Press Kit: S-Class History
Stuttgart
May 11, 2009
Technical highlights of the S-Class and its predecessor series
The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has always been in the avant-garde of automotive technology. Over the years it has brought many innovations to market which subsequently found a widespread application. What follows is a brief overview of the distinctive design features found in the individual model series.
Mercedes-Benz 220, W 187 series (1951 to 1954)
  • Newly designed six-cylinder engine with overhead camshaft
  • Safety door lock to prevent doors bursting open
  • Duplex drum brakes at the front
Mercedes-Benz 220 a, 219, 220 S and 220 SE,
W 180/105/128 series (1954 to 1959)
  • Self-supporting chassis/body structure
  • Front axle subframe
  • Single-joint swing axle with a lowered pivot
  • Brake drums with “turbo cooling”
  • “Hydrak” hydraulic-automatic clutch (from 1959)
  • Mechanically-controlled petrol injection (220 SE, from 1958)
Mercedes-Benz 220 b 220 Sb, 220 SEb, 230 S, 300 SE, 300 SEL, W 111/112 series (1959 to 1968)
  • Safety passenger cell with crumple zones (front and rear)
  • Padded steering wheel
  • Wedge-pin door locks
  • Disk brakes (300 SE)
  • Three-point seat belts
  • Four-speed automatic transmission
  • Air suspension (300 SE)
  • Long-wheelbase version available (300 SE)
Mercedes-Benz 250 S – 300 SEL 6.3, W 108/109 series (1965 to 1972)
  • First independent premium-class model series
  • Patented safety steering system
  • Hydropneumatic balancer spring on the rear axle
  • Air suspension (300 SEL, 300 SEL 6.3
S-Class W 116 series (1972 to 1980)
  • Officially designated “S-Class” for the first time
  • Anti-lock brake system ABS from 1978
  • Largest post-war passenger car engine with 6.9-liter displacement in the 450 SEL 6.9
  • Double-wishbone front axle from the C 111 experimental vehicle
  • Fuel tank located above the rear axle for protection in case of collision
  • Safety design in the interior
  • First premium-class car with diesel engine (300 SD)
S-Class W 126 series (1979 to 1991)
  • New safety concept, first production car worldwide to meet the criteria of an offset crash
  • Driver’s airbag and seat belt tensioner from 1981
  • Front passenger airbag from 1985
  • Three-point seat belts for rear seats
  • Automatic locking differential
  • Acceleration skid control ASR
  • Drag coefficient of cd=0.36
  • Still the most successful Mercedes-Benz saloon in the prestige class
S-Class W 140 series (1991 to 1998)
  • Electronic Stability Program ESP® (S 420, S 500, S 600, from 1995)
  • Brake Assist BAS (from 1996)
  • Adaptive Damping System ADS
  • Soundproofed windows
  • Parameter steering with speed-sensitive steering moment
  • Seat belt system with automatic height adjustment
  • Sidebags
  • First Mercedes-Benz twelve-cylinder production engine in a passenger car, at the time the brand’s most powerful passenger car engine
  • Introduction of four-valve technology with adjustable intake camshaft for petrol engines
S-Class W 220 series (1998 to 2005)
  • Seat belt tensioners and belt force limiters in the rear
  • Automatic child seat recognition system
  • Window bags
  • PRE-SAFE® occupant protection system
  • DISTRONIC autonomous intelligent cruise control
  • Automatic cylinder shut-off
  • Co-efficient of drag rating = 0.27
  • KEYLESS-GO access system
  • Air suspension with electronically-controlled AIRMATIC damping system as standard
  • At the time world’s most powerful passenger car diesel engine in the S 400 CDI
  • 4MATIC all-wheel drive (from late 2002)
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