The Mercedes Benz W222 is the previous generation S-Class which means that it costs significantly less than the new W223 model, yet it does offer 90% of the overall experience. The W222 is still ahead of its curve and can easily compete with some of the world’s newest full-size luxury sedans.
The W222 didn’t fare all that well when it comes to reliability, but there are significant discrepancies between the pre-facelift and the post-facelift model. The post-facelift model is much better because Mercedes managed to fix many issues that plagued the pre-facelift model straight off the production line.
The most common W222 issues are associated with the transmission, oil leaks, seatbelt tensioners, electrical issues, and issues with air suspension. The reality is that a car as complex as the S-Class will always require you to maintain it as best as possible. Otherwise, the repair and maintenance costs will ramp up significantly.
All in all, the W222 is not the most reliable S-Class you can buy, but it is one of the best S-Class models you can buy. It is fairly new, but it does not cost nearly as much as the brand-new W223 model, especially given the current supply chain issues.
Mercedes W222 transmission issues
The transmission on the W222 is not exactly faulty by itself. Sure, there are some transmission issues such as jittery shifts, delayed shifts, and lack of responsiveness, but the issue here is that the positioning of the alternator and the exhaust system means that the transmission wiring harness could get damaged due to high temperatures.
These are simply way too close to each other which means that such issues typically cause the transmission to refuse to shift in park or to completely go out of gear. This issue is so big that Mercedes even issued a widespread recall which included virtually all Mercedes Benz S350 models. Be sure to check if the model you are looking at has been part of the recall or not.
Mercedes W222 oil leak issues
The W222 is also known for potential oil leaks, especially on the pre-facelift 2014 model. The seal ring between the timing tensioner and the engine housing is known to leak oil which can cause all sorts of issues. For one, the oil typically finds its way onto the road which puts all other road users at risk of losing control
Secondly, the oil can end up in places such as wiring harnesses which could cause a myriad of issues with the car’s electricals. Mercedes also issued a recall because of this and it is worth mentioning that the worst oil leaks are typically associated with the OM651 turbo-diesel engine.
Mercedes W222 seatbelt tensioner issues
Mercedes issued two recalls in order to fix issues with the seatbelt tensioners on both the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat. The issue here is that the tensioner was not properly calibrated by the factory. This can result in the tensioner not being able to provide the tension necessary to shield you in an event of an accident.
Therefore, if the tensioner fails, the risks of catastrophic injuries are really high. That is why you should inspect the W222 you are looking at to see if these issues have been resolved successfully. It’s never a good idea to risk it with seatbelts as they are a vital piece of overall car safety.
Mercedes W222 electrical issues
The Mercedes W222 S-Class is an extremely complex car because it offers almost everything a car can offer. As such, the car comes with loads of electrical gizmos that are known to break from time to time. The Mercedes PRE-SAFE system is a known fault of the W222 and was also part of a recall during the W222 production.
Another electrical issue with the W222 is the one associated with the emergency contact services system which sometimes loses power. The infotainment system is sometimes known to respond slowly and even completely turn itself off during driving.
Mercedes W222 air suspension issues
A Mercedes S-Class is a car that should always come with a sophisticated air suspension system. However, we are all aware that an air suspension system is complex and can often cause issues. The AIRMATIC system fitted to the W222 is actually not as problematic as some earlier Mercedes air suspension systems, yet it does sometimes experience issues.
Most common air suspension issues are loss of compression, airbag issues, and the car sinking to one side or the other. Either way, most air suspension issues are solved with preventive maintenance, but even with proper maintenance, an air suspension can fail.
Is the Mercedes W222 worth it?
The Mercedes W222 S-Class has lost quite a bit of value since it first came out in 2013. However, the car is still capable of offering you the highest levels of luxury, especially if you go for a post-facelift model. It may be an expensive car to maintain, and it may not be the most reliable used S-Class, but it certainly is worth it.
The reason why the W222 is a good buy right now is that it balances out costs with luxury really well. It is still capable of rivaling brand-new full-size luxury sedans in many regards and many S-Class owners believe that the post-facelift W222 is a better car than the brand new W223 S-Class.
What is the best Mercedes W222 model to buy?
The best W222 model to buy is undoubtedly the post-facelift S560 because it offers a 4.0L BiTurbo V8 and it manages to be superiorly comfortable and even reliable. The V8 is not cheap to maintain, it uses lots of fuel and is not as smooth as a V12.
However, it is more than powerful enough, it should last a long time, and it makes the S-Class feel more dynamic and fun to drive than a 6-cylinder engine while not being as expensive as the V12.
How long can a W222 Mercedes last?
Mercedes is one of those brands that makes cars that feel like they can last a lifetime, and the W222 is certainly one of those cars. All in all, the W222 should be able to last at least 200,000 miles with proper maintenance without needing huge overhauls.