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Mercedes-Benz W220

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The Mercedes-Benz W220 was a series of flagship sedans which constituted the Mercedes-Benz S-Class during the early-to-mid 2000's. The W220 (and similar W215 CL-Class coupés) started production in 2000. The W220 was a replacement for the earlier W140 S-Class after the 1999 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 boot 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 and W215 were replaced by the W221 S-Class and the W216 CL-Class.

AssemblySindelfingen, Germany
PredecessorMercedes-Benz W140
SuccessorMercedes-Benz W221
ClassFull-size Luxury car
Body style(s)4-door sedan
LayoutFront engine, rear-wheel drive / four-wheel drive
Engine(s)2.8L 204 hp (152 kW) V6
3.2L 224 hp (167 kW) V6
3.2L 197 hp (147 kW) I6 Diesel
3.7L 245 hp (183 kW) V6
4.0L 250 hp (186 kW) V8 Diesel
4.3L 279 hp (208 kW) V8
5.0L 306 hp (228 kW) V8
5.4L 493 hp (368 kW) V8
5.5L 367 hp (274 kW) V12
5.5L 493 hp (368 kW) V12
6.3L 444 hp (331 kW) V12
6.0L 604 hp (450 kW) V12
Transmission(s)5-speed automatic
Wheelbase116.7 in (2964 mm) (SWB)
121.5 in (3086 mm) (LWB)
Length198.5 in (5042 mm) (SWB)
203.1 in (5158 mm) (LWB)
203.3 in (5164 mm) (LWB, 2004-06)
Width73.1 in (1855 mm)
73.0 in (1855 mm) (2004-06)
Height56.9 in (1444 mm) (2000-01 & 2004-06)
57.2 in (1453 mm) (2002-03)
57 in (1448 mm) (LWB, 2004-06)
Curb weightmodel-dependent, for example 1770 kg (3902 lb) (S320) to 1855 kg (4090 lb) (S430 and S500), figures in accordance with directive 05/48/EC in Europe
Fuel capacity88 litres (23.2 US gal; 19.4 imp gal)
ManualService Manual
For a complete overview of all S-Class models see Mercedes-Benz S-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.



The W220 was not the first model to feature the company's new design theme for the next generation of Mercedes-Benz. This honor was given to the A-Class launched in 1997. Nevertheless, the W220 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 labelled as too big and too heavy.

Rear design of the W220 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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.

A facelifted version of the S-Class was introduced in 2003, offering a more aerodynamic front-end and redesigned tailights, 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.


Chassis code Years Model Engine
W220.063 1999–2005 S280 sedan 2.8L V6
W220.065 1999–2005 S320 sedan 3.2L V6
W220.165 1999–2005 S320 L sedan 3.2L V6
W220 2003–2005 S350 sedan 3.7L V6
W220 2003–2005 S350 L sedan 3.7L V6
W220.07 1999–2005 S430 sedan 4.3L V8
W220.17 1999–2005 S430 L sedan 4.3L V8
W220.075 1999–2005 S500 sedan 5.0L V8
W220.175 1999–2005 S500 L sedan 5.0L V8
W220.073 1999–2005 S55 AMG sedan 5.4L supercharged V8
W220.178 1999–2005 S55 L AMG sedan 5.4L supercharged V8
W220 2001 S63 AMG sedan 6.3L V12
W220.176 2005 S65 AMG sedan 6.0L twin-turbocharged V12
W220.178 2001–2005 S600 L sedan 5.8L V12 / 5.5L twin-turbocharged V12
W220.026 1999–2005 S320 CDI 3.2L Common rail turbo diesel
W220 2000–2005 S400 CDI 4.0L V8 Common rail turbo diesel


As with each new S-Class, the W220 was technologically advanced at the time of its launch, bringing in new innovations such as Airmatic air suspension, Active Ventilated Seats (which used miniature fans in the seats to move air through perforations), keyless entry and ignition, radar-controlled Distronic distance-aware cruise control, 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. 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.
  • 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 bags. [1]
  • LED brake lights were also standard issue on the W220. LED brake lights illuminate faster than conventional bulbs.

Comfort and convenience

  • 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 kerb.
  • 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 the 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 in later production cars). 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

  • 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. Also, the car height can be increased by using a button, increasing ground clearance for driving on difficult terrain.


A rare 2006 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG

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, although this model was 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. 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.

The S430 was powered by a 4.3L 279 hp (208 kW) V8 and the S500 was powered by a 5.0L 306 hp (228 kW) V8.

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 an 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.

The S65 AMG was introduced in 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 a staggering output of 612 hp (456 kW) and 738 ft·lbf (1,001 N·m) of torque.

The S400 CDI had 250 hp at first but got 260 hp later on. The type designation S400 CDI was changed in the W221 to S420.

Model Engine Cyl. Power Torque
S280 2.8 18V V6 197 PS (194 hp/145 kW) 270 N·m (199 lb·ft)
S320 3.2 18V V6 224 PS (221 hp/165 kW) 315 N·m (232 lb·ft)
S350 3.7 18V V6 245 PS (242 hp/180 kW) 350 N·m (258 lb·ft)
S430 4.3 24V V8 279 PS (275 hp/205 kW) 400 N·m (295 lb·ft)
S500 ('00-'02) 5.0 24V V8 306 PS (302 hp/225 kW) 460 N·m (339 lb·ft)
S55 AMG ('01-'02) 5.5 24V AMG V8 360 PS (355 hp/265 kW) 530 N·m (391 lb·ft)
S600 ('01-'02) 5.8 36V V12 367 PS (362 hp/270 kW) 530 N·m (391 lb·ft)
S55 AMG ('03-'06) 5.5 24V SC AMG V8 500 PS (493 hp/368 kW) 700 N·m (516 lb·ft)
S600 ('02-'05) 5.5 36V T V12 500 PS (493 hp/368 kW) 800 N·m (590 lb·ft)
S63 AMG ('01) 6.3 36V V12 444 PS (438 hp/327 kW) 738 N·m (544 lb·ft)
S65 AMG ('05-'06) 6.0 36V T V12 612 PS (604 hp/450 kW) 1,001 N·m (738 lb·ft)
S320 CDI 3.2 24V CDI S6 197 PS (194 hp/145 kW) 470 N·m (347 lb·ft)
S320 CDI 3.2 24V CDI S6 204 PS (201 hp/150 kW) 500 N·m (369 lb·ft)
S400 CDI 4.0 32V CDI V8 250 PS (247 hp/184 kW) 560 N·m (413 lb·ft)


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

The W220 S-Class also became known for a shift in reliability ratings from the S-Class' previously high-ranked position. Consumer Reports classified the W220 model's reliability as "poor," its lowest rating, and declared it one of the "least reliable luxury cars."[3] Build quality, however, was generally considered to be good. For instance, Forbes described the W220 S500 as "built remarkably well." [4] 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. Issues with the W220 electronics systems, Airmatic suspension and other features are considerations in used models.


External links