Part of the S-Class, the Mercedes Benz S320 is a testament to the brand’s commitment to safety, comfort, and state-of-the-art automotive engineering. The roots of the S320 go way back to its predecessor, the Ponton, which was released in 1954. Several decades later, the first official S-Class vehicle was introduced in 1972.
1972-1998: 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-gen models in a nutshell
The first S-Class series was the W116. It featured disc brakes and a four-wheel independent suspension and was available in SE and SEL trims. A total of 473,035 units were produced, which was a groundbreaking achievement for the company. This series’ pioneer safety features include a padded steering wheel, padded window trims, a rainwater management system, and headrests equipped with a center depression.
The second-generation series (W126) continued to trail the blaze when it comes to engineering and safety. Its features included a more aerodynamic exterior and a bigger aluminum engine block. These were complemented by a new cruise control system and a top-of-the-range 450 SEL 6.9 engine.
The third-gen series (W140), which was more expensive than the W116, featured electric windows, rear-parking markers, double-pane glaze for the windows, a self-closing boot lid, and an upgraded heating system.
1999-2005: Introduction of the S320 and other engine models
Smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the W220 or fourth-generation series under the S-Class was introduced in 1998. Although this series was more focused on style, it was still able to deliver in terms of performance and safety. Cars under this series also came in different engine configurations and models that included the S320. Standard S320 features include a high-tech navigation system, the Airmatic air suspension, Active Ventilated seats, a radar-controlled cruise control system, and the 4MATIC all-wheel drive layout. In terms of reliability, the S320 along with the other fourth-gen S-Class cars earned a 9/10 expert rating from MSN Autos and a 5/5 reliability rating from Edmunds.
In 2002, several upgrades were introduced. This generation introduced the first-ever pre-emptive safety system and received an upgrade on its front fascia. The grille’s position was adjusted and a new transparent housing covered the Xenon headlights.
2005-2013: The all-new S320 CDI under the W221 series
For the fifth-generation S-Class vehicles, engine options now included the S250 CDI, S300, S350, S400 HYBRID, and the S320 and S420 CDI. Introduced at the North American International Auto Show in 2006, the S320 CDI and other W221 models feature dimensions larger than their predecessor and new engines. The interior materials became more luxurious and a column-mounted shifter replaced the transmission gear lever. High-tech features include the latest pre-collision system developed by Mercedes Benz and a Night View Assist system that uses infrared.
In 2010, the Xenon lamps were now equipped with LED lights and the rear LED lights were rearranged. A new front bumper and a redesigned grille were added for a sleeker interior. In 2013, the last S320 was produced. The W221 was then followed by the W222 series under the sixth generation.