Mercedes S Class S55 (W220)
In July 1998, the W220 was introduced. The W220 S-Class was completely restyled, with a body that was slightly smaller and lighter than its predecessor. The new S-Class a renewed focus on elegance and style in a more rounded shape compared to the preceding W140. Production of the W220 S-Class totalled 485,000 units, slightly more than the production totals from the W140.
The W220 brought innovations such as Airmatic air suspension and Active Ventilated Seats. A navigation system with centre console-mounted screen display was introduced, along with the COMAND input control system. Other options included keyless entry and ignition, a radar-controlled Distronic cruise control system and a cylinder shut-off system called Active Cylinder Control. The 4MATIC all-wheel drive system was introduced to the North America market S-Class for 2003, complementing the traditional rear-wheel drive configurations.0
The W220 S-Class received an exterior refresh with updates to the front fascia. The grille angle was adjusted to a slightly more upright position, and the xenon-discharge headlamps were given a new transparent housing, replacing the earlier opaque versions. The front bumper’s lower air intakes were also restyled. 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.
The W220 was available with more engine options than the W126 or W140. The range started with smaller 3.2L 224 hp (167 kW) V6 motor, which was superseded by an enlarged 3.7 L 245 hp (183 kW) V6 in the S350. The S430 was powered by a 4.3 L 279 hp (208 kW) V8 and the S500 was powered by a 5.0 L 306 hp (228 kW) V8. The S55 AMG was outfitted with a supercharged 5.4 L 493 hp (368 kW) V8 motor, the S55 AMG 2000/2001 was outfitted with the naturally aspirated 5.4 L 367 hp (274 kW) V8 motor. The S600 was outfitted with a 5.5 L 493 hp (368 kW) V12 twin turbo engine, the S600 2000/2001 was outfitted with the naturally aspirated 5.8 L 367 hp (274 kW) V12 engine.
For one month in 2001, AMG produced the S63 AMG, which was sold in very limited numbers. The S63 was powered by a 6.3 L 444 hp (331 kW) V12. An undisclosed number of them were sold exclusively through AMG in European and Asian markets. A handful of the S600 AMG “collector’s edition” were produced in the later years of the W220, much the same specs as the S63 AMG, but with an improved interior and voice command. The S600 AMG was one of the earlier models to be introduced with the Euro 4 emissions system. The S65 AMG was introduced in 2003 and went on sale in 2004 as a 2005 model. Powered by a 6.0 L 612 horsepower (456 kW) V12 twin turbo motor, the S65 was the most powerful S-Class, as well as the world’s most powerful production sedan. The S65 had a 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) time of 4.2 seconds (conservative MB estimate) and an owner-tested time of 3.8 seconds and could reach 100 mph (160 km/h) under 9 seconds. Furthermore, a simple software upgrade pushes the engine to 740 hp and well over 850 ft/lbs tq.