Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W220)
|Production||August 13, 1998 – July 20, 2005|
|Designer||Steve Mattin, Bruno Sacco  (1995)|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Full-size luxury car (F)|
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Layout||Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive|
2.8 L 201 hp (150 kW) V6|
3.2 L 221 hp (165 kW) V6
3.2 L 194 hp (145 kW) I6 Diesel
3.2 L 201 hp (150 kW) I6 Diesel
3.7 L 242 hp (180 kW) V6
4.0 L 247 hp (184 kW) V8 Diesel
4.0 L 256 hp (191 kW) V8 Diesel
4.3 L 275 hp (205 kW) V8
5.0 L 302 hp (225 kW) V8
5.4 L 355 hp (265 kW) V8
5.4 L 493 hp (368 kW) AMG V8
5.8 L 362 hp (270 kW) V12
6.3 L 438 hp (327 kW) V12
5.5 L 493 hp (368 kW) V12
6.0 L 604 hp (450 kW) AMG V12
116.7 in (2,964 mm) (SWB)|
121.5 in (3086 mm) (LWB)
198.5 in (5,042 mm) (SWB)|
203.1 in (5158 mm) (LWB)
203.3 in (5,164 mm) (LWB, 2004-06)
73.1 in (1855 mm)|
73.0 in (1855 mm) (2004-06)
56.9 in (1444 mm) (2000-01 & 2004-06)|
57.2 in (1,453 mm) (2002-03)
57 in (1,448 mm) (LWB, 2004-06)
- For a complete overview of all S-Class models see Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
The Mercedes-Benz W220 was a series of flagship sedans which constituted the Mercedes-Benz S-Class during the early to mid-2000s. Development for the W220 S-Class started in 1992, with the final design, helmed by Steve Mattin being approved in June 1995 at 38 months ahead of production start and completed design freeze in March 1996, at 29 months before the start of production in August 1998. The completed prototypes were presented in June 1998. The W220 started production in August 13, 1998, and the C215 CL-Class coupés started production in 1999. The W220 was a replacement for the earlier W140 S-Class after the 1998 model year. Compared to its predecessor, the W220 had somewhat smaller exterior dimensions but offered more interior space, particularly in the long-wheelbase versions (although the trunk is smaller than on its W140 predecessor). Production of the W220 totalled 485,000 units, slightly more than the production totals from the W140. Production ended in 2006, when the W220 was replaced by the W221 S-Class and the C215 was replaced in 2006 by the C216 CL-Class.
In many European countries, the diesel S320 CDI version became the most popular model, making it the first S-Class in which a diesel engine achieved broad appeal. Other engine options were various gas/petrol V-6 engines, V-8, and V-12 engines. There were long and short wheelbase versions, performance and luxury enhancement options, and also four-wheel drive versions.
- 1 Styling
- 2 Models
- 3 Specific versions
- 4 Features
- 5 Integrated car phone systems
- 6 Engines
- 7 Transmission
- 8 AIRmatic system & ABC & Suspension
- 9 Certificates and reports
- 10 Recalls
- 11 Maintenance/design features
- 12 Performance
- 13 Aftermarket and tuner
- 14 Related vehicles
- 15 See also
- 16 References
- 17 External links
Steve Mattin's design was the first sketch drawn in October 1992 and developed into 1:1 scale by late 1994. In June of 1995, the Daimler-Benz AG board of management approved Mattin's final design at 38 months before production. By March 1996, W220 program engineers completed the design freeze, 29 months before production start in August 1998. The W220 exterior design (especially headlights) was previewed by the Mercedes-Benz F200 concept in late 1996. Being a Mercedes flagship vehicle worldwide, the S-Class largely popularized the theme. It demonstrated a significantly different stylistic mindset, with both exterior lines and an interior design that expressed elegance and modernity. This can be seen as a response to criticism on its W140 predecessor, which had a more boxy look.
Despite being smaller, the new car was roomier inside while the dashboard carried over the new styling details first seen in the first generation A-Class from the year before.
A facelifted version of the S-Class was designed in late 2000 and introduced in September 2002, offering a more aerodynamic front-end and redesigned taillights, though the exterior style remained largely unchanged from the previous W220 models. Although the facelift only made minor changes to the exterior, it addressed several of the issues in the COMAND system and other interior features. Exterior updates included a more upright grille angle, new transparent housing for the headlamps (replacing the earlier translucent versions), and restyled lower air intakes on the front bumper.
The S600 series has a "V12" badge affixed to either side of the car, just forward of the front doors and back from the wheel wells.
The first W220 S-Class rolled off the assembly line on August 13, 1998.
|Chassis code||Years||Model||Engine||Fuel consumption|
|W220.063||1998–2006||S280 sedan||2.8L V6 M112 E28||11.5 L/100 km (24.6 mpg‑imp; 20.5 mpg‑US)|
|W220.163||1998–2006||S280 L sedan||2.8L V6 M112 E28|
|W220.065||1998–2006||S320 sedan||3.2L V6 M112 E32||11.5 L/100 km (24.6 mpg‑imp; 20.5 mpg‑US)|
|W220.165||1998–2006||S320 L sedan||3.2L V6 M112 E32|
|W220.067||2003–2006||S350 sedan||3.7L V6 M112 E37||11.9 L/100 km (23.7 mpg‑imp; 19.8 mpg‑US)|
|W220.087||2003–2006||S350 4Matic sedan||3.7L V6 M112 E37|
|W220.167||2003–2006||S350 L sedan||3.7L V6 M112 E37|
|W220.187||2003–2006||S350 L 4Matic sedan||3.7L V6 M112 E37|
|W220.070||1998–2006||S430 sedan||4.3L V8 M113 E43||12.5 L/100 km (22.6 mpg‑imp; 18.8 mpg‑US)|
|W220.083||2002–2006||S430 4Matic sedan||4.3L V8 M113 E43|
|W220.170||1998–2006||S430 L sedan||4.3L V8 M113 E43|
|W220.183||2002–2006||S430 L 4Matic sedan||4.3L V8 M113 E43|
|W220.075||1998–2006||S500 sedan||5.0L V8 M113 E50||12.9 L/100 km (21.9 mpg‑imp; 18.2 mpg‑US)|
|W220.084||2002–2006||S500 4Matic sedan||5.0L V8 M113 E50|
|W220.175||1998–2006||S500 L sedan||5.0L V8 M113 E50||12.9 L/100 km (21.9 mpg‑imp; 18.2 mpg‑US)|
|W220.184||2002–2006||S500 L 4Matic sedan||5.0L V8 M113 E50|
|W220.178||1998–2002||S600 L sedan||5.8L V12 M137||13.5 L/100 km (20.9 mpg‑imp; 17.4 mpg‑US)|
|W220.176||2003–2006||S600 L sedan||5.5L twin-turbocharged V12 M275||14.8 L/100 km (19.1 mpg‑imp; 15.9 mpg‑US)|
|W220.073||2000–2001||S55 AMG sedan||5.4L V8 M113 E55||13.0 L/100 km (21.7 mpg‑imp; 18.1 mpg‑US)|
|W220.173||2000–2001||S55 L AMG sedan||5.4L V8 M113 E55|
|W220.074||2002–2006||S55 AMG sedan||5.4L supercharged V8 M113 ML55||13.2 L/100 km (21.4 mpg‑imp; 17.8 mpg‑US)|
|W220.174||2002–2006||S55 L AMG sedan||5.4L supercharged V8 M113 ML55|
|W220.179||2005–2006||S65 AMG sedan||6.0L twin-turbocharged V12 M275 AMG||14.9 L/100 km (19.0 mpg‑imp; 15.8 mpg‑US)|
|W220.026||2000–2002||S320 CDI||3.2L Common rail turbo diesel I6 OM613||7.8 L/100 km (36.2 mpg‑imp; 30.2 mpg‑US)|
|W220.126||2000–2002||S320 L CDI||3.2L Common rail turbo diesel I6 OM613|
|W220.025||2003–2006||S320 CDI||3.2L Common rail turbo diesel I6 OM648||7.7 L/100 km (36.7 mpg‑imp; 30.5 mpg‑US)|
|W220.125||2003–2006||S320 L CDI||3.2L Common rail turbo diesel I6 OM648|
|W220.028||2000–2006||S400 CDI||4.0L Common rail turbo diesel V8 OM628||9.6 L/100 km (29.4 mpg‑imp; 24.5 mpg‑US)|
|W220.128||2000–2006||S400 L CDI||4.0L Common rail turbo diesel V8 OM628|
European Sales (for all versions of S-Class):
North American models
Approximate selection of US models. In the USA, model years for the W220 were 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 (only some versions). Not all versions were available in all model years.
- S350 (in the US this was available in 2006 only; had 3.7L V6 and 5-speed Automatic transmission) 
- S600 (naturally-aspirated or twin-turbo V12)
- S55 AMG (naturally-aspirated or supercharged V8)
- S65 AMG (604 hp twin-turbo V12)
Some models had options for Sport package, Designo, and/or 4matic.
In the United States the, W220 was introduced for the 2000 model year, the W140 until 1999. The type was noted as being the leader in the U.S. car market for luxury cars, and early reviews were mostly positive but noted the amount of money that could be spent on options. At the time, the US was the second biggest buyer of S-Classes, after Germany. In 1999, Mercedes-Benz sold 189,437 and hoped to exceed that the next year. One automotive magazine spent several thousands on options for their review of the 2001 S-Class. After choosing an S500, they added Distronic (a smart cruise control system), Active Ventilated Seats, the "Timeport" phone with a voice control system, and the sport package (AMG rims and trim). This increased the price from the mid 70 thousand USD to the 90s after delivery and taxes. Other US models available at this time were the S430, S500, S55 (AMG model), and S600 (the V12). A four-wheel drive system became an option for 2003 for the S430 and S500 along with a mide-life upgrades that targeted a range of interior and exterior features. In the last U.S. W220 model year a V-6 was offered as the S350. Another special option was called the "Designo", which matched special interior and exterior colors and materials. An example of this is that one such model used Elm wood in the interior. There were two designo additions offered, the Designo Espresso Edition and the Designo Silver Edition The twelve-cylinder S600 included interior upgrades, including an increased amount of leather over more interior surfaces.
The W220 based S65 AMG was also offered in 2006 concurrently with the new W221. The S65 had a 604 hp, 738 lb-ft twin-turbo V-12 and other miscellaneous features inside and out. It retailed that year in the United States for about 180 thousand USD. The V-12 had a displacement of 6 liters, in a single overhead cam, 36-valve configuration, and was paired with two turbochargers. The S65 had four oval tail-pipes and AMG alloy wheels.
- S320CDI L
- S350 L
- S430 L
- S500 4-Matic
- S55 AMG
- S55 AMG L
One of the most popular versions was the Long-wheel base S500, with over 108,000 produced over the model run. On top of that, an additional over 13,000 all-wheel drive S500 version were made and over 21,000 short-wheel base S500 models. This works out to about 140,000 S500 of all versions across all model years out of 485,000 of all W220 models over its production run. The W220's peak sales year was 2000, with 88,000 sold worldwide, but both 1999 and 2001 were close with well over 80,000 sold. Two unique models that had small runs were a factory produced 160 inch wheelbase "stretch limo" called a Pullman and a special security version called S-Guard.
The Pullman version was a Mercedes-Benz engineered version of the S-Class of this period (circa 2001), that went beyond the after market "stretch" to offer a host of advanced systems and enhanced comfort. One of those systems was the AMG Advanced Mobile Media System to support the concept of a mobile office from within the vehicle. Components of this system including 10.4 inch LCD monitors displaying data from a computer with mobile web access. The system could also support video display, both from a DVD player or tuner to pick up broadcast; with two screen, it could display both at the same time. An additional re-chargeable battery allowed the system to powered independently for a half-hour with the engine off. The AMG developed media system could connect to the World Wide Web using HSCSD or GPRS at up to 43 kilobits per second.
The AMG Advanced Mobile Media System debuted in 1999 on the Mercedes-Benz S 55 AMG, which was noted for featuring a six-channel digital audio system. The system debuted on S-Class with 2001 Pullman model. AMG signed a co-operation agreement with Daimler-Benz starting 1990, producing special models of MB vehicles and became further integrated in this period starting in 1991 with the foundation of Mercedes-AMG GmbH various changes driven especially by the success of AMG models in MB lines and expansions at Affalterbach, Germany.
The S-Class Pullman was offered as the S500 (V8) or S600(V12) and was jointly developed by Mercedes and AMG. The Pullman is 100 cm longer than the regular S-Class providing 70 cm of additional space in the rear seat area. This also additional seating for up to seven-passengers, with two rear facing seats in between the front and back seats. In six-seat configuration the rear bench seat capable of three is replaced by two independent chairs. In addition to the AMG multi-media system, there is also a bar supporting the consumption of cooled beverages, small tables, and a barrier to the front of the vehicle that. Along with this barrier is an intercom from the rear seat to the driver area to support communication within the vehicle. Mechanically, the roof, exhaust, side-panels and chassis featured changes to support the additional length. A special feature for people working on the car, is that the side panels can be easily removed like doors.
Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG
One model line of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in this period was the AMG version S55. The S55 had a number of modifications over the stock W220 S-Class, and the changes were oriented towards higher automotive performance and more dramatic styling features compared to the regular models. The model name derives from displacement of the engine, a special almost 5.5 litre V8. The early model had a naturally aspirated version with 355 hp, and starting in 2003, it switched to supercharged version with 493 hp.
The additional power-boost came for the later model S55 from pairing this engine with a supercharger. A supercharger is a forced induction system that compresses the air before in enters the engine, and uses air compressor powered by a belt connected to the engine. The engine peak output on the S55 was 493 horsepower and 516 ft-lbs. of torque. Other changes include enhanced brakes and wheels, with 14.2 inch brake discs at the front and 13 inch discs at the rear. The S55 was also equipped with Active Body Control. The supercharged S55 models had the Kompressor (Mercedes-Benz) badge on the side. For more about AMG models with this engine see "55" 5.4 L V8 KOMPRESSOR
Features added to the S55 (US-spec)
- Active Body Control(ABC)
- Automatic Level Control
- Sport Mode
- 18-inch AMG alloy wheels with performance tires
- AMG body kit including a new AMG front spoiler and rocker panels
- 6-disk capacity CD player mounted in trunk
- Ventilated seats with automatic massage
- Bigger Brakes
The S600 was the main 12-cylinder engine model of the W220 body. The increased output of the engine enabled this W220 to keep up with a Ferrari 575M Maranello according to one Automotive magazine of the era (The 575M also had a 12-cylinder engine at that time). The 2003 S600 could achieve 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and 100 mph in 9.7 seconds. It was 1/10 second faster than the Ferrari in a quarter mile test, with the S600 achieving in 12.5 seconds and 115 mph. It could stop from 70 mph in 164 feet with the OEM tires in that same testing. The 2003 model had a Sensotronic braking system and the suspension used the ABC system which combined an hydraulic system and springs. The 2003 model was fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport tires with a Y rating. In the USA, the 2001 S600 had a 5.8 liter V-12 making 362 horsepower at 5500 RPM and up to 391 foot-pounds of torque at 4100 rpm. The 2003 model update had an updated 5.5 liter V-12 with twin turbochargers, producing 493 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque.
The S600 was also a model of the S-Class Pullman, an even longer wheelbase version that was 1 meter longer and supporting up to seven passengers and mobile office technology.
Features included on the S600 (US-spec):
- Stiched leather and increased leather trim
- Leather Dashboard
- Leater Tray
- Leather Console
- Leather Doors
- Wood Shift Knob
- Wood and leather trim on steering wheel
- Alcantara Headliner
- Four seats with heat and power operated
- Four-Zone Climate Control
- Integrated cell phone (Digital) with integrated car voice control
Some of these were also options on other models
Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG
The S65 was an AMG version of the S600, with a twin-turbocharged V-12 producing 604 hp. The S65 AMG W220 could reach 100 kph (62 mph) in 4.4s, 200 kph in 13.1s, and clocked in at 12.0 seconds in the 1/4 mile. The S65 still used the 5G-Tronic 5-speed torque converter automatic transmission due to its powerful engine, as it could make over 700 lb-ft of torque. Pushing close to 5000 lbs, the S65 may not have been sporty compared to lighter sport vehicles of the day, but it pushed the performance limits of a full-sized luxury sedan. With over 600 hp and 700 lb-ft of torque available, it excelled at autobahn cruising. One reviewer noted that it excelled at being a gran turismo (grand tourer) and averaged about 17 miles per gallon despite its size and equally large power plant.
The S65 was noted as a special value on the used car market, given that, despite requiring the maintenance of less expensive models, it could approach a ten-second 1/4 mile, yet retained amenities such as with heated leather seats and multi-passenger seating. One aftermarket was singled out the Renntech ECU upgrade, because it required no mechanical changes to the car.
The German spec S65 AMG could do 0 - 100 kph (63 mph) in 4.4 s and 0 - 200 kph (124 mph) 13.1 seconds.
As with each new S-Class, the W220 was technologically advanced at the time of its launch, bringing in new innovations such as Airmatic air suspension, Active Ventilated Seats (which used miniature fans in the seats to move air through perforations), keyless entry and ignition, Distronic: the first worldwide radar-assisted Autonomous cruise control system, and a cylinder deactivation system called Active Cylinder Control for the S500 and S600 models, which improves fuel consumption and reduces emissions. All were pioneering innovations at the time of the W220's conception. There are standard features to all models, standard features to certain models, and finally optional features. Sometimes what is standard changes on a model year or country of sale.
4Matic all wheel drive was introduced to the North American S-Class for 2003, for the S430 and S500 as a $2180 USD option. This full-time system splits engine power 40/60 front/rear, with electronic traction control adjusting that mix to the wheels (or wheel) with the best traction in slippery conditions. 
It was the first Mercedes with curtain airbags (previewed by the F200 concept in 1996).
Details on some of the safety, comfort, and technological features are as follows:
Despite a wide range of safety technology, and being marketed for its safety, one Canadian website said W220 S-Class had not actually been tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or EuroNCAP, or at least the information was not available. However, another website says that the W220 passed the legally prescribed EU front and side impact tests. Increased attention to side impacts was noted, and the car included a window air bag that inflates between the A and C pillars.
Passive safety features include various frames and bulkheads made out of aluminum and/or high-strength steel. Also the front and rear ends include aluminum crash boxes can be replaced as separate units to reduce the cost of repairs. Despite its price German insurance companies put it in the lower bracket because it was easier to repair.
- Pre-Safe, the integrated Mercedes-Benz collision avoidance and response system, debuted with the W220 S-Class facelift in late 2002.
- Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Brake Assist were standard features for difficult driving conditions and emergency maneuvers.
- The W220 S-Class added standard front and rear side curtain airbags. In total, the W220 features 8 airbags: 2 frontal (driver and passenger), 4 side airbags (one in each door) and 2 window-airbags.
- LED brake lights were also standard issue on the W220. LED brake lights illuminate faster than conventional bulbs.
Comfort and convenience
Features varied depending on locality (e.g. North American version) and what options were equipped
- Distronic cruise control, which could maintain a set distance between the S-Class and any vehicle in front.
- Speedtronic adjustable speed limiter for not exceeding a set speed on roads with speed limits.
- Optional Keyless Go,a smart key entry and startup system.
- Rain-sensing windshield wipers.
- Light sensors to turn the headlights on and off automatically, depending on lighting circumstances. The instrument display and the COMAND screen's backlight and colour also adjust automatically depending on the ambient light situation.
- Parktronic visual and audible parking aid, with sensors in the front and rear bumpers. Also, the passenger side mirror can swivel down automatically when engaging reverse, to help see the curb.
- Automatically heated exterior mirrors.
- Fully automatic climate control system with pollen and charcoal filters and optional separate rear-seat climate controls.
- COMAND system combines the controls for audio systems, the television, the navigation and the telephone. COMAND based cars offer higher quality audio compared to the Audio 10 system.
- Optional BOSE sound system.
- Summer Open/Close - Ability to open and close all four windows and the sunroof at the same time upon entry and/or exit from the vehicle.
- Self opening and closing trunk.
- Self-closing doors.
- Electrically adjustable seats are standard. Optional were the memory function for the seats (standard in many countries on the larger engine models) and the multi-contour backrests with massage function.
- Easy entry/exit function.
- Auto-dimming interior and driver's side exterior rear view mirrors to prevent being dazzled by cars behind.
- Xenon headlamps (bi-xenons starting from late 2002 facelift. These provide HID xenon lighting for both low and high beams).
- Linguatronic voice recognition system which can be used to control the audio system, navigation system, and a cellular telephone through voice commands.
The Linguatronic voice control was introduced as an option in 1996 on the W140 S-Class. At that time it was primarily for controlling the car phone, and could understand 30 words. The second generation of this system was introduced in 2000. On the W220 this second generation system could understand more words and control more systems, such as the radio. In 2000, it could understand 300 words and control certain features on the phone, radio, CD player, and other systems. The second generation system needed 20 times the memory of the first generation system (from about half megabyte to twenty megabytes). The algorithms used in the system were developed at Ulm, Germany where what was then called DaimlerChrysler Research and Technology center was located in addition to other groups within the company. The system listens to the person's voice and records frequencies which are then analyzed by a computer and its software. The system looks for patterns called phonemes to understand what the person is saying, a process which it computes in milliseconds.
What system the voice command can control can depend on the model year. In 2000, it could control the car phone, the radio, and the CD player (if installed) but in 2002 the navigation system was also added to its domain. An original goal of the Linguatronic system was to allow essentially hands-free control of interior systems, especially the car phone by using spoken words. This means there is microphone (located in the W220 S-Class) that can listen to the person; one of the issues is hearing the person over background noises and echos. The Linguatronic system used digital pre-processing to support this task. The features is run from hardware in a separate box in the back of the car.
The W220 featured a new pneumatic suspension system (Airmatic) with Adaptive Damping System (ADS) which adjusts the shock absorbers to difficult road conditions. Drivers can select a comfort or two sports suspension programmes as well as increased ride height (+25 mm) via switches on the dash. The increased ride height is automatically canceled after 5 minutes of 55 MPH driving or manually through driver's input. The hydraulic Active Body Control (ABC) system (premiere in 1999 on the Mercedes-Benz C215 coupe) is technically more advanced than Airmatic and keeps the car level even in fast corners, provides a comfort and sports setting. Also, just like Airmatic equipped vehicles, the ride height can be raised by using a button (2 settings, compared with Airmatic's single setting), increasing ground clearance for driving on difficult terrain such as roads with deep ruts or snow. Prior to September 2002, only higher end models (e.g. S600, ABC available only) lowered themselves automatically at higher speeds by 15 mm in order to achieve greater stability (lower center of gravity) as well as better fuel efficiency through a slightly improved aerodynamic drag coefficient. As of September 2002 all models, regardless of engine and drivetrain type (ABC or Airmatic) were able to do so as well. Furthermore, at highway speeds the suspension computer automatically engages sport mode (Airmatic - Sport mode 1 or 2 depending on the current speed), thus aiding safety by significantly reducing body roll in sharp turns.
Variation in features
There was a set of standard features, then differences between models other than just the engine, and then also various options that could be added to any given model.
The basic model had Calyptus wood (possibly Eucalyptus), the S500 added burl walnut trim Walnut tree, the Designo Espresso edition had Elm wood trim, and the Designo Silver edition had Maple wood trim)
- Major features: 5G-Tronic transmission, Airmatic Air Suspension with Adaptive Damping System (ADS), Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Automatic Slip Control (ASR), Leather Upholstery,14 Way Power Driver and Front Passenger Seats, each with 3 Position Memory, 4-way (tilt/telescoping) power steering column, Dual Zone Climate Control (for driver and front passenger) but also separate vents for rear passengers, Hand-polished Calyptus wood trim on dash, console, doors and shift gate, COMAND data system (integrates audio, phone, navigation control), Bose AM/FM stereo/weatherband radio, concealed autoreverse cassette player, and controls for CD changer and phone with a color-LCD in-dash screen, CD navigation system (integrated with COMAND), TeleAid telecommunications service, Pneumatic door and trunk closing assist (this does not close from fully open), headlamp high pressure washers, power retractable mirrors,Front and rear ventilated disc brakes
- The S500, besides switching the engine added Nappa leather, a heated front seat, walnut wood trim, and Xenon high beam lights.
- The S600's major change was the V-12, however it also included a range of other options, including an increased amount of leather on the interior, 4 heated and powered seats, four-zone (as opposed to two zone) climate control, parktronic (an object detection/warning feature) Many of these were offered as independent on options on other models also.
- Some major S-class options included Active Body Control, Keyless Go, Tire pressure monitoring system, and Electronic trunk closer, Designo and AMG packages, and various interior packages especially for seats and climate options
Examples of stock exterior paint colors/names offered included (in this case for the '06 S65): Alabaster White, Almandine Black Metallic, Black, Black Opal Metallic, Bordeaux Red Metallic, Brilliant Silver Metallic, Capri Blue Metallic, Desert Silver Metallic, Everest Green Metallic, Flint Grey Metallic, Granite Grey Metallic, Horizon Blue Metallic, Midnight Blue, Obsidian Black, Pewter Metallic, designo Graphite, designo Mocha Black Metallic
The S-Class had two special design editions that were available for different drivetrains, it was trim and feature option set and the two choices were Designo Espresso and Designo Silver. Both included many interior trim items, like a wood shift knob, alcantara headliner, and leather trim.
The Designo Espresso edition had Elm wood trim, and the Designo Silver edition had Maple wood trim. There were two Designo exterior paint options, designo Graphite and designo Mocha Black Metallic. The Espresso edition featured the Mocha paint, napa leather, and elm wood.
Integrated car phone systems
Phone systems offered during its model run include the Motorola Startac, carried over from W140 and offered in the first model year but replaced by the Mercedes-Benz/Motorola Timeport. Later, Mercedes-Benz offered the Motorola V60 as the car phone.
The "Timeport" phone with a voice control system was offered as an option on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The Timeport phone was similar to a Motorola Startac. In 2000, Mercedes and telecommunications and electronics's company Motorola announced they would offer the Timeport cell phone system on all models in the year 2001. The Timeport cell-phone was a jointly developed and became available on all of Mercedes 2001 models(including the 2001 W220 S-Class) The Timeport phone was integrated with S-Class systems, major features included Voice-control and automatic muteing of the radio when accepting an incoming call (or tape or CD player). Another feature was that the directory of numbers in the phone could be downloaded to the car, and shown on the in-car display. Even though the phone was integrated as a system with car, it was portable handset that could be removed from the car. The cell-phone had an electro-luminescent Organic display with multiple colors available. The Mercedes-Benz Timeport phones were the only ones in the StarTac family to have the organic-luminescent display. (see also OLED) Another set of phones that the S-Class used were the Nokia 6150, Nokia 6210, Nokia 6310, and Nokia 6310i. These phones worked with S-Class equipped with D2B data communication system (another later system was the UHI).
As the years passed, various ways to connect different phones or systems to the COMAND or interface with existing cradles came to market, of varying ability and expense there is the issues of handling a connection to the system and then the software needed interface, and this task is affected by the model year and equipment options of any particular S-Class. One of the major advancements in this period was Bluetooth, and many modern updates are oriented towards this wireless data connection technology.
One option is the use a "puck" which plugs into the existing hardware, and engages the COMAND computer/software like an original device, but can talk to a modern device on the "other side" typically via Bluetooth. The advantage of using a puck in this style is it means the existing cradle and/or cabling has to be changed but still allows connecting with a variety of different devices, especially a wide-variety of "smart-phones" that became popular in the decade after the W220.
The W220 was available with more engine options than the W126 or W140. The range started with a smaller 2.8L 197 hp (147 kW) V6 motor. Very popular was the 3.2L 224 hp (167 kW) V6, which was superseded by an enlarged 3.7L 245 hp (183 kW) V6 in the S350. Despite their popularity, the 6-cylinder S-Class cars were not imported into countries such as the United States until model year 2006 with the S350 (short wheelbase), where Daimler was then testing the market demand for a V6 S-Class.
The S430, the only United States market S-Class available with both a short wheelbase ('03-'06) as well as a long wheelbase, was that region's most popular model and powered by a 4.3L 279 hp (208 kW) V8 that avoided the federal government's Gas Guzzler Tax of $1000. The S500 was powered by a 5.0L 302 hp (225 kW) V8.
The S55 AMG ('01-'02) was outfitted with a 5.4L 354 hp (264 kW) V8 motor while the later versions ('03-'06) sported the same motor, but supercharged to a rated 493 hp (368 kW). The S600 ('01-'02) was outfitted with a 5.8L 362 hp (270 kW) V12 engine while the later versions ('03-'06) sported a twin-turbocharged (or Bi-Turbo) 493 hp (368 kW) 5.5L V12. The justification for having two models with the same power (S600 and S55 AMG) is that the S55 AMG is sportier and more responsive, while the costlier S600 is more luxurious with a smoother ride.
For one month in 2001, AMG produced the S63 AMG, which was sold in very limited numbers. The S63 was powered by a 6.3L 444 hp (331 kW) V12. An undisclosed number of the cars were sold exclusively through AMG in European and Asian markets. In the succeeding W221 S-Class, the S63 AMG badge was reused for cars powered by the 6.2L V8 and later the 5.5L twin turbo V8.
The S65 AMG was introduced in 2005. Powered by a Bi-Turbo 6.0L 612 hp (456 kW) V12 motor, the S65 was the most powerful S-Class, as well as the world's most powerful five-seat sedan with an output of 612 hp (456 kW) and 738 ft⋅lbf (1,001 N⋅m) of torque.
The S320 CDI was initially fitted with a 197 PS (145 kW) || 470 N⋅m (347 lb⋅ft) engine, which was upgraded in late 2002 to a 204 PS (150 kW) || 500 N⋅m (369 lb⋅ft) one. The S400 CDI had 250 hp (186 kW) at first, but got 260 hp (194 kW) in 2004. The type designation S400 CDI was changed in the W221 generation to S420.
W220 was the first generation of S-Class, where automatic transmissions were standard on all models. At first, all cars had 5-speed 5G-Tronic transmission, since 2003 S430 and S500 were instead offered with the new 7-speed 7G-Tronic transmission.
|S280||2.8 18V||V6||197 PS (145 kW; 194 hp)||270 N⋅m (199 lb⋅ft)|
|S320||3.2 18V||V6||224 PS (165 kW; 221 hp)||315 N⋅m (232 lb⋅ft)|
|S350||3.7 18V||V6||245 PS (180 kW; 242 hp)||350 N⋅m (258 lb⋅ft)|
|S430||4.3 24V||V8||279 PS (205 kW; 275 hp)||400 N⋅m (295 lb⋅ft)|
|S500 (2000–06)||5.0 24V||V8||306 PS (225 kW; 302 hp)||460 N⋅m (339 lb⋅ft)|
|S600 (2001–02)||5.8 36V||V12||367 PS (270 kW; 362 hp)||530 N⋅m (391 lb⋅ft)|
|S600 (2002–05)||5.5 36V Bi-Turbo||V12||500 PS (368 kW; 493 hp)||800 N⋅m (590 lb⋅ft)|
|S55 AMG (2001–02)||5.4 24V AMG||V8||360 PS (265 kW; 355 hp)||530 N⋅m (391 lb⋅ft)|
|S55 AMG (2003–06)||5.4 24V SC AMG||V8||500 PS (368 kW; 493 hp)||700 N⋅m (516 lb⋅ft)|
|S63 AMG (2001)||6.3 24V AMG||V12||444 PS (327 kW; 438 hp)||738 N⋅m (544 lb⋅ft)|
|S65 AMG (2005–06)||6.0 36V Bi-Turbo AMG||V12||612 PS (450 kW; 604 hp)||1,001 N⋅m (738 lb⋅ft)|
|S320 CDI||3.2 24V CDI||I6||197 PS (145 kW; 194 hp)||470 N⋅m (347 lb⋅ft)|
|S320 CDI||3.2 24V CDI||I6||204 PS (150 kW; 201 hp)||500 N⋅m (369 lb⋅ft)|
|S400 CDI||4.0 32V CDI||V8||250 PS (184 kW; 247 hp)||560 N⋅m (413 lb⋅ft)|
|S400 CDI||4.0 32V CDI||V8||260 PS (191 kW; 256 hp)||560 N⋅m (413 lb⋅ft)|
All model years used a 5-speed transmission until a 7-speed came out. In the U.S. market, the 7 speed was the standard transmission on S430 and S500 models in 2004, unless they had the four wheel drive (MB name: 4matic) option. Also, the S600 and AMG models still used the 5 speed transmission. However, the next year MB the S430 4matic also use the 7 speed transmission. The transmission has W and S modes that can be selected.
AIRmatic system & ABC & Suspension
Airmatic, or AIRmatic stands for Adaptive Intelligent Ride Control and was not just an air suspension but also electronic and software control system that actively adjust the level of dampening. This allows, for example, the car to automatically lower itself down at high speeds and keep the car balanced despite loads inside the car. The car can also be manually controlled to raise the car up if going for example over rough roads. The standard W220's have a four-wheel air suspension called Airmatic by Mercedes-Benz, rather than the more common "springs and shocks". Some models had a hydraulic system called ABC, which was an optional upgrade (so almost any model may have ABC) but it was also a standard feature on certain models. For MB, ABC stands for Active Body Control. Airmatic and ABC were different systems, the Airmatic used air, but ABC used fluid struts in a similar way.
The Airmatic main components are an air-pump, airlines going to each wheel, and four air-struts. The air pump is located in the front diver side behind a splash guard near the wheel. Mercedes-Benz has also improved and changed the Airmatic pump over the course of time. The AIRMATIC struts are controlled by the N51 Air Suspension Control Unit (N51) and there is also a level sensor that tells the level. Airmatic allows a W220 to be lowered or raised by about 2 cm, for example, it lowers at high speeds for a lower center of gravity. The Airmatic system was supported by the ADS, active damping system.
The lower control arm in the previous S-Class was switched to a spring link and torque strut.
On the instrument cluster multi-function display, the AIRMATIC warning message says "AIRMATIC", "VISIT WORKSHOP!" with an graphic of a car with a little arrow pointing up when it may have issues.
The car had an electronic stability control program and automatic slip control.
Certificates and reports
In 2005, the S-Class was the first vehicle to receive a TÜV Institute environmental certificate from the German Commission on Technical Compliance for environmentally friendly components. The improved environmental efficiency of the W220 manufacture process was judged approvingly.
Edmunds gave the S-Class a 5 out of 5 reliability rating and MSN Autos assign an expert rating of 9.0 out of 10. By March 2011, Consumer Reports had changed its reliability ratings for the 2001 and 2002 S-Class as having improved to "average". Build quality was generally considered to be good. For instance, Forbes described the W220 S500 as "built remarkably well." Early W220s were recalled for issues with the trunk spring and the hydraulic fuel line; there were no recalls for the 2005 or 2006 model years.
In 2006, nearly 24,000 (95%) S-Class sold in China between late 1998 and early 2005 were recalled due to a fuel tank defect. The recall was limited to the S-Class cars sold in China; S-Class models sold elsewhere were unaffected.
Examples of recalls in Australia include:
- 2000, a recall for the heater blower overheating issue
- 2004, for the V12 with ABC hydraulic line
- 2004, for a Blower fuse overheating in certain hot conditions
- 2007, an ABC hydraulic line could leak near hot engine components
One Canadian car site noted that older W220's can offer impressive features for the cost, provided that owners continue to maintain the vehicle. They noted a few key issues on later models including the air suspension and interior electronics. They also noted that over its production run Mercedes-Benz fixed many issues and there is also considerable variation in models depending how they were equipped.
Reed valve inside air/water duct: the Ventilation drain
One critical maintenance issue is the main ventilation drain (these are below the vents at the back of the hood/bonnet and below the windshield). If this drain becomes clogged such as from leaves or snow it can overflow, flooding the passenger compartment. When it overflows in can short out wiring in the car. There is an air and water vent on the right (passenger side) near the base of the windshield, under the hood, which among other features as a drain with a reed valve to allow water to drain out.
This issue was the subject of a Class-action lawsuit in the U.S. State of California.
The suit alleged that .. " alleging, among other things, that the reed valve in the air/water duct in 2001-2006 model year Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W220) and Mercedes-Benz CL-Class (W215) vehicles is susceptible to clogging by leaves, pine needles and other debris, which can cause water to accumulate in the air/water duct and to overflow into the passenger compartment, possibly resulting in damage to electrical and other components.."— 
The air/water duct is drained by a reed valve, which if clogged can cause water to overflow into the passenger compartment. Other things that can cause water to enter an S-Class interior include the air conditioning condensation drain tubes 
The permanent solution to prevent water from flooding the interior is to simply to remove the reed valve in the cowling drain so the water can flow straight and through the drain.
About top speeds: The top speed of most models was limited to no more than 156 mph if it could be achieved, some models such as the CDI were slower. A stock German S65 AMG S-Class (W220 model) is reported as a 12 second quarter mile. That vehicle is listed as 0 - 100 kph (63 mph) of 4.4 s and 0 - 200 kph (124 mph) 13.1 seconds, for the German model.
An aftermarket version like the 2001 model year Brabus S V12 boosted the output of V-12 to 450 hp at 5700 rpm and could do 0-60 mph (96 kph) in about 5.4 seconds.
- 2004 S500
- 0-60 mph 6.0 s to 6.2 s
- Quarter mile 14.3 s
- 2001 S500 with Sport package
- 0-60 mph 5.9 s
- Quarter mile 14.2 s
- 2001 Mercedes S600
- 0-60 mph 5.3 s
- 0-60 mph 4.5 s (2003)
- Quarter mile 13.7 s
- 2003 S55
- 0-60 mph 4.5 s 
- 2001 S320 CDI
- 0-60 7.9 seconds
- 2001 S430
- 0-60 7.0 seconds
Aftermarket and tuner
The naturally aspirated V-8 was boosted by up to 30 hp, but the turbo and super-charged version was boosted 100-120 hp by reputable tuning companies. An additional 200 hp could be achieved with extensive modifications going as far as improved heat management and modifications to the intercooler for the M275 V-12 twin-turbo. Potential points of modification include intake, exhaust, fuel systems, transmissions, and the ECU.
An example of an aftermarket version of the S-Class, was the 2001 Brabus S V12. This increased the displacement of the engine to 6.7 liters and the horsepower to 450. The changes also included interior luxury options like the BRABUS PC, enhanced leather trim options, and a 12 inch TFT (flat screen) display. The Brabus S V12 cost $416 thousand USD (416 thousand DM) and needed any stock MB S600 for the conversion. The Brabus had a top speed of almost 190 mph and various other changes, including different tires and rims (on the front 50.8 x 24.1 cm / 20.0 x 9.5 with 245/35ZR-20, and on the rear 50.8 x 24.1 cm / 20.0 x 9.5 also with 245/35ZR-20).
- Kleemann S 60
- Wald S-Class versions incl. black bison version
- Brabus S-Class version
- Mercedes-Benz CL-Class (C215) Shorter coupe version of W220 shared most components and features of sedan. Many of the same engines configurations and models were also carried over but as a 2-door coupe.
- CL 500
- CL 600
- CL 55
- CL 63
- CL 65
- Maybach 57 and 62 (produced 2002-2013, larger sedan under a MB ultra-luxury brand)
- Chrysler LX platform (re-used some W220 suspension components from 2005) (note: Chrysler was part of Daimler during much of this period (1998-2007), and such there was many standardizations
- 2004 Kleemann S60 (see also Kleemann)
- Misc. tuner versions from Brabus, Kleeman, Wald, etc.
Kleeman also produced a version of the CL, called the CL 60 for year 2004.
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