Common problems with Mercedes S500

The Mercedes S500 is the most iconic Mercedes Benz model of all time and all S-Class generations offered a range-topping non-AMG non-V12 model which was referred to as the S500. S500 S-Class models are equipped with V8 engines and some S500 generations are indeed worse than others.

The W220 is known as the worst generation of the S-Class and that is rather obvious because the W220 was and still is the most problematic S-Class generation. The W140 is known as the best S-Class model of all time because it introduced numerous new technologies while also being built like a tank.

Through the many years of the S500, most problems were electrical, especially for the W220 model. The second most prominent issue for all S500 models is the suspension which is known to fail on certain S500 models, especially if not maintained correctly.

Engine issues, more specifically engine cooling issues also plague many S500 models. Finally, some S500 models are known for problematic transmission systems which tend to fail if not properly taken care of. All in all, the S500 is one of the most desirable S-Class models, both because of the engine and the durability.

Mercedes S500 electrical issues

Older S-Class models are known to experience issues with all sorts of electrical systems such as dashboard gauges, power windows, power tailgate, and wiring problems. Some S-Class models are known for using biodegradable and incredibly brittle wiring harnesses for the engine which tend to fail after only a few thousand miles.

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Instrument panel issues are common for all but the newest S-Class models because the newest S-Class models now utilize a digital instrument cluster. Issues with the alternator and the regulator are also frequent, especially after the car accumulates some miles on the odometer. Finally, exterior lightning issues are a common pet thieve for older S-Class models.

Mercedes S500 suspension issues

The Mercedes S-Class is the largest and heaviest Mercedes sedan that tries to offer the most comfortable ride height out of all Mercedes models. As such, the S-Class never did prioritize suspension durability, but rather the comfort aspect of it. The air suspension system is known for deflation and air leaks, especially for the W220.

Front-end bearings and ball joints are also known to fail from time to time across all S-Class generations. The AIRMATIC system found on newer S-Class models is not as problematic as some people believe it is, but it does cost a lot of money to fix. All in all, suspension-related issues are common for all S-Class models and they are not the cheapest to fix.


Mercedes S500 engine and cooling issues

A burnt engine harness, a strong smell of burning, whining noises, and oil leaks are all known to plague almost all S500 generations. The S500 uses a V8 engine which also tends to consume lots of oil, this issue is made worse by the fact that some S-Class V8 models also tend to suffer from oil leaks from the filter area, crankshaft area, and gasket area.

However, one of the largest powertrain-related issues with the S-Class is down to overheating. Nearby engine components, especially brittle hoses are known to crack because of all the extra heat and the water pump is also sometimes known to fail. Newer S500 models often experience engine exhaust system issues as well.

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Mercedes S500 transmission issues

Older S500 models are known to fall into a transmission limp mode whenever the car senses a potential issue with the transmission. The W220 and the W221 are the most common S-Class generations that experience these sorts of issues, but even the older models are not completely free of it. Make sure to maintain your transmission according to the manufacturer’s recommendations in order to make it as durable as possible.

The automatic transmission is also known to experience module-related issues which meant that you could experience all sorts of delays with the S500. Older S-Class models use robust 4 or 5-speed automatic transmissions, but these are known to take their time while changing gears. The W222 and W223 S-Class models offer the best transmissions out of all S-Class models and are least likely going to cause issues.

FAQ Section

Is the Mercedes Benz S500 a good car?

Almost all Mercedes S500 models are indeed great cars for those who want to enjoy powerful and sophisticated cruisers on a daily basis. No matter which generation of the S500 you go for all of them are built to last while offering you a plush driving experience. Besides the W220, of course.

The W222 now seems to be the best S500 model to buy because it does not cost as much as the W223 model while offering 90% of the experience. The W222 is available both as a convertible and as a coupe which is arguably one of the best-looking modern-day Mercedes Benz models.

Is the Mercedes S500 better than the S63 AMG?

The Mercedes Benz S63 AMG is the range-topping V8 S-Class model which offers a completely different experience to the S500. The S500 is a relatively subdued, but amply powerful full-size sedan but it does not look any different than some entry-level S-Class diesel variants.

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However, the S63 AMG offers more than 600hp in the latest W222 generation while also looking a lot more aggressive and desirable. The V8 found in the S500 is not nearly as raspy and exciting as the one found in the AMG models. Both of these engines are indeed based on the same block, but the one in the S63 is better in almost every way.


Is the new Mercedes S500 the most luxurious car on the planet?

Mercedes likes to think that they are the ones that offer the most luxurious car on the planet, but that is simply not the case because the Rolls Royce Phantom is the most luxurious car on the planet. However, the Phantom is known to cost more than $600,000 which means that you can buy a few S-Classes for the price of one Phantom,

The S-Class is indeed the benchmark for all executive full-size premium sedans like the Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, and the Jaguar XJ. The S-Class is the most technologically advanced car out of all these while also being more luxurious.

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Marko Mikulic

Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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