Mercedes-Benz S-Class Years To Avoid (Best and Worst)

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Years To Avoid – When considering luxury sedans that embody elegance, innovation, and opulence, few can rival the timeless appeal of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Crafted by the renowned German automaker Mercedes-Benz, a division of Daimler AG, the S-Class series represents the pinnacle of automotive excellence.

Its designation, “Sonderklasse” in German or “special class” in English, fittingly encapsulates the unparalleled experience it delivers.

The legacy of the S-Class has been etched into the history of luxury sedans. Renowned as a symbol of prestige and technological advancement, the S-Class has consistently set industry standards for comfort, safety, and innovation.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Years To Avoid

Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to pioneering cutting-edge features, interior luxuries, and performance enhancements through the S-Class has had a far-reaching impact, elevating the entire automotive landscape.

Yet, as with any exceptional lineage, there have been variations in reliability over the years.

While the Mercedes-Benz S-Class remains highly esteemed, it’s important to acknowledge that certain model years have exhibited more dependable performance than others.

In this article, we delve into the Mercedes-Benz S-Class years to avoid, shedding light on the reasons these particular iterations might not align with your expectations.

Let’s commence our exploration.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Years To Avoid

Luxury cars have always held a distinct allure, representing the epitome of comfort, innovation, and style. However, within the realm of luxury, not all roads lead to reliability.

This holds true for the venerable Mercedes-Benz S-Class as well.

While the S-Class is celebrated for its opulence and advancements, certain years in its storied history have proven to be less dependable.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Years To Avoid

Explore the worst Mercedes-Benz S-Class years to avoid, offering a detailed overview of the issues plaguing these models and providing insights that empower potential buyers to make informed decisions.

2001 and 2002 Mercedes-Benz S600: Unraveling the M137 V12 Engine Woes

The years 2001 and 2002 have etched themselves as chapters of caution in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class saga. At the heart of this concern lies the M137 V12 engine, notorious for creating a trail of complications.

Here’s an insightful breakdown of the predicaments associated with S-Class models housing this engine:

The M137 V12 engine’s potency, while awe-inspiring, can trigger a cascade of troubles. The intense forces it generates are capable of warping the very structure of the engine’s cylinder walls.

This distortion serves as an unwelcome invitation for oil to seep into the combustion chamber, initiating a sequence of destructive events.

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Rectifying this requires the extreme measure of replacing the entire engine, though even this solution does not guarantee immunity from recurrence.

Moreover, the affliction of oil infiltrating the cylinders can initiate a domino effect, contaminating downstream components and initiating a relentless cycle of part failures.

The ultimate consequence?

Steep repair bills and the untimely demise of the engine.

In a parallel narrative, the two-door counterpart to the S600 christened the CL600, was powered by the same problematic M137 V12 engine. Hence, prudence dictates steering clear of both the S600 and the 2001-2002 CL600 editions.

Further insights garnered from discussions on unravel additional facets of the M137 V12 engine’s tribulations:

1999-2006 Mercedes-Benz S-Class W220 Models: An Epoch of Ailments

The span from 1999 to 2006 witnessed the emergence of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class W220 model, a period not without its share of complications.

Evidently, this era deserves a place on the list of worst Mercedes-Benz S-Class years to avoid.

The W220 model’s dossier of issues reads like a cautionary tale:

  1. Rust: The specter of rust looms over these models, particularly the older incarnations. Corrosion targets various domains, including the undercarriage and areas adjacent to the headlights, tainting the aesthetic and structural integrity.
  2. Airmatic Suspension: Trouble in the air suspension paradise surfaces as malfunctioning air struts and insidious leaks pave the way for an unwelcome sag in the vehicle’s stance.
  3. Electrical Gremlins: Electrical glitches have taken residence in the W220 models, manifesting as troublesome headlights, finicky doors, erratic switches, and an unexplained drain on the battery.
  4. Steering Turmoil: A torque steer emerges as an unwelcome companion, steering the vehicle during acceleration. Often, this predicament stems from issues within the suspension or wheel alignment.
  5. Engine Quandaries: The W220 roster is not without engine woes. The OM 628 engine grapples with timing irregularities, while the M137 engine has an appetite for oil leakage.

It is important to note that not all models within this range may exhibit these problems, underlining the significance of a thorough pre-purchase inspection when contemplating a used car acquisition.

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2007 Mercedes-Benz S550: A Year Marred by Woes

In the annals of Mercedes-Benz S-Class history, the year 2007 assumes a less celebrated role. The 2007 Mercedes-Benz S550 stands as a model that should be approached with caution by prospective buyers.

A meticulous analysis by Hotcars underscores the reasons for this trepidation:

1. Inferior Quality Gear: The M273 engine in the 2007 S-Class harbors a weak link in the form of a small gear interlinked with the timing chain. Crafted from subpar metal, this gear’s teeth are prone to degradation and detachment, heralding a chain reaction of woes.

The ensuing aftermath includes a lit check engine light and camshaft timing discrepancies, with severe implications.

Left unattended, the timing chain’s slip can result in a catastrophic piston-valve collision, necessitating dire solutions such as engine replacement or even the quest for a new vehicle.

2. Complex Repair Odyssey: Addressing the deficient gear mandates a complex choreography of engine removal, component replacement, and intricate reassembly. This intricate dance inevitably leads to considerable expenditures in terms of both time and money.

3. Balance Shaft Conundrums: 2004 to 2008 Mercedes models equipped with the M272 V6 piston engines, including the 2007 S-Class, grapple with balance shaft issues.

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Enthusiasts eyeing this model may find solace in selecting later iterations and verifying that they evade the clutches of the afflicted engine serial numbers.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Best Years

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a beacon of luxury and sophistication, has long captivated automotive enthusiasts with its opulence and cutting-edge technology.

As you consider embarking on the journey of owning a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, it’s essential to navigate the sea of options and pinpoint the years that stand as exemplars of both elegance and dependability.

We unveil the best Mercedes-Benz S-Class years, providing insights into their features, performance, and enduring reliability.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Best Years

Let’s delve into the timeline of excellence and discover the pinnacle of automotive craftsmanship.

2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class: A Symphony of Opulence and Performance

The year 2009 beckoned an era of unparalleled luxury and innovation within the Mercedes-Benz S-Class lineup.

This model year set itself apart with its opulent finishing, pioneering technology, and remarkable performance that stood heads and shoulders above its contemporaries.

Adorned with all-wheel drive (AWD) capability and refined handling prowess, the 2009 S-Class showcased the brand’s commitment to engineering excellence.

Offering a trio of trim options, the 2009 model boasted features such as Distronic cruise control, immersive surround sound audio, and adaptive seats that cocooned occupants in supreme comfort.

The sentiment among owners resonates with, which aptly hails the 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class as the benchmark for those seeking an all-encompassing ultra-luxury sedan.

While embodying faultless comfort and style, the 2009 S-Class, like many luxury vehicles, does come with a discerning price tag.

Yet, countless drivers have attested to the near “fault-free” performance of their 2009 models over a decade of ownership.

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It’s worth noting that, though not the most fuel-efficient option, this luxury sedan continues to stand tall as a testament to timeless engineering brilliance.

2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class: Unveiling a Legacy of Comfort and Safety

As the year 2012 emerged, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class maintained its legacy of comfort and safety, even if its design did not make an overwhelming impact compared to its luxury peers.

While the exterior design might not have been the centerpiece, the interior space proved roomy and accommodating, comfortably seating five passengers.

The 2012 model distinguished itself with a refined, smooth ride, exuding an air of tranquility in motion. Setting the standard for safety, this S-Class iteration came equipped with high-quality safety features that assured both driver and passengers of a secure journey.

Gaining plaudits from various quarters, the 2012 S-Class received an impressive overall score of 8.9/10 from, accompanied by a critic’s rating of 9/10.

The Detroit News echoes the sentiment, highlighting the S550’s embodiment of technology begetting more technology, a quintessential aspect of the S-Class legacy.

Further underlining its reliability, the 2012 model garnered a 4/5 rating on the J.D. Power reliability scorecard.

While a singular recall for a faulty fuel system was noted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it’s important to remember that any vehicles produced between April 18, 2011, and July 12, 2011, should have undergone dealership attention.

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2020-2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class: A New Chapter of Excellence

Embracing the years 2020 and 2021, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class embarked on a new chapter of excellence, marked by reliability and unparalleled performance.

Beyond its legacy of luxury, these model years emerged with updated exterior and interior designs, complemented by a host of new and advanced technology features.

The heart of these models, their engines, showcased improved performance and fuel efficiency, catering to both driving enthusiasts and those prioritizing economical operation. lauds the 2020 model with a stellar 4.9/5 consumer rating, a testament to its continued acclaim among owners.

Owners of the 2020 and 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class models have consistently reported minimal significant issues, indicating a high level of satisfaction with their vehicles.

It is imperative to remember that regular maintenance and timely issue resolution remain integral to ensuring the longevity and unwavering reliability of any vehicle.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Problems

Since its debut in 1972, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has set the benchmark for luxury and sophistication in the automotive world.

With a legacy spanning decades, this iconic series has enthralled enthusiasts with its opulent design, cutting-edge technology, and commanding performance.

However, beneath its elegant fa├žade, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has encountered its fair share of challenges.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Problems

We delve into the common problems that have plagued various model years of the S-Class, shedding light on issues that owners and potential buyers should be aware of.

1. Braking Problems: A Halt to Confidence

Brake failure, a concerning issue in any vehicle, has manifested in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, leaving drivers in a state of alarm.

Reports have emerged of brake failure occurrences accompanied by brake light alerts, potentially compromising the safety of both the driver and passengers.

The sudden activation of brake assistance without a preceding vehicle has also been a source of disruption, raising questions about the very system designed to prevent collisions.

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2. Electrical Failure: The Complex Web Unraveled

The complexity of the S-Class’s intricate electrical wiring has given rise to issues, particularly in recent model years.

Failures within the electrical system impacted the functionality of the e-call system, posing challenges for passengers seeking emergency assistance after an accident.

A separate electrical glitch led to the improper disabling of applications during driving, resulting in driver distraction and heightened crash risk.

While a recall was issued to address the latter problem, it underscores the need for seamless integration of technology within luxury vehicles.

3. Tire Failure: On the Edge of Tread Wear

Reports of Pirelli P Zero tire failure in the 2022 models have spotlighted issues related to tire quality and performance. Instances of complete tire blowouts have left drivers stranded and concerned for their safety.

These failures underscore the importance of equipping luxury vehicles with tires that match the standard of excellence expected from the S-Class lineup.

4. Structural and Body Problems: A Blemish on Luxury

Luxury vehicles should offer a seamless blend of aesthetics and functionality, yet the S-Class has faced challenges in this realm.

Complaints about wind noise emanating from front windows, heavy doors, malfunctioning door features, and shattering sunroofs have dampened the experience for some owners.

The subpar execution of structural and body components raises questions about the commitment to delivering uncompromised luxury.

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5. Diesel Leaks: A Flaw in Fluid Control

The emergence of diesel leaks in certain model years, particularly in the 2014 W222 models, has raised concerns over engine integrity and safety.

The leakage issue, linked to O-ring seals, has prompted recalls due to the potential fire risk and engine damage.

Addressing this problem is crucial to ensuring the longevity and reliability of affected vehicles.

6. Overheating of the Wiring Harness: A Fiery Concern

The positioning of the wiring harness and alternator near the exhaust system has led to overheating and consequential electrical failures.

This issue has triggered recalls and posed a significant safety risk, affecting both the vehicle’s electrical system and transmission.

Proper engineering and placement of vital components are essential to prevent such hazards.

7. Automatic Transmission Problems: Shifting Struggles

Automatic transmission troubles have plagued S-Class models equipped with the 7G Tronic and 9G Tronic transmissions. Rough gear shifts and defects in the valve body and conductor plate have compromised the driving experience.

Swift action through system updates is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the transmission system.

8. Engine Rattle: A Disconcerting Sound

Engine rattling, particularly evident in S500 and S400 models, has been traced to a faulty secondary chain tensioner and inadequate oil pressure.

Addressing this issue through proper education, component replacement, and modification of the supply bores is essential to restore the engine’s performance and minimize rattling.

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9. Seatbelt Problems: A Safety Compromise

Seatbelt malfunctions have posed significant safety concerns, prompting recalls to ensure passenger safety during sudden stops and collisions.

Issues with the seatbelt handover, front passenger belt tensioner deployment, and the malfunctioning pre-safe feature have raised questions about the effectiveness of safety systems in the S-Class.

Which S-Class is reliable?

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz S-Class stands out as a reliable choice that has proven its durability over time. This model, known for its minimal issues and dependability, is widely regarded as the best pick among used S-Class options.

Offering three distinct trim levels, the 2009 S-Class offers a combination of luxury and reliability that has stood the test of time.

Is S-Class expensive to maintain?

When it comes to maintenance costs, owning a Mercedes-Benz S-Class requires an investment. Over the first decade of service, the maintenance and repair expenses for a Mercedes-Benz S-Class can amount to around $12,306.

This figure exceeds the industry average for luxury sedan models by approximately $345.

Moreover, there is a notable 31.57% chance that an S-Class will necessitate a major repair within this period.

Thus, prospective owners should be prepared for the higher costs associated with maintaining this luxury vehicle.

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Why does the S-Class depreciate so much?

The rapid depreciation of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class can be attributed to several factors that are common within the luxury car market. One key reason is the prevalent practice of leasing luxury vehicles like the S-Class.

This results in a substantial supply of off-lease S-Class models entering the market after about three years.

The abundance of these relatively young used vehicles drives down their resale value, contributing to the noticeable depreciation.

This phenomenon is not unique to the S-Class; it is a trend often observed with luxury cars due to their leasing popularity and the subsequent influx of relatively new used units.


In the world of luxury automobiles, few names resonate as powerfully as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Boasting a legacy that spans decades, the S-Class has redefined opulence, innovation, and driving excellence.

Our exploration of the common issues and challenges faced by the S-Class has shed light on the intricate balance between luxury and reliability.

From braking problems to structural flaws, the S-Class has faced its share of hurdles that underscore the complexity of marrying cutting-edge technology with seamless functionality.

Its enduring reputation serves as a testament to the brand’s commitment to crafting vehicles that stand the test of time.

As you navigate the complex landscape of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, remember that awareness is key.

Equipped with knowledge about common problems, maintenance costs, and depreciation trends, you’re better equipped to make an informed decision that aligns with your preferences and priorities.

Whether you’re drawn to the allure of the 2009 model or intrigued by the modern innovations of recent iterations, embracing both the splendor and potential pitfalls of the S-Class journey is the first step toward a satisfying ownership experience.

In your pursuit of luxury and sophistication, remember that understanding the nuances of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is paramount.

By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to make a choice that aligns with your preferences, priorities, and aspirations. The journey of owning an S-Class is a blend of appreciation for engineering excellence and awareness of potential challenges, all aimed at creating a harmonious and fulfilling driving experience.

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