The first official ‘ S-Class’ model to be launched was the W116 series in 1972, although the flagship Mercedes-Benz saloon is an icon in its own right. It has a heritage stretching back nearly sixty years to the W180 so-called ‘Ponton’ launched in 1954.

Over its lifetime, the current model has had by far the widest choice of powertrains of any S-Class.

These included V6 and V8s in both petrol and diesel forms as well as a bi-turbo V12 (used in the S 65 AMG). There was also a V6 petrol hybrid model available in some markets.  

Nearly all models were fitted with the new-generation 7G-Tronic autobox, though this did receive further tweaks in 2010 to counter criticism of its sometimes lethargic pick-up from rest. Four-wheel drive was available in some overseas markets, but was not offered on right-hand drive vehicles.

With the introduction of the S 350 Bluetec, Mercedes rolled out a number of innovative new options, including Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Attention Assist and Distronic Plus radar cruise control.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Maserati Levante S GranLusso 2019 road test review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    Car review
    Is this Ferrari-engined Levante the performance SUV it always should have...
  • Bentley Continental GT Convertible 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    First Drive
    New Conti Convertible has all the many advantages of a new platform, seen...
  • Audi SQ5 2019 first drive review - hero front
    22 May 2019
    First Drive
    High-performance soft-roader adopts new sporty V6 diesel mild-hybrid power,...

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Maserati Levante S GranLusso 2019 road test review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    Car review
    Is this Ferrari-engined Levante the performance SUV it always should have...
  • Bentley Continental GT Convertible 2019 UK first drive review - hero front
    24 May 2019
    First Drive
    New Conti Convertible has all the many advantages of a new platform, seen...
  • Audi SQ5 2019 first drive review - hero front
    22 May 2019
    First Drive
    High-performance soft-roader adopts new sporty V6 diesel mild-hybrid power,...