The Mercedes Benz S-Class is a full-size luxury sedan made for those who want to enjoy the highest levels of luxury Mercedes Benz can offer. The S-Class has been around for decades now and there are quite a few different S-Class models. Some of them are better than others which means that it makes sense to buy some, and it definitely makes sense to avoid some.
Reliability-wise, the S-Class was never really the best because S-Class models tend to be incredibly complex. They are packed with all the comfort, safety, technology, and convenience features which means that the S-Class offers more of everything when compared to lesser models. With so many features on board, the number of potential issues also seems to grow.
The worst Mercedes Benz S-Class model years to avoid are all the model years of the W220 model (1999-2006). The W220 is undeniably the worse S-Class to ever come out. We also need to mention the 2007 S-Class as it also seems to be one of the most complained about S-Class model years yet.
Finally, we will round up the list with the 2014 S-Class which also seems to be relatively problematic. However, the fact of the matter is that only the W220 S-Class is bad and should not be considered on the 2nd hand market while all newer S-Class models can be great used car purchases if you are able to live with high-maintenance costs.
1999-2006 Mercedes Benz S-Class W220
The 1999-2006 Mercedes Benz S-Class W220 is by far the worst S-Class generation yet. All model years of the W220 are worse than any other model year of any other S-Class generation. The reason why the W220 is so hated is that it suffers from countless issues, many of which are downright abysmal. First of all, the car is prone to rust, so much so that it can eat the entire car up.
Secondly, the car’s suspension system is known to fail on every model there is. Sagging, bottoming out, and knocking noises are common traits of the W220. The transmission is slow and often clunky, the electrics are failing left and right, and the overall quality of the W220 is worse than some economy-level cars had back in the day.
The late 90s and early 2000s saw a huge transition in the Mercedes Benz philosophy because they stopped making indestructible cars. Cars that came before the W220 were better built with higher-end materials both inside and out.
2007 Mercedes Benz S-Class
The 2007 Mercedes Benz S-Class is a much better car when compared to the W220, but it was the very first model year of the W221 S-Class which meant that the car had an acclimation period. The very first model suffered from a bunch of issues related to the suspension, overheating, and transmission which caused recalls left and right.
It’s not to say that the 2007 S-Class is a bad car, but rather that it does not manage to be as reliable as most people would’ve hoped for. Either way, Mercedes still needs to be commended for ditching the W220 S-Class philosophy and finally making a car that is worth its asking price.
Even though the 2007 S-Class is not one of the best S-Class models of all time, it can be a good used car purchase if you manage to find a decent example at the right price. These can be had for a really low price right now which means there are deals waiting to be made with the W221 S-Class.
2014 Mercedes Benz S-Class
The 2014 Mercedes Benz S-Class W222 is the previous generation of the S-Class which means that it is a fairly modern car. However, the 2014 W222 was the very first model year of the W222 generation which means that it also had a rough start. The car was recalled a few times due to issues with leaky turbochargers and front seat belts.
The car was also recalled for electrical issues as well. The most common problems of the 2014 S-Class are related to oil leaks, faulty control units, faulty sensors, start-stop issues, engine stalling, or being unwilling to start. There are quite a few problems that we can mention, and it’s safe to say that the 2014 W222 is not the best S-Class there is.
Either way, you can also find good deals on 2014 S-Class models because they are now at a sweet spot. They are really luxurious and comfortable. The post-facelift W222 model is a much better choice from every angle, but it also costs a lot more.
Should I buy a Mercedes Benz S-Class?
If you are interested in buying a full-size luxury sedan, the Mercedes Benz S-Class is the car that defined the segment. Each generation of the S-Class brought something new to the market which means that the S-Class is likely the most innovative car in this segment. The latest three S-Class generations are great potential deals.
On the other hand, the S-Class is too big for many people. It is also a high-maintenance car that costs a lot of money to keep in good condition. It is also heavy and not the most efficient car ever. Parking the S-Class is not a doddle, no matter how advanced the assistance technologies are.
Which Mercedes S-Class model is the best?
There are quite a few great Mercedes Benz S-Class models, but the S65 AMG is always going to be the very best of them all. The S65 AMG is a V12-powered car spruced with AMG magic which makes the car incredibly powerful, yet elegant and sophisticated when you want it to.
A regular 350d diesel is the one to go if you want to spend 99% of your time on the highway while the S-Class Lang is the one to go for if you are in the chauffeuring business.
Why is the Mercedes S-Class so special?
The Mercedes Benz S-Class is a car that made the full-size luxury segment. There are some cars with a Rolls Royce badge that do feel more luxurious than the S-Class, but even a Rolls does not have the technology and the innovative nature of the S-Class. It is the car that set the standards in many ways, and that is why people love it so much.