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

  • BMW X7 2019 first drive review - hero front
    19 March 2019
    First Drive
    Vaster than our road networks need, but undeniably capacious and finely...
  • Peugeot 5008 2018 long-term review hero front
    18 March 2019
    First Drive
    Did six months with Peugeot's seven-seater prove it has a place among...
  • Lynk&Co 01 PHEV 2019 first drive review - hero front
    15 March 2019
    First Drive
    Youthful styling on a Volvo technological base make this plug-in hybrid SUV a...

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • BMW X7 2019 first drive review - hero front
    19 March 2019
    First Drive
    Vaster than our road networks need, but undeniably capacious and finely...
  • Peugeot 5008 2018 long-term review hero front
    18 March 2019
    First Drive
    Did six months with Peugeot's seven-seater prove it has a place among...
  • Lynk&Co 01 PHEV 2019 first drive review - hero front
    15 March 2019
    First Drive
    Youthful styling on a Volvo technological base make this plug-in hybrid SUV a...