tank above rear axle to protect it from collisions
    – safety door handles
    – generously sized headlamps and turn signal lamps
    – dirt-deflecting taillights
    – dirt-deflecting side windows
  • ABS (anti-lock braking system) as special equipment (from 1978)
  • Cruise control as special equipment (from 1975)
  • Double wishbone front axle
  • Coupled-link axle with anti-squat control (450 SE, 450 SEL, 450 SEL 6.9)
  • Automatic transmission with torque converter as special equipment (standard on 450 SE, 450 SEL, 450 SEL 6.9)
  • Self-levelling hydropneumatic suspension (450 SEL 6.9, from 1975)
  • First luxury class sedan with a diesel engine, first series production passenger car with a turbo-diesel engine (300 SD, from 1978)

Mercedes-Benz S-Class 126 model (1979 to 1991)

  • Bodyshell with forked longitudinal member, first series production vehicle worldwide to meet the offset crash requirements
  • Lower drag coefficient of cd= 0.37
  • New V8 engines with light-alloy block
  • Closed-loop catalytic converter as special equipment (from 1985) or standard fitment (from 1986)
  • Electrically adjustable steering column as special equipment (from 1985)
  • Driver airbag and belt tensioner for front passenger as special equipment (from 1981)
  • Passenger-side air bag (from 1988)
  • Automatic locking differential as special equipment for the six-cylinder models (from 1985)
  • ASR (acceleration slip regulation) as special equipment for V8 models (from 1985)
  • The most successful high-end, luxury Mercedes-Benz sedan

Mercedes-Benz S-Class 140 model (1991 to 1998)

  • Petrol engines with four-valve technology and variably adjustable inlet camshafts
  • First Mercedes-Benz series production car with a twelve-cylinder engine, the brand’s most powerful passenger car engine up to that point (600 SE, 600 SEL)
  • Premium-class diesel 300 SD available for the first time on the world markets
  • Systematically designed for a high level of recyclability
  • Total avoidance of chlorofluorocarbons
  • Five-speed automatic transmission with electronic management (standard fitment for V8 and V12 models, from 1995)
  • Parameter steering with speed-dependent steering torque
  • Insulating double glazing on side windows for reduced noise
  • Automatic climate control with activated charcoal filter and CO/NOX sensors as standard equipment (S 600) or special equipment
  • Electrically folding exterior mirror
  • Closing assist for doors and boot lid as special equipment
  • Headlamps with variable-focus reflectors
  • Electronics linking via CAN-bus
  • Restraint system with automatic height adjustment
  • Side airbags for driver and front passenger (from 1996)
  • Adaptive damping system (ADS) as special equipment
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP® ) as standard equipment (S 600, from 1995) or special equipment (S 420, S 500, from 1995)
  • Brake Assist (BAS, from 1996)
  • PARKTRONIC electronic parking aid as standard equipment (S 600, from 1995) or special equipment (from 1995)
  • Auto Pilot System (APS) navigation system as special equipment (from 1995)
  • TELE-AID emergency call system as special equipment (from 1997)
  • LINGUATRONIC voice control system as special equipment (from 1996)
  • Xenon headlights with dynamic headlamp range control as special equipment (from 1996)

Mercedes-Benz S-Class 220 model (1998 to 2005)

  • Lightweight body with weight-reducing materials mix (high-tensile steel, light alloy, plastic)
  • Aluminium crash boxes in the front end and rear structure
  • Drag coefficient cd= 0.27
  • Automatic cylinder cut-out system as standard equipment (S 600) or special equipment (S 500)
  • Seven-speed 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission with electronic management (S 430, S 500, from 2004)
  • AIRMATIC air suspension with electronically controlled adaptive damping system ADS
  • Active Body Control ABC as special equipment (standard fitment on the S 600)
  • Additional turn signal lamps integrated into the wing mirrors
  • Auto on/off headlamps
  • COMAND control and display system with dynamic navigation system as special equipment
  • Window bags
  • Rear Side bags
  • Passenger-side air bag with two-stage gas generator
  • Rear belt tensioner and belt force limiter
  • Side windows with laminated glass
  • Multizone automatic climate control with solar-dependent settings for individual seats
  • Luxury seats with ventilation and dynamic multi-contour backrest as special equipment
  • DISTRONIC proximity control as special equipment
  • KEYLESS‑GO keyless access and drive authorisation system as special equipment
  • Bi-xenon headlights with dynamic headlamp range control as special equipment (from 2002, standard fitment on the S 600)
  • PRE‑SAFE® preventive occupant safety system (from 2002)
  • V8 diesel engine with light alloy block (S 400 CDI)
  • 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive as special equipment (S 430, S 500, from 2002)

Mercedes-Benz S-Class 221 model (2005 to 2013)

  • Drag coefficient cd= 0.26
  • First car with an environment certificate
  • Seven-speed 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission with electronic management and DIRECT SELECT steering column shift
  • Active Body Control ABC with crosswind stabilisation as special equipment (standard fitment on the S 600)
  • Adaptive brake light
  • Brake Assist Plus as special equipment
  • Advanced DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control (automatic braking to a standstill) as special equipment
  • PRE-SAFE brake with autonomous partial braking (from 2006) or autonomous emergency braking (from 2009) as special equipment
  • Advanced COMAND system with controller on the central tunnel
  • SPLITVIEW display as special equipment (from 2009)
  • Park Assist as special equipment
  • Panoramic tilting/sliding roof as special equipment
  • active Night View Assist as special equipment
  • Blind Spot Assist as special equipment (from 2007, active Blind Spot Assist from 2010)
  • Lane Keeping Assist as special equipment (from 2009, active Lane Keeping Assist from 2010)
  • Adaptive Highbeam Assist as special equipment (from 2009)
  • Speed Limit Assist as special equipment (from 2009)
  • First luxury class vehicle with a hybrid drive and lithium-ion battery (S 400 HYBRID, from 2009)

First S-Class with a four-cylinder engine (S 250 CDI, from 2010)

The S-Class and its predecessors in the international press

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class enjoyed great acclaim in the global media. Quotes from contemporary articles about all of the S-Class predecessors also help to give a flavour of each particular period in which they were driven.

The Mercedes-Simplex in the press

Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, issue 51-52/1902, on the Mercedes-Simplex at the Paris Motor Show:
“We have already reported that the French are calling this year’s motor show a ‘Mercedes salon’. The Mercedes models are certainly a key theme running through the great symphony of countless automotive creations, which vary to a greater or lesser extent in their sophistication.

The English have already added a new expression to their vocabulary that describes the transition from automotive values in a general sense to Daimler values: they talk very appropriately of a ‘Daimlerfication’.

The honeycomb radiator, which has partly influenced the lines of the vehicle and was virtually unheard of at the last show, has now become a model for most French manufacturers. On 12 December, the King of Belgium was one of the many visitors at the Paris Motor Show and, it must be added, a very knowledgeable one. He wanted to be shown around every stand and his tour also took him to the Mercedes car display.

His interest in this marque is an understandable one, as the king already drives a 40 HP Mercedes and recently ordered one of the very latest 60 HP models from Cannstatt. During his tour the king was introduced to the engineer Maybach, who happened to be there at the time, and a lively discussion ensued between the two about purely technical matters.

It was a sight to behold: the tall figure of the king and the shorter figure of Maybach. But, in actual fact, they were both kings: Leopold, King of Belgium, and Maybach, King of the Constructors. Maybach was certainly a key figure at the exhibition.”

Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, issue 3/1903, on the Mercedes models of 1903:
“Today, the Mercedes car is at the very pinnacle of the international automobile industry, a fact that not even the French competition can deny. […] We’ve already shown in our first reports from the motor show how far the desire to imitate has progressed.

There are certainly companies who wish to copy its shape, if not its mechanical workings. […] There has been a significant change to the Mercedes carburettor. […] The new carburettor is definitely smaller than the previous one and it should enable the engine’s revs to be reduced even further so that, when the engine is idling, you really can stand next to the vehicle and not hear a sound. […]”

Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung (AAZ), issue 28/1903, on the victory of the Mercedes-Simplex 60 PS at the Gordon Bennett race in 1903:
“Although people already knew that the 60 HP Mercedes was capable of reaching incredible speeds, they were also aware that it was still behind the French cars in terms of absolute speed.

However, speed alone was not the decisive factor on this circuit with its numerous curves and sharp angles. In terms of getting ahead quickly, the elasticity of the engine was much more important and, as we know, the Mercedes has this in abundance. The driver of the 60 HP model does not have to worry much about the gearstick when changing speed.

He can achieve the smoothest variations in speed simply by leaving the car in fourth gear and just shifting for gas intake and advanced ignition. In this way, the speed of the 60 HP machine can be increased from that of a trot to 120 km/h.” In the same issue, the AAZ also quoted the Nevus Wiener Tagblatt published around the same time: “The English and Americans were out on the track weeks before. They knew every milestone, every bend in the road and every tree. […]

The German competitors, on the other hand, turned up shortly before the race and didn’t know the circuit at all; they were relying on the quality of their cars instead. They were also the only ones who did not bring their vehicles to the starting line wrapped in cotton wool.

Instead, they drove the cars they intended to race from Cannstatt to Paris, and from Paris to Le Havre, before crossing the channel and continuing the journey – still under their own steam – through Wales to the Irish Sea. And then, with the same vehicles in which they had completed this arduous journey, they then went on in Ireland to beat everything that could be described as the quintessence of international automotive engineering … the Mercedes was designed by the ingenious Maybach; all glory and honour goes to him!”

The Mercedes-Benz Nürburg 460 and 500 (W 08/4, W 08) in the press

Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Vienna, issue 23/1928, on the Mercedes-Benz Nürburg 460:
“Given the basic traditional principle of Mercedes-Benz to only build high-quality cars to absolute perfection, it is no surprise that this vehicle was only launched once its design had been subjected to the most stringent of tests.

As a final trial by fire, the new model had to complete a continuous day and night run with driver changeovers on the most challenging test track in the world, the Nürburgring. The general assumption that a production car would be unable to do more than 10,000 km without a break on the Nürburgring was convincingly disproved by the new eight-cylinder model on the very first test run.

It completed 20,000 km over twelve days of driving with an average speed of over 64 km/h, and top speeds of up to 110 km, in superb form, setting a new record in reliability. Owing to this extraordinary achievement, the new eight-cylinder model was given the name ‘Nürburg’ (4.6 litre, 18/80 hp, 460 model).”

Auto Revue, issue 10/1929, on the Mercedes-Benz Nürburg 460:
“The feeling of pure pleasure and handling safety in this car is due to the careful weight distribution, which virtually eliminates the possibility of skidding. There was no sign at all of the driver tiring due to the weight of the vehicle.

The wide track, good suspension and easy, comfortable steering, as well as the absolute feeling of safety and control even at the highest speeds, mean that drivers suffer virtually no symptoms of fatigue even over longer distances.”

Motor und Sport, Germany, issue 37/1933, on the Mercedes-Benz Nürburg 500:
“This really is one of the most spacious seven seaters (wheelbase: 3.67 m), offering exceptional comfort and an unusually sophisticated interior. It has an extremely soft-sprung suspension and the engine and all drive components operate with no vibrations or noise. The refinement of the Sindelfingen bodies is perfectly in tune with the car’s technical supremacy. […] The ‘Nürburg’ is definitely a car that you can cover great distances in with remarkable ride comfort, and with which you can achieve high average speeds and safety levels due to the engine’s balanced performance and excellent transmission system.”

Mercedes-Benz 770 ‘Super Mercedes’ (W 07, W 150) in the press

Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung (AAZ), Germany, issue 38/1930, on the Mercedes-Benz 770 ‘Super Mercedes’ (W 07):
“This model once again puts German car manufacturing at the top of a special class that has, in fact, always been Germany’s domain since the beginning of automotive history – and one that is closely associated with the name of Mercedes-Benz. One may assume that those who believe that their specific requirements can only be met by the absolute pinnacle of achievement will now turn their attention to this model.”

Motor und Sport, Germany, issue 24/1932, on the Mercedes-Benz 770 ‘Super Mercedes’ (W 07):
“There are vehicles, some of which have been produced quite recently, that it would be foolish to drive at more than 70 km/h, but the Super Mercedes is certainly not one of them. Unlike well-known competitor models, the performance of the Super Mercedes at any speed is simply untouchable.

The car’s suspension may not be quite as sensitive as its American competitors, but the Super Mercedes promotes a committed driving style which ensures improved road holding. We know of no other vehicle that offers such safe driving with a heavy body at a breathtaking speed of 120 km/h.

And this is the ultimate purpose and raison d’être for this vehicle model. Despite its basic orthodox attitude, the Super Mercedes represents the crowning glory of Daimler-Benz production and the final step in achieving the highest level of automotive comfort with the resources currently available.”

The Motor, UK, issue 632 from 23 May 1939, on the Mercedes-Benz 770 ‘Super Mercedes’ (W 150):
“Normally a limousine of this size will not be driven in a spectacular manner. We did some fast travelling on winding roads and the general standard of handling and road holding is undoubtedly very good indeed.

The car holds its course admirably through fast bends, and the absolute rigidity of the tubular chassis is well reflected in the road holding. Although no ride control is employed, the suspension system provides a good combination of soft riding in town with steady cornering and freedom from excessive roll on the open road, and the whole car gives an impression of considerable stability.”

The Mercedes-Benz 320 (W 142) in the press:

Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung (AAZ), Germany, issue 33/1937, on the Mercedes-Benz 320:
“It is tempting, with this automobile, to talk more about the very palpable creature comforts that its occupants experience rather than about its technical features.

This is mainly because the inner workings of the car hum away so inconspicuously in the background that one could easily forget the amount of high-quality work in terms of design and engineering that is required for such an achievement. […]

The engine is a paragon of quietness, elasticity and silky operation; the unswerving smoothness of the ride is even retained when the driver vents his nervousness by putting his foot down. […] The general appointments of this automobile meet the highest standards. The seats leave nothing to be desired when it comes to comfort and convenience.”

Automobil Revue, Germany, issue 2/1938, on the Mercedes-Benz 320:
“The Daimler-Benz company’s Sindelfingen body ranks as one of the greatest achievements in international vehicle construction and represents the finest German workmanship in tandem with exquisite good taste.

Its outward beauty and elegance go hand in hand with the highest possible level of convenience inside, with the most comfortable of rides and with the unwavering quality principle in all things large and small that contribute to the overall picture of this exemplary vehicle.”

The Autocar, UK, on the Mercedes-Benz 320 in its issue dated 18 February 1938:
“The road behaviour is refined as regards smoothness and quietness of the engine, and very comfortable riding is given also, this car shows up well from two opposed viewpoints in that it is quiet, flexible and smooth to the degree of silkiness for town and leisurely driving, yet notably free from effort at maintained high speed. […]

The interior is very well finished, and leather upholstery is used, whilst in external appearance this car is undeniably distinctive and handsome.”

The Mercedes-Benz 300 (W 186) in the press

Automobil Revue, Switzerland, issue 25/1952, on the Mercedes-Benz 300:
“From time to time a few automobile factories succeed in developing and producing a vehicle that is highly regarded both by the owners and the experts and by the general public and that, as a whole, will go down as a milestone in the history of automotive engineering. The new Mercedes-Benz 300 will assume its place in this exclusive series of automobiles.”

Das Auto, Motor und Sport, Germany, issue 11/1952, on the Mercedes-Benz 300:
“The engine performs fantastically. It’s not just its power and output – its elasticity, its refinement and its smoothness are delightful too. It is every bit the equal of the American throttle engines where the latter properties are concerned.

Finally we want express how pleased we are that the Mercedes 300 also marks the German car industry’s return to the world market with a top product. In Untertürkheim they can be rightly proud of the fact that in building the MB 300 they have succeeded right away in creating a truly top-grade specimen.”

The Autocar, UK, issue 23 May 1952, on the Mercedes-Benz 300:
“There are very few saloon cars which are capable of a mean speed of over 100 m.p.h., but to obtain this result on a five-six-seater saloon car with generous room for passengers and luggage, using an engine of three-litre capacity said to deliver only 114 b.h.p. is a notable achievement.

The suspension and handling qualities offer a combination of a riding comfort, stability and safety which reaches the pinnacle of a current achievement. The ride is soft enough for the most fastidious passenger, but is very damped, and there is no sensation of roll, even when travelling really fast over winding roads.

There is no noticeable tendency to understeer or oversteer; if forced to the limit, the rear end will begin to slide, but in a way which is instantly controllable by a flick of the wheel. The Type 300 of Mercedes-Benz is clearly a very strong competitor for the favour of the most discerning international buyers, to whom it will appeal because of its performance, detail finish and equipment. It maintains a high general level of excellence.”

The Mercedes-Benz 220 (W 187) in the press

Das Auto, Motor und Sport, Germany, issue 23/1951, on the Mercedes-Benz 220:
“For the first time the 220 has combined within the shell of a relatively fuel-efficient vehicle above-average ride safety, sports car temperament and the comfort and solid respectability of a luxury car.”

Motor-Rundschau, Germany, issue 22/1951, on the Mercedes-Benz 220:
“The Mercedes-Benz 220 is – following the wishes of many Mercedes enthusiasts – in essence the 170 S, but with a 2.2-litre six-cylinder 80 hp high-performance engine that, in combination with the automobile’s supreme handling, enables top average speeds to be safely reached regardless of the load, even in the mountains.

It is a touring vehicle with the temperament of a sports car. The road holding is so reliable and drive so quiet that speeds of well over 100 km/h on the autobahn don’t seem particularly fast.”

ADAC-Motorwelt, Germany, November 1951, on the Mercedes-Benz 220:
“Viewed as a whole, not only are the handling characteristics of the 220 well above average, but we would venture to suggest that there can be few vehicle models in the entire world that boast such perfect handling qualities as this car.”

Automobil Revue, Switzerland, issue 5/1952, on the Mercedes-Benz 220:
“There is without doubt more to it than meets the eye. Its owners have at their disposal a fast, safe, comfortable and economical vehicle, the sum of whose qualities can be matched by very few touring cars in the same class and beaten only by more expensive ones.”

The ‘Ponton’ six-cylinder models (W 180/W 128) in the press

Das Auto, Motor und Sport, Germany, issue 19/1954, on the Mercedes-Benz 220 a:
“One of the most distinctive features of this car is its absolute handling safety even at high speeds. Even on the poorest roads it does not, even for a moment, consider departing its lane, and it takes even the trickiest of corners in its stride, without requiring any particular steering corrections and without any perceptible lateral inclination.

[…] In addition to its elasticity, the engine of the 220 is remarkable for its exemplary balance and smooth running, only when idling is a slight vibration detectable.”

Motor Rundschau, Germany, issue 21/1954, on the Mercedes-Benz 220 a:
“The Mercedes-Benz 220 model is a first-class product of European automotive construction. Although we use superlatives very carefully, they cannot be avoided here, and in particular when being used to describe the now so advanced high-performance engine with its smooth temperament […].”

Automobil Revue, Switzerland, issue 9/1955, on the Mercedes-Benz 220 a:
“The 220 a model has become a first-class European automobile of exceptional character and is an embodiment both of general and of technological progress. But even for the sober observer, it offers – while maintaining a level of quality no longer considered standard today – a rare combination of a lavish interior and appointments, low-key exterior dimensions, outstanding handling safety and comfort suspension, exterior beauty and economical operation.

Making the acquaintance of the 220 a has increased our respect yet further for the capabilities of its world-famous creator, not least because of its thoroughly reasonable price.”

Das Auto, Motor und Sport, Germany, issue 4/1959, on the Mercedes-Benz 220 SE:
“This 1400 kg car (with full tank and radio) is so responsive to the accelerator pedal that it is no exaggeration here to talk of it setting new standards – at least as far as any reputable conventional car is concerned.

With the typical quiet engine characteristics associated only with six cylinders or more, we experienced the sort of driving culture one normally only enjoys in truly large-displacement vehicles.”

The ‘tail fin’ six-cylinder models (W 111/W 112) in the press

Autocar, UK, 6 November 1959, on the Mercedes-Benz 220 SE:
“In summary the 220 SE has outstanding road manners, undoubtedly allied to the firm’s long experience in racing. In addition, it permits the achievement of high and sustained cruising speeds with very good economy. The interior is planned to carry five people and their luggage over long distances, in a manner matched by few other cars, irrespective of their country of origin.”

Sports Cars, UK, December 1959, on the Mercedes-Benz 220 S and 220 SE:
“‘Fabelhaft’ is the German word for fabulous and this about sums up the new 220 Mercedes. It sets a new standard for the industry, a standard that few manufacturers will be able to equal.”

auto, motor und sport, Germany, issue 19/1963, on the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE:
“The 300 SE also operates as a kind of signboard for the Daimler-Benz car range, combining in one vehicle every design refinement available: air suspension, automatic transmission, power steering. […] There are few cars in the world in which one can travel in such comfort and safety as in the 300 SE.”

The Mercedes-Benz 600 (W 100) in the press

Motor Revue, Germany, issue 3/1965, on the Mercedes-Benz 600:  “The ride comfort undoubtedly represents the pinnacle of everything achieved in automotive technology to date.” The magazine also wrote the following about the handling safety: “The over-used word ‘adhesion’ is entirely appropriate here, for the handling is completely neutral and remains so during fast cornering – up to a stage when at the rear there is perhaps somewhat less lateral stability than at the front, so that a slight decline in the wonderfully direct and sensitive steering allows safe control of the vehicle.

But this is definitely not the norm. One can drive the 600 like a sports car on mountain passes without experiencing such phenomena – a well-driven sports car will then have trouble keeping up.”

auto, motor und sport, issue 23/1966, using subtly understated irony to sum up the Mercedes-Benz 600:
“That one can – even when assessing cars – use such a vehicle as a point of orientation is a ray of hope in view of the general trend towards mediocrity. It is by no means exaggerated to expect from all cars as much comfort and operability as the 600 offers. They can probably never be too good, because even the 600 is, as we discovered following three weeks of everyday use, just about good enough.”

The model series W 108/W 109 in the press

auto, motor und sport, Germany, issue 2/1966, on the Mercedes-Benz 250 SE:
“The ease, quietness and gentleness when driving, the handling safety at high speeds and on cornering, the outstanding interior equipment, the attention to quality and design paid even to secondary details speak for themselves and rank the 250 SE well up with the world’s best cars.”

auto, motor und sport, Germany, issue 6/1968, on the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3:
“We took delivery of one of the closely guarded first examples, a vehicle not yet even fitted with the ‘6.3’ designation. The lack of model badge seemed to cause confusion to many a Porsche 911 and 911 S driver, normally accustomed to being kings of the autobahn and who now suddenly found themselves being left looking flat-footed by the distinguished and relatively harmless-looking Mercedes.

Should any of them be reading this, we would wish to point out that they have no cause to return their vehicles to the factory on account of deficient performance.”

The S-Class model series 116 in the press

auto, motor und sport, Germany, issue 2/1973, on the Mercedes-Benz 350 SE:
“The pleasure of driving a Mercedes 350 SE is sadly an expensive one and affordable only by a minority.

This is regrettable, because for the considerable financial outlay one gets not only prestige and a status symbol, but also more importantly a wealth of benefits that one would wish for in any car: a high degree of active safety and crashworthiness, perfected body design, outstanding comfort, large reserves of energy, effortless driving and exemplary craftsmanship.

And all these highly desirable features come together to form an overall image in which one thing stands out above all – that this is one of the world’s most perfect cars.”

Car, UK, June 1975, on the Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9:
“A car of such speed and weight must have demonstrably good roadholding and handling, and this one is no disappointment in anything from a hairpin to a three-figure-bend: the suspension soaks up the bumps, the transmission is wonderfully smooth and admirably easy to control (either by a sensitive accelerator foot or a hasty hand at the lever), and the steering is servo-assisted in a way that highlights the nearly neutral responses of the vehicle.”

Automobil Revue, Switzerland, 15 May 1975, on the Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9:
“It is a real joy, given the present climate, to witness the launch of a car that offers the connoisseur the utmost in driving pleasure – and at any speed. The 6.9 is testimony not only to the optimistic outlook of those responsible for its design, but also to their having the courage of their convictions.”

The S-Class model series 126 in the press

auto, motor und sport, Germany, issue 22/1979, on the S-Class model series 126:
“On driving you quickly realise that at Daimler-Benz, quietness is part of civic responsibility. Any mechanical noise – even with the six-cylinders – remains discreetly in the background. Moreover, it is nothing short of remarkable to note just how thoroughly the Mercedes developers have managed to eliminate wind noise.”

Road & Track, USA, February 1980, on the S-Class model series 126: “Hurrying back through the woods over a rather bumpy stretch of road, I was reminded of how well a Mercedes rides and handles. A live-axle car could be made to do the latter, but not without scrambling your brains. The W 126 does a marvelous job at both tasks and stops quickly too.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany, 24 May 1986, on the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE:
“The 300 SE holds its line like a ship on a fixed course. Any unevenness in the road surface is swallowed with ease by the springs and dampers.

No other car achieves such a degree of comfort out of steel and rubber. The large steering wheel allows you to corner with caution as well as with joyful abandon. It does everything you want. The running gear reveals unusually high reserves of safety.”

The S-Class 140 series in the press

auto, motor und sport, Germany, issue 7/1991, on the Mercedes-Benz 600 SEL:
“With dimensions such as these, there is little to be said about the interior: the sense of space is almost wasteful, even more so in the rear than in the front, since the opulent height in the rear gives the impression of riding in a mobile living room.

[…] It would not be wrong here to describe this as the world’s finest car – any less would be to do Mercedes an injustice.”

auto, motor und sport, Germany, issue 12/1991, on the Mercedes-Benz 300 SE:
“The size and weight of the new S-Class has become almost a political issue. But in truth, on driving, these factors are less noticeable than one might expect. On the contrary, it is surprising how light and easy this mighty automobile is to drive even along narrow and winding country roads.”

Road & Track, USA, December 1991, on the Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL:
“At a 70-mph cruise, the 500 SEL has the honor of being the quietest car we have ever tested – a mere 64 dBA. Helping in the serenity department is double-pane side glass, with dehumidified air sealed between the panes. It’s said to prevent fogging as well as absorb noise, and no, Mercedes assures us, it isn’t bulletproof, a question some ask when they see its thickness.”

mot, Germany, issue 13/1991, on the Mercedes-Benz 400 SEL:
“With the new S-Class Mercedes once again demonstrates its claim to have invented the automobile and to have built the world’s best car. When applied to the 400 SEL, one is forced to admit the claim is justified.”

The S-Class 220 series in the press

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany, 13 October 1998, on the S-Class model series 220:
“The saloons create a thoroughly imposing presence, despite being lighter and slightly smaller in dimension, and they display an agility and manoeuvrability we have never before seen in this class of car. At the same time, there is a precision of wheel location and responsiveness of steering that one would otherwise normally only associate with serious compromises to ride comfort.

The air suspension that comes as standard in all variants seems to turn the Mercedes saloon into a flying carpet that can recognise turbulence almost before it occurs. Every S-Class should have that once popular sign in the rear window: Beware – boss driving!”

auto, motor und sport, Germany, issue 25/1998, on the Mercedes-Benz S 320:
“Airmatic and ADS are also part of the package that gives the large saloon such manageable and nimble handling characteristics without unstable body movements. It is supported by precise speed-sensitive parameter steering, which allows the two-tonne saloon to be steered like a compact car.”

Road & Track, USA, January 1999, on the Mercedes-Benz S 500:
“In the meantime [until the S 600 arrives], the S 500 is quite a worthy flagship: quick, quiet, stable and yet commendably nimble. Whereas the previous S‑Class miraculously shrank the faster it was driven, in a sense this new one is already pre-shrunk; its excellent chassis dynamics evident at any speed, its comfort undiminished from that of the car it replaces.”

Auto Zeitung, Germany, issue 4/2003, in a comparison test between Mercedes-Benz S 600 and BMW 760 Li:
“It’s hard to believe that such an engine might meet its match. But the turbocharged Mercedes V12 puts the BMW unit in the shade. The sheer power of its 800 newton metres and 500 hp facilitates even better driving performance at low engine speeds without compromising its smooth running characteristics.

Two turbochargers produce such enormous thrust that the 5-speed automatic transmission seldom needs to change the gear ratio even at very high speeds. This V12 is nothing short of sensational.”

The S-Class model series 221 in the press

Autorevue, Austria, November 2005, on the Mercedes-Benz S 500:
“A lightweight design, four instead of three valves per cylinder and infinitely adjustable shifting camshafts team up [in the V8 engine] to produce 530 Newton metres of maximum torque; it takes just under six seconds, aided by the precisely timed seven-speed automatic transmission, for the speedometer needle to whizz past the 130 km mark; 100 km is passed by in 5.4 seconds – a 911 Carrera is only four tenths of a second faster – but despite all this, everything is quiet, orderly and unruffled: the air suspension masterfully smoothes out all the rough of edges of the road, shrugging off the centrifugal forces either in total serenity (Comfort mode) or with a little extra feeling (Sports mode, minus 20 millimetre spring travel).”

auto, motor und sport, issue 3/2009, on the Mercedes-Benz S 600:
“They [well-balanced handling characteristics] match the casual manner in which an S 600 releases its 830 Newton metres of torque.

A distant snarl accompanies the car into the overtaking lane, so quiet the driver can hear the sound of the wind and the ‘breathing’ of the active multicontour seats: in the meantime, the car explodes out of the blocks to reach 100 in 4.5 seconds and takes all of 15.1 seconds to reach the 200 mark.”

Road & Track, USA, March 2009, on the Mercedes-Benz S 400 Hybrid:
“Here in the U.K. and Europe, diesels are our favored means of extracting the maximum economy from cars, but hybrids such as this one are valid where diesel isn’t available or liked. Furthermore, this is just the first of a series of hybrids that we’ll see coming from the company that revolutionized personal transport way back in the 19th century.”

auto, motor und sport, Germany, issue 12/2011, on the Mercedes-Benz S 250 CDI:
“The new S 250 CDI really is turning the world of luxury cars on its head. No other car is able to get you from A to B with such a high degree of comfort but with such low energy consumption as this Mercedes.

And the buyer doesn’t have to make any of those hard-to-swallow concessions in the driving experience, because the double supercharged four-cylinder engine provides more than enough power and the quietness of its operation is close to perfect.”


Did you know …?

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the star of the Classic Calendar 2013. Its title: ‘Tribute to Art and Craft: Mercedes-Benz meets Mimmo Rotella’. Twelve unique images featuring historical S-Classes in a new production by Monty Shadow. Available from October 2012 at


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