The W221 S-Class made its North American premiere at the 2006 North American International Auto Show in January. This S-Class is slightly larger in all dimensions than its predecessor, and it features three newly developed engines with up to 26% power increase. The interior is completely new, all materials have been upgraded and make for a more luxurious ride, and the center console transmission gear lever has been replaced with a column-mounted shifter. New technological features on the W221 include an infrared Night View Assist feature and the latest Mercedes-Benz pre-collision system. The W221 features sharper exterior styling (most notably wide fender arcs) and technological improvements. The W221 is the second consecutive generation of the S-Class to be solely produced in a sedan body style.
Models sold in North America are the S450 (2008-, SWB and Canada only), S400 Hybrid (2010- ), S350 Bluetec 4MATIC (2012- ), S550, S600, S63 AMG and S65 AMG; other models to be sold outside North America include the S280, S350, S300, S420 CDI and S320 CDI. The first W221 model released in North America and Japan was the S550 (called S500 outside North America and Japan), with the S600 arriving in the following spring. Mercedes Benz Mexico also produces a police spec model of the S-600, the S-600P. The S-600P is similar to the standard S-600 but is equipped with the dual turbo charged V-12 engine of the S65 AMG and includes police lights, siren, run-flat tires, a gun mount, a Lanix computer station integrated with the host police network, optional prisoner cage and restraint seats, and level B6/B7 armoring. The S-600P is only built in Mexico and only comes in long-wheelbase version. The Mexican government uses S-600P's mainly for transporting important figures, but several police departments in wealthier cities in the country use them as patrol vehicles, as does the Mexican Federal Police in limited numbers. A small number of S-600P were purchased by the police department of Guangzhou, China for protection of key government figures.
In the US for the 2010 model year, the S-Class received a facelift across the entire model line in mid-2009. Daytime LED running lights were fitted to the outer edges of the bi-xenon lamp units. The rear end was accented with a total of 52 distinctively arranged LEDs in the two taillights. Gone are the body-colored strips through the tail lamps. Other noticeable changes at the front of the car are a more pronounced arrow-shaped grille, plus a new front bumper with a light-catching contour and a chrome strip below the cooling air intakes. New, sleeker rear-view door mirrors with LED turn signals were also added. Exhaust tailpipes of all S-Class variants were visibly integrated into the rear bumper. The wheels were updated to more modern-style ones. Also new is a S400 Hybrid version. Safety also improved on most Mercedes Benz models, with the orange-colored light reflectors mounted on the side of the bumpers. Also, before it was updated it had a C-Class look at the front. Afterwards it disappeared. Also, some shiny chrome is added to the bottom of the doors and bumper.
In terms of performance, the S550 completes the 0–60 mph run in just 5.4 seconds. Despite having a weight of 2304 kg, the S65 AMG still makes it 0 to 60 in just 4.2 seconds. The S 63 AMG and the S600 makes the same sprint in about 4.6 seconds. Mercedes-AMG claim that the S63 will pull from 50 mph to 70 mph in around 3.9 seconds while the S65 make it to 50 mph from 70 mph in 3.6 seconds.
The brakes continue to become more advanced with the new Brake Assist Plus system monitoring for an impending collision and increasing braking if needed, while the Distronic Plus radar guided cruise control can now bring the car to a complete stop. This system works in outdoor conditions; a test demonstration by Mercedes-Benz in a crash-test hall resulted in embarrassment for the company when a new S-Class crashed into the back of a stationary W220 S-Class. This incident was later attributed to the radar system malfunctioning inside the radar-reflective (i.e. radar-confusing) steel test building where the event was filmed.
Upscale department store Saks Fifth Avenue offered 20 special-edition S600 sedans for sale in its 2005 Christmas catalog. All 20 cars, priced at US$145,000 each, sold on November 22, 2005 in under seven minutes. The Saks-edition S600 sedans were finished in a mocha black exterior with an almond beige interior and were the first examples of the S600 to be sold to private owners. The S600s came with nearly every option standard.
Source: Wikipedia, 2013