Mercedes-Benz S-Class 70 years generations

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class is just the latest in a long line of flagships sedans that defined the trajectory set by the three-pointed star. It is our compass towards greatness in its finest expression. 

Before our newest S-Class, there have been ten generations of this great sedan that fulfilled the mission of being the absolute examples of our company’s slogan: “the best…or nothing”

The legend of the S-Class began in 1951 with the Mercedes-Benz 220. It was the first true post-World War II model for us with an innovative safety and security feature for its time: The Conical-pin safety door lock. This feature would prevent the doors from bursting open in an accident. It would also elevate Mercedes-Benz engineering with a six-cylinder engine featuring an overhead camshaft – a rarity for the era.

The next generation of Mercedes-Benz arrived in 1954 with what we called a self-supporting bodyshell. The growing use of unibody construction in automobiles provided structural integrity towards advancing vehicle and occupant safety. This generation would introduce Mercedes-Benz customers to mechanical fuel injection that was installed through the manifold. This arrived in 1958 in the new 220 SE. 

By 1959, Mercedes-Benz welcomed the arrival of the Fintail generation. Unlike the huge tail fins of contemporary American cars of the era, these fender extensions were also used to help guide the vehicle into a parking space. Even the fins were designed to take part in a body engineering revolution that created a passenger safety cell with crumple zones front and back. You also saw the introduction of disc brakes, air suspension, and central locking during this generation. 

The design evolution of Mercedes-Benz continued as the fins went away by 1965 for a more modern model for the era. It was also the generation that spawned a new performance company – AMG. Since AMG was not widely available at the time, Mercedes-Benz introduced the next best thing – the 300 SE 6.3 with a 250-horsepower V8 underneath its hood. 

In 1972, the most important Mercedes-Benz at that time was introduced – the first model to be designated as an S-Class. This generation fostered the growth of Mercedes-Benz in the U.S.A. as it was more efficient and better crafted than the leading luxury cars of its era. This generation also introduced several modern features, such as anti-lock brakes, cruise control, and a turbocharged diesel engine. However, it was one of the first vehicles to reposition the fuel tank over the rear axle for safety purposes. 

At the end of the 1970s, a new S-Class arrived that would become a great icon in its own right. This aerodynamic model would introduce the airbag and seat belt tensioner for optimized safety. Mercedes-Benz also added a new Acceleration Skid Control system for its V8 models as another advance in vehicle safety engineering. In all, this became the most popular flagship in Mercedes-Benz history in the U.S.A. and around the world. 

Bruno Sacco designed the next S-Class as a model to advance the status of the flagship. It arrived in 1991 and boasted a low drag coefficient of 0.31 – the slipperiest vehicle of its kind for the time. As advanced as its design, this generation of S-Class introduced the Electronic Stability Program and Brake Assist System to its safety package. It was also the first Mercedes-Benz equipped with an available twelve-cylinder engine, the Parktronic electronic parking aid, a voice recognition system, and an Autopilot System, among several advances in this generation of S-Class. 

Towards the end of the 1990s, Mercedes-Benz envisioned an S-Class for the Millennium. It would have an even slippery drag coefficient if 0.27 and would welcome its first AMG models to its lineup. This generation saw more innovations installed in this new S-Class. These new innovations include a better engineered automatic cylinder shutoff system for the twelve-cylinder models, an electronically-controlled seven-speed automatic transmission, keyless access to the vehicle, and the first use of the DISTRONIC system in a Mercedes-Benz. 

Evolution is something that continues at Mercedes-Benz. That would drive the next generation of S-Class in 2005 with further advances in the DISTRONIC PLUS and PRE-SAFE systems. It would also welcome new innovations, such as Active Night View Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist. This would also be one of the first Mercedes-Benz models to feature a hybrid driveline with the S 400 HYBRID.

As soon as we thought we saw the absolute best from Mercedes-Benz, we were in for a treat. The last generation S-Class pushed the limits of its flagship status. We saw the introduction of Intelligent Drive that incorporated assistance systems that enhance safety, security, and driving pleasure. The S-Class also incorporated a new innovation in ride quality with the Road Surface Scan. In all, the S-Class continued to be the pinnacle of what Mercedes-Benz had accomplished in the past 70 years.

Until now. 

Mercedes-Benz never rests on its laurels. That is why the S-Class continues to be the finest example of what we are capable of. To advance, we must innovate. Therefore, Mercedes-Benz of Plano welcomes the all-new S-Class sedan to our showroom. Contact us to experience the new flagship S-Class soon! 

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