• The faces of the S-Class.

    Text: Dr. Thomas Giesefeld | Photos: Mike Meyer

223-series S-Class.

Only Mercedes-Benz could build such a vehicle: in the new 223-series S-Class, Mercedes-Benz presents impressive technological solutions and opens up wide horizons of innovation for the luxury class.

From the moment they step on board, passengers revel in the fine homage to luxury that oozes from every detail of its interior. This is so much more than the irresistibly comfortable “cuddly cushions” over the neck supports of the massage padding.

“Sensual clarity”: This is the name given to the design philosophy coined by Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG. The design shows the Mercedes-Benz S-Class of the new 223 series.

“Sensual clarity”: This is the name given to the design philosophy coined by Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG. The design shows the S-Class of the new 223 series.

An icon of automobile construction.

The special reputation that the S-Class enjoys around the world has long been based on the highest imaginable level of luxury, comfort and safety that the respective model series have always offered in their time. Glancing at our photo gallery is all the proof you need: the S-Class is an icon of automobile construction. And long before their iconic name was officially used, the predecessor models not only occupied the top spot on the podium of luxury-class mobility, but it went completely without saying that they already had the latest technological progress in automotive engineering thoroughly embedded. This applies to the Mercedes Simplex, the concept of which made the modern automobile possible at the beginning of the 20th century and whose innovations were pace-setters for ever more comfortable and safer operation in automobiles. 

Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of the Daimler Group.

Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of the Daimler Group.

The “S-Class” designation.

In the early days of the Mercedes-Benz brand, it was the Nürburg model with its solidity and reliability that cemented its reputation for excellence within the auto­motive luxury class. At the beginning of the 1950s, the Type 220 (W 187) marked the company’s return to this globally important market segment, its successor marking its entry into the new world of self-supporting, efficiently produced cars offering more space and visibility. The “Fintail” models, with their highly innovative safety bodywork, set lasting standards for safety in road traffic in the 1960s. The “S-Class” designation has been officially used by Mercedes-Benz since 1972 and distinguishes vehicles of the six- and eight-cylinder class from those of the rest of the passenger car range. The timelessly beautiful 250 S to 300 SEL 6.3 models in the years after 1965 also achieved this, even without the special designation.

From then on, there has been the choice between a Mercedes-Benz and an S-Class. It seemed like something from a whole new world to the 1970s streets. In its August 21, 1975 edition, renowned automobile magazine “auto motor und sport” (issue 21/1975) declared the top model as the “best car in the world”. The successor 126 series appeared in 1979/80 in the climate of massively shifting values. Priority was given to environmental and energy themes, and social prestige now found its expression in automotive understatement. The design, which Bruno Sacco was instrumental in creating, combined a cultivated elegance with the latest innovations in aerodynamics and lightweight construction, making this S-Class the flagship for luxury saloons of the decade. So much so that it retains to this day its acknowledged place in the classic scene. 

A new chapter.

In 1991, a new chapter in S-Class modernity began. To begin with, the 140 series was often a misunderstood, spacious vehicle on the market, consistently dispensing with all representative decorative elements yet highly functional. The S-Class, available with a wide range of powertrains, was an export success worldwide. The third S-Class to flow from Bruno Sacco’s pen, the 220 series in 1998, marked a departure from any rough edges and interpreted elegance as a restrained, friendly character trait. Trend-setting electronics enabled the height of safe, comfortable functionality. When the 221 series was introduced in 2005, Head of Design Peter Pfeiffer emphasised a clear, cool line and marked its enormous performance potential with a muscular-looking front and rear design. 

2005–2013, Mercedes-Benz series 221: The ACTIVE BODY CONTROL chassis has been further developed and refined to minimise all body roll movements. The Night View Assist bathes the road in infrared light, making it possible to detect dangers early on.

2005–2013, series 221: The ACTIVE BODY CONTROL chassis has been further developed and refined to minimise all body roll movements. The Night View Assist bathes the road in infrared light, making it possible to detect dangers early on.

A perfectly coordinated whole.

The skilful interplay of all the features of this S-Class was appreciated by passengers and drivers alike. 

A sphere of mobility was reached from 2013 onwards with the 222 series, the countless components of which formed a perfectly coordinated whole. Head of Design, Gorden Wagener, realised his stylistic concept of “sensual clarity”. Incidentally, the S-Class was now the first car in the world to be able to detect bumps in the road in advance. Our photo gallery reveals that the 2020 S-Class has some formidable expectations to live up to, expectations that were for the most part set by none other than its own predecessors. It has succeeded in the most intriguing way, and some of the stand-out points are indicated here.

2013–2020, Mercedes-Benz series 222: This S-Class is the world’s first vehicle to light the way ahead using only LEDs. The complete absence of light bulbs considerably reduces power consumption.

2013–2020, series 222: This S-Class is the world’s first vehicle to light the way ahead using only LEDs. The complete absence of light bulbs considerably reduces power consumption. 

Feeling, seeing, smelling, hearing.

All senses are individually stimulated. Active ambient lighting is also a useful support for the new, clearly presented driver assistance systems. The world’s first rear airbag available on both sides for a series-produced vehicle extends the protection for passengers in the long version. Preventive protection is provided by the chassis being raised within tenths of a second in the event of an imminent side impact. The rear-wheel steering is the epitome of operating comfort, as is the time-saving over-the-air software update covering up to 50 electronic components and the MBUX learning multimedia system. The new S-Class is expected to be able to drive highly autonomously in heavy traffic on suitable German motorway routes from mid-2021. A Mercedes-Maybach chauffeur saloon was unveiled in late 2020. There will also be a high-performance version from Mercedes-AMG.

2020, Mercedes-Benz series 223: Learning algorithms mean functions can react to the driver’s body language. It has rear-wheel steering.

2020, series 223: Learning algorithms mean functions can react to the driver’s body language. It has rear-wheel steering. 

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert Stromverbrauch im kombinierten Testzyklus

Product may vary after press date on 08.03.2021.

1 Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

4 Angaben zu Kraftstoffverbrauch, Stromverbrauch und CO₂-Emissionen sind vorläufig und wurden vom Technischen Dienst für das Zertifizierungsverfahren nach Maßgabe des WLTP-Prüfverfahrens ermittelt und in NEFZ-Werte korreliert. Eine EG-Typgenehmigung und Konformitätsbescheinigung mit amtlichen Werten liegen noch nicht vor. Abweichungen zwischen den Angaben und den amtlichen Werten sind möglich.

6 Stromverbrauch und Reichweite wurden auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Stromverbrauch und Reichweite sind abhängig von der Fahrzeugkonfiguration. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.