The evolution of luxury: 10 years of the S-Class

As we celebrate our 10-year anniversary, we look back at the evolution of our most popular vehicle – the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Mercedes-Benz’s flagship vehicle, the S-Class, or “special class”, has become synonymous with luxury and technical innovation. From spacious interiors to 4D surround-sound systems, each iteration of the S-Class reflects Blacklane’s own dedication to service quality, which is why it has been an integral part of our global fleet.

We can’t celebrate and reflect on our past decade of service without taking a look at the incredible S-Class vehicles that have made up our fleet over the years.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class – 221 model series

The 221 model series – which was produced from 2005-2013 – was our first S-Class series in the Blacklane fleet. It was noticeably different from its predecessor and had a wealth of new technical innovations. Night View Assist, better proximity-controlled cruise control, Parking Assist, and autonomous partial braking helped move the S-Class further towards a vision for accident-free driving.

This S-Class also created a more enjoyable experience for passengers. The interior was more spacious and had an optional sliding sunroof. It was also the first S-Class with a four-cylinder engine and the first production car awarded an environmental certificate for using components that were made of renewable and recyclable materials.

Mercedes-Maybach S-Class – 222 model series

The 222 model series was launched in 2013 with a renewed focus on the driving experience, interlinking sensors with systems in a function coined by the company as “Intelligent Drive”.

This model series featured systems capable of detecting crossing traffic and pedestrians for the first time and triggered a response to the risk of rear collision, giving it “360-degree all-round vision”. 

This S-Class did away with conventional light bulbs, replacing them with LED lights both inside and out to maximize on longevity and reduce power consumption. The exterior lights also varied in intensity depending on the brightness of its surroundings. 

The combination of stitched leather and classic wood trim made every ride a luxurious experience. And, with a Business centre console featuring a telephone handset, stowage compartments and a folding table, this was the perfect vehicle to get work done from the back seat. 

Mercedes-Benz S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID

Showing that luxury can thrive in the hybrid vehicle space, Mercedes-Benz released this luxury saloon in 2014 with an all-electric range of up to 33 kilometers. 

The vehicle was capable of automatically selecting the ideal combination of combustion engine and electric motor by using battery status and route calculations, which could be overridden manually if preferred. 

An extended pre-entry climate control system also meant this S-Class hybrid was capable of preheating to the present temperature before the start of a trip – including seats, steering wheel, and armrests – which created the perfect environment for passengers and chauffeurs at any time of the day.

Mercedes-Benz S 560 e

In 2018, Mercedes-Benz improved on it’s 2014 plug-in hybrid system with the S 560 e, featuring a V6 petrol engine with an electric output of 90 kW.

It also housed an improved yet smaller lithium-ion battery, capable of reaching full charge within five hours from a conventional domestic power socket.

It’s ECO Assist function used the vehicle’s driving assistance systems to suggest when to lessen acceleration both via a display and resistance of the accelerator pedal. This helped to reduce use of the combustion engine as much as possible and create a smooth ride for passengers.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class – 223 model series

Creating a more immersive experience for the driver, the 223 model series released in 2020 features a new 3D driver display, providing spatial perception. The display also hosts augmented reality – projecting driving directions directly onto the display.

Using interior cameras to judge head direction and hand movements, the vehicle can automatically adjust settings to suit the driver’s needs. New software called OTA (over-the-air) means the infotainment system, display, and driving and lighting systems can all be updated without having to visit a workshop.

For passengers, there are 10 different massage settings available in the rear seats, which combine warmth and vibration to create a peaceful and calming ride. Thanks to the integration of the Burmester® high-end 4D surround sound system, you can not only hear music but also feel it with direct sound resonance through the seats. 

All of this combines to create an intelligent driving experience tailored to each individual, which is why we’re proud to include the S-Class in all our fleets here at Blacklane.