Retro Cars Wiki

Mercedes' imposing S-Class slotted neatly between BMW's 7-series and the Bentley Brooklands. As it competed with the compact C-Class and midsize E-Class, Mercedes created a broad range of S-Class models out of one basic platform by the use of different engines and trim levels.

During the 1990s, the S600 was the only 4-door sedan in America that was sold at more than $90,000 and $100,000.

Year-to-year changes[]

1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 Discontinued
350SD 300SD S350D 4DR Sedan N/A 1995
300SE 300SE S320 4DR Sedan 1999
420SEL 400SE 400SEL S420 4DR Sedan
560SEL 500SEL S500 4DR Sedan 2006
560SEC N/A 500SEC S500 2DR Coupe CL500 2DR Coupe
N/A 600SEL S600 4DR Sedan Still current
N/A 600SEC S600 2DR Coupe CL600 2DR Coupe 2014


Before the 1990s generation of the S-Class, the '80s generation had differently named models: 300SE, 300SEL, 350SD, 350SDL, 420SEL, and 560SEL.


The base S-Class sedan was available with either a 3.5-liter 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel (300SD) or a 3.2-liter dohc gasoline Six (300SE). This was the same gas engine from the midsize 300E. Also, the 400SE and 500SEL shared V8s with E-Class cars (the 400E and 500E). The turbodiesel, in fact, was the only engine unique to the S-Class. The mighty 6.0-liter V12 of the 600SEL was also found in the 600SL.


A 2-door coupe on a shortened sedan chassis was added in 1993, and was available either as a 500SEC V8 or 600SEC V12. It was unveiled at the 1992 North American International Auto Show on January 9, 1992 and went on sale on October 13, 1992.

On the other hand, the swb 400SE was now only came in lwb 400SEL guise.


Most of the S-Class's entire lineup was renamed. The 300SE was now the S320, the 300SD now as the S350D, the 400SEL as the S420, the 500SEC and 500SEL now just as the S500, and the 600SEC and 600SEL now just as the S600.

Despite sharing engines with smaller Mercedes, the S-Class had a feeling all its own. Though it was no longer than other full-size luxury sedans, the S weighed 2 1/2 tons, which made it feel big. Handling and braking were superb, however, and acceleration, at least with the two biggest engines, was startling for such massive machines. As expected, there was a dazzling list of standard features, including such things as traction control, thermo-pane window glass, 12-way power seats with three memory settings, an 11-speaker Bose sound system, power door latches, infrared remote door locks, a built-in antitheft system and, on the S500 and S600, a cellular phone.


Except for the two V12 models (the S600s), prices on S-Class models have been reduced by nearly $5000 to $8000 compared to the 1994 models. They went on sale in June 1994.

The short wheelbase S320 was also released halfway through this model year, replacing the short wheelbase only S350D.

Retail prices[]

As of September 22, 1993:

  • $130,300 (1994-1996 Mercedes-Benz S600 4DR Sedan)
  • $133,300 (1994-1996 Mercedes-Benz S600 2DR Coupe)

As of May 24, 1994:

  • $65,900 (1995-1996 Mercedes-Benz S350D and S320 with long wheelbase)
  • $73,900 (1995-1996 Mercedes-Benz S420)
  • $87,500 (1995-1996 Mercedes-Benz S500 4DR Sedan)
  • $91,900 (1995-1996 Mercedes-Benz S500 2DR Coupe)

As of February 3, 1995:

  • $62,700 (1995-1996 Mercedes-Benz S320 with short wheelbase)


Video Clips[]


Mercedes Benz S320 4DR Sedan


Mercedes Benz S600 4DR Sedan