The Mercedes S Class got its start for the 1980 model year (1981 in the US) built off of the W126 chassis. Best known as the marque's largest sedan, the S Class holds a reputation for luxury and comfort worldwide. Primary engine configurations at the model's debut were the turbodiesel options (300 SD, 350 SD, and 350SDL), the inline six-cylinder (300 SE, 300 SEL), and the V8 (380 SE/SEL, 420 SEL, and 560 SEL). It was during the first generation of the model where Mercedes' reputation for top-class safety features first made their way to the forefront, as airbags and ABS brakes were made standard equipment. The inaugural generation of the Mercedes S Class was produced until 1990, when the W140 platform took over.
Second-generation versions of the Mercedes S Class showcased numerous changes, including the overall weight of the vehicle as well as the addition of new dual-pane windows. Four trim levels were made available ranging from the S320, which was outfitted with an inline six-cylinder engine good for 228 horsepower to the more dynamic S600 that displayed a V12 capable of almost four hundred horsepower. In between were the S420, which was equipped with a 275 hp V8, and the S500, whose V8 threw out 315 horsepower. Engines were mated to a four-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual. By the mid-1990s, the model received clear turn signals, new headlights, and several other updates to the exterior parts. Eventually, both Electronic Stability Control and a new air suspension were added, as well.
Moved to the W221 platform, the third generation of the Mercedes S Class was unveiled at the 2006 North American International Auto Show and released to US dealers later that year. Slightly larger and featuring updated engines along with a host of changes to S Class parts inside and out, the model was given a complete overhaul compared to the previous generation. Trims included the S350 (3.7L V6), S430 (4.3L V8), S500 (5.0L V8), and the S600, which boasted a twin-turbocharged 5.5L V12 rated at 493 horsepower and 590 pounds-per-foot of torque. For 2007, the powertrains were upgraded yet again. The S550 presented a 5.5L V8 which makes 382 horsepower and could be had with 4Matic all-wheel drive. The S63 AMG utilized a 6.2L V8 which produced 518 horsepower and 465 pounds-per-foot of torque. Once again, at the top of the list were two V12 variants. The S600 was given a twin-turbo V12 which pumped out a hefty 510 horsepower while the S65 AMG provided a whopping 604 horsepower along with 738 pounds-per-foot of torque.
The Mercedes S Class is the standard. A real-live hall of famer, this luxury icon boasts characteristics that are often imitated, but never equaled. Packing more power than basically any model in its category, the S Class performs with lightening-quick acceleration backed by solid Mercedes parts. It makes for a truly luxurious drive on the freeway or down a desolate country road-oozing elegance the entire trip. Each series of the S Class offers the most comfort imaginable, providing a heralded level of excitement to all who get to ride in this one-of-a-kind masterpiece as well as it welcomes to enhance it with stylish accessories.
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