The W220 replaced the W140 S-Class after the 1998 model year
If you care enough to notice, there is an increase in the number of Mercedes Benz E-Classes on the roads today, especially the W211 popularly known as E-Class models 2003 through 2009. Rightly so, it is an excellent choice for entry into the Merc drivers club. In Uganda, when it comes to luxury vehicles, European, specifically German design seems to be prevalent. And the reasons for purchasing such cars range from personal preference, to biased preconceptions.
Here is the thing though, if you are going to go Mercedes, then aim for the best. And this applies to all the top brands. This is the used car market yet for German used cars, depreciation rules more than mighty gravity, why not go for the S-class of the time. I understand that 2003 through 2009, there are over-lapping S class models, the W220 and W221, however, in the earlier years, the W220 had matured and the last model years are quite a steal.
There exists the perception that if you are driving a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, you are driving the very best cars of its time. Yes, some will argue that there are other luxury flagship cars like the BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, Jaguar XJ, sure, but none of them are supposed to be as good as the S. The Mercedes Benz S Class W220 was manufactured from 1998 through 2005 and it is not just the best Mercedes, it is supposed to be a cut above everything else, and a kind of window into the future; a preview of features we will see on ordinary cars 15 or 20 years to come.
The W220 S-Class is a big, long, rich and luxurious car, with a dignity of design appropriate for technological flagship. No one will mistake it for anything other than a Mercedes. Separate the styling from the image, and this car is sleek, given its size. I have always found that silver or white makes the W220 just pop. In fact, no one does silver better than Mercedes-Benz. Throw in the right sport rims and you have a winner that shall turn heads for a very long time. Though when not taken care of, this car rapidly loses its dignity and frowns from onlookers are bound.
Sit in a Mercedes S-Class and you immediately feel different, despite having emerged over 15 years ago. The interior exudes luxury with wood strips and accents sweeping across the instrument panel from door to door in a graceful manner. The rear seats have lots of space and are just as comfortable as the front seats. The interior, when taken care of, is bound to age well. Though the earlier types tend to look dated with the terrible graphics on the display panel.
The W220 has a wide variety of engine selections; from the lowest size 2.8L V6, the reliable 3.2L V6 to the extremely powerful 6L S65 AMG, with a twin-turbocharged V-12 producing 604 horsepower.
This S-Class maintenance is not very different from any Mercedes from its time. However, many examples are equipped with the Airmatic Suspension. Many times these fail and are so costly to repair as the recommended repair is replacement of the whole system; a price so hard to stomach for many. An Airmatic pump will require calibration with the star machine (Special Diagnostic Machine for Mercedes) once fitted, for instance.
If you have driven one, I am sure you are impressed as it is pretty and technologically advanced. The engines are great and will run forever, as long as they are properly maintained. But these “modern” Mercs are way too complicated; there is more stuff that will break looking at their age and there are sensors to monitor other sensors and believe me, those sensors are quite expensive.
So should you buy an S-Class? Well, yes if you can stomach the initial cost and subsequent expenses, but most importantly, do your homework diligently before purchasing a car.
According to topspeed.com, at the Paris Motor Show in September 1998, the public was introduced to six S-Class sedans in the W 220 series, which succeeded the W 140 series after seven and a half years. It was almost delicate by direct comparison, for somehow the designers succeeded in accommodating the same feeling of space and presence within a much more slender body.