Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W220)

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Mercedes s klasse 1 sst2.jpg
Manufacturer Daimler-Benz
Production August 13, 1998 – July 20, 2005
485,000 built
Assembly Sindelfingen, Germany
Toluca, Mexico
Bogor, Indonesia[1]
Designer Steve Mattin, Bruno Sacco [2] (1994)
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
Related Mercedes-Benz C215
Engine 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
Transmission 5-speed automatic
7-speed automatic
Wheelbase 116.7 in (2,964 mm) (SWB)
121.5 in (3086 mm) (LWB)
Length 198.5 in (5,042 mm) (SWB)
203.1 in (5158 mm) (LWB)
203.3 in (5,164 mm) (LWB, 2004-06)
Width 73.1 in (1855 mm)
73.0 in (1855 mm) (2004-06)
Height 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)
Curb weight S320: 1,770 kg (3,900 lb)
S430/S500: 1,855 kg (4,090 lb)
2001 S55: 4,030 lb (1,828 kg)
2003 S55: 4,300 lb (1,950 kg)
Predecessor Mercedes-Benz W140
Successor Mercedes-Benz W221
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,[3] with the final design, helmed by Steve Mattin being approved in 1994 and frozen for production in the first half of 1995.[4] 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.


Mercedes-Benz F200 Imagination at the Mercedes-Benz Museum

Steve Mattin's design was first sketch drawn in late 1992 and developed into 1:1 scale by late 1994. The series production design was frozen 38 months before production in 1995. 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 express elegance and modernity. This can be seen as a response to criticism on its W140 predecessor, which was sometimes labeled as too big and too heavy.

Despite being smaller, the new car was roomier inside while the dashboard carried over the new styling details first seen in the Mk I A-Class the year before.

1999–2002 Mercedes-Benz S 430 (W220)
Rear design of the W220 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

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 analogous to 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
W220.063 1998–2006 S280 sedan 2.8L V6 M112 E28
W220.163 1998–2006 S280 L sedan 2.8L V6 M112 E28
W220.065 1998–2006 S320 sedan 3.2L V6 M112 E32
W220.165 1998–2006 S320 L sedan 3.2L V6 M112 E32
W220.067 2003–2006 S350 sedan 3.7L V6 M112 E37
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
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
W220.084 2002–2006 S500 4Matic sedan 5.0L V8 M113 E50
W220.175 1998–2006 S500 L sedan 5.0L V8 M113 E50
W220.184 2002–2006 S500 L 4Matic sedan 5.0L V8 M113 E50
W220.178 1998–2002 S600 L sedan 5.8L V12 M137
W220.176 2003–2006 S600 L sedan 5.5L twin-turbocharged V12 M275
W220.073 2000–2001 S55 AMG sedan 5.4L V8 M113 E55
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
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
W220.026 2000–2002 S320 CDI 3.2L Common rail turbo diesel I6 OM613
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
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
W220.128 2000–2006 S400 L CDI 4.0L Common rail turbo diesel V8 OM628

North American models[edit]

Approximate selection of US models

  • S350
  • S430
  • S500
  • S600
  • S55 AMG
  • S63 AMG

Some models had options for Sport package, Designo, and/or 4matic.


As with each new S-Class, the W220 was technologically advanced at the time of its launch, bringing in new innovations[5] 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.

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. [6]

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:


  • 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.[7]
  • LED brake lights were also standard issue on the W220. LED brake lights illuminate faster than conventional bulbs.

Comfort and convenience[edit]

Interior of a right-hand drive 2001 model, showing the pre-facelift console setup
  • 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.
  • 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 sametime 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.

Drivetrain technologies[edit]

  • The W220 featured a new pneumatic suspension system (Airmatic) with Adaptive Damping System (ADS) which adjust the shock absorbers to difficult road conditions. Drivers can select a comfort or two sports suspension programmes via a switch on the dash. 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, the car height can be increased by using a button, increasing ground clearance (2 settings) for driving on difficult terrain. Higher end models (e.g., S600, ABC available only) lower themselves automatically at higher speeds.


A Mercedes Benz S430
A Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG
A Mercedes-Benz S350
A Mercedes Benz S600

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 in all countries, notably in North America where the short-wheelbase S430 with its 4.3L 279 hp (208 kW) V8 was the entry-level model.

The S430, the only United States market S-Class available with a short wheelbase as well as long wheelbase, was that region's most popular model and powered by a 4.3L 279 hp (208 kW) V8 that avoids the federal government's Gas Guzzler Tax of $1000. The S500 was powered by a 5.0L 302 hp (225 kW) V8.[6][8]

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 for 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 output of 612 hp (456 kW) and 738 ft·lbf (1,001 N·m) of torque.

The S400 CDI had 250 hp (186 kW) at first but got 260 hp (194 kW) later on. The type designation S400 CDI was changed in the W221 generation to S420.

W220 was the first generation of S-Class, where automatic transmission was 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.

Model Engine Cyl. Power Torque
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)


The Mercedes Benz CL Class from 1999-2006, the C215, was based on this S-Class Chassis
A W126 S-Class (1979-1991) and W220 S-Class (1998-2005) with aftermarket tail-lamps

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.[9] The improved environmental efficiency of the W220 manufacture process was judged approvingly.

While Consumer Reports classified the W220 model's reliability as "poor," its lowest rating, and declared it one of the "least reliable luxury cars,"[10] Edmunds gave the S-Class a 5 out of 5 reliability rating[11] and MSN Autos assign an expert rating of 9.0 out of 10.[12] 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."[13] 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.[14] The recall was limited to the S-Class cars sold in China; S-Class models sold elsewhere were unaffected.



  1. ^ "Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz In Indonesia". Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Car Styling Magazine". LA Car. 2012-05-13. Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  4. ^ ""MERCEDES S CLASS LOADS ON TECHNOLOGY" (METRO Edition) Automotive News / November 26, 1998". 1998-11-26. Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  5. ^ Mercedes-Benz S-Class, W 220 series (1998 to 2005)
  6. ^ a b "2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Review, Prices, Photos". New Car Test Drive. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  7. ^ "Autoweb - New, Mercedes S-class Sets Automotive Technology Benchmark". Retrieved 2012-05-18. 
  8. ^ "Mercedes-Benz Reviews - New 2010 Mercedes-Benz Reviews, Used Mercedes-Benz Reviews and Comparisons". New Car Test Drive. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  9. ^ "S-Class Voted Fleet News Luxury Car of The Year For Fifth Time". Retrieved 2010-10-01. 
  10. ^ Taylor, Alex (2006-11-20). "Consumer Reports - Mercedes W220 S-Class reliability". Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  11. ^ "Edmunds, S-Class reliability". Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  12. ^ "MSN Auto S-Class reliability rating". Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  13. ^ Elliott, Hannah. "Forbes Mercedes-Benz W220 S-Class test drive". Retrieved 2010-10-09. 
  14. ^ Waterman, Stuart (2006-03-03). "Mercedes-Benz recalls S-Class in China". Retrieved 2010-10-01. 



  • Clarke, R.M., ed. (2007). Mercedes AMG Ultimate Portfolio 2000-2006. Road Test Portfolio Series. Cobham, Surrey, UK: Brooklands Books. ISBN 9781855207486. 
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  • Kittler, Eberhard (2002). Typenkompass Mercedes-Benz Band 2. Personenwagen seit 1976 [Typenkompass Mercedes-Benz Volume 2. Passenger Cars since 1976]. Typenkompass series. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3613022095.  (German)
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  • Schlegelmilch, Rainer W.; Lehbrink, Hartmut; von Osterroth, Jochen (2013). Mercedes (revised ed.). Königswinter, Germany: Ullmann Publishing. ISBN 9783848002672. 
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  • Taylor, James (2014). Mercedes-Benz S-Class 1972-2013. Ramsbury, Marlborough, UK: The Crowood Press. ISBN 9781847975959. 
  • Vieweg, Christof (2000). Alles über die Mercedes-Benz-S-Klasse: eine Publikation der DaimlerChrysler-AG, Global Service [Everything about the Mercedes-Benz S-Class: a publication of DaimlerChrysler-AG, Global Service]. Stuttgart: DaimlerChrysler-AG, Global Service. ISBN 3932786149.  (German)

Workshop manuals[edit]

  • Mercedes-Benz Technical Companion. Cambridge, MA, USA: Bentley Publishers. 2005. ISBN 9780837610337. 

External links[edit]