Nowadays, you might have a hard time telling apart two automobiles from the same marque, unless you have a tape measure in your hand (Audi, we’re primarily looking at you, though, the same applies to some extent for all German premium brands), but there’s no such problem when it comes to their names as most companies have streamlined their nomenclature.
However, it wasn’t always like this, with automakers choosing more colorful names in the past, something that can create plenty of confusion when you’re looking into the lineage of a certain model, which in this case, is the S-Class full-size luxury sedan from Mercedes-Benz.
The S-Class name, which is a German abbreviation for “Sonderklasse”, meaning “Special Class” [sic] in English, first appeared in 1972 and the 116 Series. According to Benz, though, the history of the marque’s flagship series can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century and the Mercedes-Simplex 60hp.
Below, you will find a profile photo of all 14 generations of the S-Class from the 1904 Mercedes-Simplex to the brand-new W222 codenamed 2014MY S-Class that was presented this week (you can also read a more detailed history of the series here).
Models Shown in Photos:
Mercedes-Simplex 60 hp from 1904
Mercedes-Benz Nürburg (W 08, 1928 to 1933).
Mercedes-Benz 770 ‘Grand Mercedes’ (W07, 1930 to 1938)
Mercedes-Benz 300 (W186 / W189, 1951 to 1962)
Mercedes-Benz 220 (W180, 1954 to 1956)
Mercedes-Benz 220 SE (W111, 1959 to 1965)
Mercedes-Benz 600 (W100, 1963 to 1981)
Mercedes-Benz 280 SEL 3.5 (W108, 1965 to 1972)
Mercedes-Benz S-Class W116 series (1972 to 1980)
Mercedes-Benz S-Class W126 series (1979 to 1991)
Mercedes-Benz S-Class W140 series (1991 to 1998)
Mercedes-Benz S-Class W220 series (1998 to 2005)
Mercedes-Benz S-Class W221 series (2005 to 2013)
Mercedes-Benz S-Class W222 series (2013-)