Mercedes-Benz S-Class Genealogy

If you want to know what sort of technology your car will have in ten years time then take a look at today's Mercedes S-Class.

That's how the saying goes, at least, and with sustainability on the agenda it's no surprise that the recently revealed S-Class is surprisingly clean. The S 300 BlueTEC Hybrid model emits just 115g/km carbon dioxide—less than many vehicles a just third of its size. The second hybrid in the lineup – the S 400 Hybrid – isn't far behind, emitting 147g/km carbon dioxide and there's a third, bigger engined plug-in hybrid on the way, too, and that will be the cleanest S-Class of all. Mercedes aren't exactly holding back.

2013: Mercedes-Benz S-Class W222

All models come kitted with stop/start technology, cutting the engine when the car is stationary, and aluminium hybrid body means that the S-Class is lighter than its predecessor, too. One of the most impressive aspects of the new S-Class, however, is more fundamental than these.

Aerodynamically the S-Class performs incredibly well. Aerodynamics are especially important for a luxury car such as the S-Class, as although punching a smoother hole through oncoming air is beneficial to fuel consumption it also helps reduce wind noise in the cabin. The S 300 BlueTEC Hybrid has a drag coefficient of 0.23 – 0.06 less than the latest Porsche 911 – which is possible because of a sealed headlight section and new front and rear aprons. The car also lowers by 20mm at speed to make itself more slippery.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class: Timeline

Below is the S-Class family-tree, going back over 100 years. In terms of design, the new S-Class is different from previous iterations because its design follows other Mercedes models rather than breaking new ground. The profile surfacing is heavily influenced by the aggressive CLA and new A-Class models, which seems odd given that the S-Class should be much more aloof than either of those more sporty, youthful models.

Mercedes has a habit of predicting the future, though. The car that's being replaced is nearly decade old yet still looks cutting edge. When that car was unveiled it hardly received rapturous applause, so has Mercedes done it again?

1904: Mercedes-Simplex 60hp

1928: Mercedes-Benz Nurburg W08

1930: Mercedes-Benz 770 'Grand Mercedes' W07


1951: Mercedes-Benz 300 W186/W189


1954: Mercedes-Benz 220 W180


1959: Mercedes-Benz 220 SE W111

1963: Mercedes-Benz 600 W100

1965: Mercedes-Benz 280 SEL 3.5 W108

1972: Mercedes-Benz S-Class W116

1979: Mercedes-Benz S-Class W126

1991: Mercedes-Benz S-Class W140

1998: Mercedes-Benz S-Class W220

2005: Mercedes-Benz S-Class W221


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