Mercedes-Benz-Blog TRIVIA: The History of the S-Class - PART I


Stuttgart, Germany, May 19, 2005

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class: Always impeccably dressed

People have always bought the Mercedes-Benz S-Class for its effortless and luxurious ride quality. Or for its outstanding safety features. Or for its pioneering technology. And they’re right, of course. But the S-Class offers much more besides.

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the ultimate reward for a lifestyle shaped by mobility, individuality, success and sophistication. You don’t simply decide to buy an S-Class: it comes to you when fate has ordained that your life should take that course. The door closes with a reassuring clunk and you have arrived. This is what makes the car and its predecessors unique among the world’s great sedans. And has done so for more than half a century.

When the W 220 model series was presented in 1998, Dr. Dieter Zetsche, the Daimler-Benz AG Board Member responsible for Sales at the time, said: “There can be no other vehicle with which Mercedes-Benz is more strongly identified than the S-Class. But for me its significance goes even further: The sum of its qualities makes it the point of orientation for the entire Mercedes-Benz brand.”

The S-Class story begins officially with the W 116, the series built from 1972 to 1980 and the first to be given the model designation that soon became symbolic of a genre. Not for nothing was the S-Class frequently referred to as the finest car in the world. But the history of the S-Class actually goes back much further.

The following models laid the foundations for the post-war tradition of the great Mercedes-Benz premium-class sedans:

- 220, 187 series (1951 to 1954)
- 220 a, 219, 220 S and 220 SE, 180/128 series (1954 to 1959)
- 220 b, 220 Sb, 220 SEb, 300 SE, 111/112 series (1959 to 1965)
- 250 S - 300 SE, 300 SEL - 300 SEL 6.3, 108/109 series (1965 to 1972)
- S-Class, 116 series (1972 to 1980)
- S-Class, 126 series (1979 to 1991)
- S-Class, 140 series (1991 to 1998)
- S-Class, 220 series (1998 to 2005)
- S-Class, 221 series (from 2005)

So where exactly is the S-Class positioned? Of course, it offers every luxury imaginable, the finest engineering and maximum safety. Differentiation treads a fine line in the upper spheres of automotive mobility, but perhaps it is best expressed like this: In the S-Class you are impeccably dressed for any occasion, while a representational limousine such as the 600 or the Maybach offers an additional degree of exclusivity. Whatever the customer’s preference, Mercedes-Benz can provide.

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