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Mercedes-Benz S-Class W221 (2006 - 2014)

Last updated 3 October 2016

Wonderfully luxurious. High-class cabin. Superb refinement on the move. The best looking saloon this size. Improved again from 2010.
Feels as big as it looks. Sophisticated systems expensive to maintain and replace. Costly servicing and tyres.
Updated 1 July 2016

Report of 2007 Mercedes S221 S320CDI developing erratic gearchanges and failure to shift from default or move into reverse. After restart it would be OK then start again. Gearbox torque converter and...

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The old W220 S-Class was to most eyes a beautiful looking car, the svelte lines of which belie its bulk. It was a great favourite, selling 17,852 in the UK alone, the most common car parked kerbside outside the embassies and consulates of Kensington. Now you can pick one up used for around £12,000 they are even gracing the station taxi ranks of posh suburbs like Walton-on-Thames.

I liked the car very much. Always felt at ease behind the wheel of a big Benz, especially the twin-turbo S600 and the LHD only S500 4-Matic that cornered in the wet as you might imagine a Mitsubishi Evo limousine.

But the car had its critics. Not enough boot room was one complaint. Quite a lot of niggles. And a perception that quality of build and materials used was progressively downgraded. Add to that extremely high servicing and repair costs and there had to be another reason why 70% - 90% of owners stayed loyal to the model rather than desert to Audi, BMW, Lexus or Jaguar.

The looks? The 3 pointed star? The way the car drives? What it says about them? Make your up own mind if you aren't already an S-Class owner and know.

Next: Model History

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