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View Poll Results: Which one is your favourite?
W221 69 23.15%
W222 175 58.72%
W223 54 18.12%
Voters: 298. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 17th March 2024, 10:30   #1
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The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

When it comes to luxury sedans, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is arguably the first name that comes to one's mind. It is widely regarded as the best car in the world. With every new generation, there are some new features (which are usually the first seen in any car) added. The S-Class is known to set the benchmark in technology and safety for cars.

Back in 2020, we had a poll in which we voted for our favourite generation of the big S from the time it was launched in 1972. Now, let's shift our focus to the latest three generations. So, please vote and let us know which is your favourite.

W221 (2005-13)



The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223-221f.jpg

Link to Androdev's W221 Ownership Review

The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223-221r.jpg

The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223-221if.jpg

The W221 was the fifth-generation S-Class. It was introduced in 2005 & they say, it was a return to the "Mercedes days of quality", unlike the W220 generation that deteriorated rapidly with age (that's why you don't see any on the road today). It had a crazy amount of tech for the time, but also, it brought a design change that some can see as quirky (IMHO, the body has aged well). A well-maintained W221 will turn heads even today.

W222 (2013-20)



The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223-222f.jpg

Link to Team-BHP's W222 Review

W222 Pros

• The best luxury sedan on sale in India of its time
• Cabin is incredibly opulent & comfy. It's quite the royal experience!
• Superb new inline-6 diesel is paired to a smooth 9-speed gearbox
• Air suspension offers a plush ride & excellent road manners
• Loaded to the gills with technology, equipment & gizmos
• 5-star safety rating & radar-based systems. Among the safest cars ever built

W222 Cons

• Cost of ownership is only for the 'money-no-object' personalities
• Useable boot space is poor (no wheel well for the spare tyre)
• Owners report electronic niggles. Also, concerns over the air suspension's long-term reliability
• Not as much fun to drive as the BMW 7-Series
• Some misses such as no cooled seats at the front
• Sadly, Magic Body Control was not offered on the Indian S-Class

The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223-222r.jpg

The W222 is an enthusiast's favourite - many petrolheads have already replaced the W126/W140 with the W222 as their favourite S-Class.

The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223-222if.jpg

W223 (2020 - present)



The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223-223f.jpg

Link to Team-BHP's W223 Review

W223 Pros

• The best luxury sedan on sale in India. Period
• Truly next-level technology, it's visible everywhere!
• More driver-focused than previous generations; owners will be happy to drive themselves
• Cabin is incredibly opulent & comfy. It's quite the royal experience!
• Powerful & punchy engines on offer
• Marvelous air suspension offers a plush ride & excellent road manners
• Loaded to the gills with technology, equipment & gizmos
• 5-star safety kit & radar-based systems. Among the safest cars ever built

W223 Cons

• Lost some of the classiness & charm as compared to the W222 (outside & inside)
• Pricing (even for CKDs) is going to be noticeably higher than the outgoing generation
• Cost of ownership is only for the 'money-no-object' personalities
• Technology overload and lack of buttons means it's going to glitch out sometimes. Be prepared for it
• Many of the features we see on this launch edition will be removed in the CKDs
• Large 20" wheels with low profile tyres are easy to damage. R18 wheels will be better suited to India
• Usable boot space is limited (no wheel well for the spare tyre)
• Reliability concerns over the air suspension & the car’s very complex electronics

The seventh-generation was unveiled in 2020. The W223 is a lot sharper in appearance than its predecessor. Actually hides its size really well, but many feel the W223 lacks the big-car personality that an S-Class is associated with. It is also miles ahead when it comes to technology. The interior includes up to five displays, OLED technology, 3D driver display, augmented reality head-up display, active ambient lighting, seat kinetics, 4D sound system and drivertainment. We felt it was sharper to drive than the W222 and clearly more driver-oriented, although still very comfortable.

The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223-223r.jpg

The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223-223if.jpg

So, which is your favourite among the three most modern avatars of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class?

Last edited by Aditya : 17th March 2024 at 18:02.
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Old 17th March 2024, 10:33   #2
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re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

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Old 17th March 2024, 11:46   #3
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Re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

All generations are of course fabulous cars - among the best sedans in the world - and they age really well. Even today, a well-maintained W221 turns heads, is super luxurious and safer, more comfortable than 99% of other sedans on the road.

My favourite is the W222 for its styling & presence; I reckon this car will be going down in history as one of the greats. In fact, it has replaced the W140 as a favourite for many petrolheads.

The W223, I enjoyed, but that's it. The presence really isn't S-Class like to me. It's got way too much gadgetry & gimmicks, while the rear seat & suspension (both) surprisingly felt less comfortable than the W222. Suspension is more handling-oriented than any earlier gen S-Class, so it is more fun to drive. But the rear seat's legroom also felt lesser than the W222.

Hope I can own the W222 someday .
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Old 17th March 2024, 15:58   #4
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Re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

Facelift W222 would be my pick - it was a thoroughly perfected design both exterior and interior wise. Looks very majestic and built as if to ferry heads of state.

W223 looks very understated and doesn't stand out from the rest of the model lineup like C and E class. In fact, this particular design looks fantastic on C class, whereas W222 design looks the best on S Class and not so much on C class.

From the time of W222 onwards, Mercedes India started removing features and lowering material quality in the Indian launches. I'm only talking about cars sold in India. You will have to buy Maybach if you want a fully loaded S Class.

A facelift W222 Maybach on grand touring duties would be a perfect S Class to enjoy if someone is feeling lucky!
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Old 18th March 2024, 17:47   #5
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Re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

Voted for W221.

Realised I had a paradox of choice and didn't post any reply, let alone vote in the previous thread. . (Mercedes S-Class: Which is your favourite generation?)

This one would be much more easier to make.

My tryst with S classes ended with the W126 and W140. All other interactions with modern S classes have been purely visual in nature, so take my reasoning with a pinch of salt.

W221 - The Lexus IS like headlights, body coloured inserts in the rear headlights, rear pontoon flares meant it was not exactly love at first sight, but then. When was the S class ever known to be good looking or beautiful? Nah. S classes should exude power and command respect, not just look pretty. The W126 was the in-between of the chrome bumpered Benz and plastic bumpered Benz. The glasshouse kinda looked too upright for the rest of the body. The W140 was also slab sided and also had a glasshouse that was too upright, and less said about the asymmetric dashboard design. But they exuded power, just like how the W221 looked IRL on the road. The sum of the parts always looked greater than how each individual part looked. From four cylinder taxi versions to V12 Pullman versions, this was peak S class that tried to straddle different segments without sacrificing daily driveability. Decent enough ground clearance, high profile tyres, spare wheel well, FNG friendly, not toooo much reliance on electronics , buttons here and there.

W222 - It got the cleaner design I preferred, but with the new Merc design language and more rounded shape, it lost the powerful aura. Yes, the size helped, the huge wheel sizes helped, the Maybach versions helped, but the russian doll approach was too obvious when you had to identify C,E,S by the headlight LED strips from a distance. Also you feel that Merc had aimed for the Bentley segment, which can be seen in the luxurious interiors. But for me who grew up seeing W126s with roof racks and the S class used as daily drivers, the ascent of the S class to untouchable luxury levels felt uneasy.

W223 - Feels like disposable luxury. Like a car made for the lease segment. Instead of pioneering like they always do, Merc ended up following Tesla when designing the interiors. Not sure if it is like that in real life, but seeing many international reviews pointing out that the interior quality is going down. (though kinda unbelievable) . Nothing really desirable about the W223. Feels weird saying this, but more excited seeing the Genesis G90 than The S Class.
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Old 19th March 2024, 10:03   #6
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Re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

For me it's the W221 preface lift. The W222 is beautiful but the 221 had that old school mercedes wibe, like the W140 and W126 etc. Slightly more boxy and classic mercedes grille mare it stand out from other Mercs, unlike the W222. I also love the rear tail lamp design, so distinctive even Today.
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Old 19th March 2024, 10:06   #7
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Re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

I'd go with W221. Looks stately, commands respect in my opinion. Loved the W222 but the trickled down the design language to every other Merc sedan and this robs it off the exclusivity factor.

No offence to the owner, but W223 is kinda joke in the name of an S- Class. An S-Class has to blend in old world charm with technology. It has to be a budget Rolls or Bentley. But with the W223, it has become merely a competitor to the A8 and 7 serious. There's hardly any wood, it's become a tablet on wheels and a few years ago, who on earth could imagine their S-Class rattling! For me, W223 has lost the charm of the "S" and gone back to the reason why the competition couldn't catch up till date. Being solely techy ain't an S-Class. It's an A8 thing.
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Old 19th March 2024, 10:23   #8
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Re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

While I love the exterior styling of W223, I have voted for the W222, the interiors of W223 are too modern and do not go as well with the class of the car, W222 has a lovely interior design which is modern and luxurious at the same time!
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Old 19th March 2024, 11:09   #9
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Re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

I'd go with the W221 S class. I love the RX8 type wheel arches, the subtly aggressive headlights and tail lights. It has curves on the right places but looks like its carved from a single block of granite. I love the W204 C class for the same reason. Solid with restrained aggression.

Last edited by Axe77 : 19th March 2024 at 11:35.
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Old 19th March 2024, 11:44   #10
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Re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

I voted W221 because it has the nearest signature triangle shaped RIBBED tail lights of a typical S class which ruled the world for 4 decades. As we see now the modern Mercedes cars with a lot of over emphasis in aerodynamics etc, we are slowly not seeing the signature tail lights of ribbed Mercedes lights any more ( may be the new generation may like these but I am from old school having travelled in my father’s Mercedes in 1970s. In fact, I bought my C class in early 2000s because the triangular ribbed tail light of C class kompressor looks exactly like S class aka mini S class in those days. The look is eternal.)

It is very important for automobile designers especially the luxury cars to keep in mind about the signature tail light shapes and not go with the trend. Now, it is difficult to distinguish Mercedes from any other car out there by looking at the tail lights.

Last edited by Mystic : 19th March 2024 at 12:06.
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Old 19th March 2024, 11:51   #11
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Re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

W222 is my choice. Since all models from the generation follow the same DNA, the same could be said for lower models too especially the C-Class that really came together as baby S-Class in the same generation. In my opinion this is also the generation where Mercedes can claim a distinct design superiority over BMW generation for generation in the recent past.
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Old 19th March 2024, 13:22   #12
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Re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

Maybach 57 had some influence on W221 design as can be seen here:

The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223-maybach57.jpeg

The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223-w221.jpeg
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Old 19th March 2024, 13:43   #13
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Re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

IMO the W222 facelift was a great mix between old school luxury and new school gadgetry. Any generation that came before or after the W222 seemingly skews this balance. Example: On-screen functions with physical buttons. It is also the best looking S-class model till date. My vote for the W222 facelift
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Old 19th March 2024, 13:57   #14
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Re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

Hi,
Voted for W223. Frankly i am not aware of the technical and entire capability of the models.
Only based on the pure looks I voted for W223.
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Old 19th March 2024, 14:00   #15
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Re: The Modern Mercedes S-Class | W221 vs W222 vs W223

My pick would be the W221 S-Class. Classic Mercedes styling with an old school touch. Look at one today on the road and it still holds it own with more modern machinery. This was the last S-Class that had distinct styling and character of its own.

The W222 and the W223 seem to me like L size of the Mercedes sedan with similar styling with that of the C and the E-Class.

Even the interior of the W221 still looks so elegant even today along with nice big dials and high quality buttons.

A friend of mine had bought one of the first W221s to go on sale in India. It was a CBU and had the works like a night vision camera. He had even specced it with AMG rims. That car went like a ship wafting on Indian roads.

Look at a W221 S65 AMG and it is nothing short of mafia feels especially in black.

That said my second choice would be the W222 facelift.
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