We Compare the W222 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Side by Side to the W221

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class is visually very different to its predecessor, but to help you more easily spot where the biggest changes are, we have put together a selection of photos of both cars, and put them side by side for your convenience. Seeing them like this really brings out the differences in proportions, shape and the details.

The first thing that strikes you is just how flared the wheel arches of the W221 (the old model) are compared to the new W222. It is perhaps less striking to look at because of this, but it is by no means bland or uninspiring. The rear doors are also visibly larger and the roofline is more steeply raked. However, according to Mercedes, this does not hamper headroom in the back, as the new car’s passenger compartment is measurably larger.

The interior is vastly different in the two cars, though there are similarities, like the horizontal row of buttons on the center stack which look near-identical, as well as the storage compartment located underneath it on both models. The wood trim also goes onto the door in the new car, but it seems a bit more nicely integrated into the overall design of the cabin.

The W221 was one of the first cars to feature a full digital screen instead of a conventional speedo, along with a large centrally-mounted unit for the sat-nav and infotainment systems. This is retained in the new car, but it gets a full LED display which replaces all of the conventional dials. Speaking of LEDs, the W222 is full of them, both inside and out (some 300 LEDs were used inside alone) and Mercedes is proud to have renounced conventional light bulbs completely.

By Andrei Nedelea

Mercedes S-Class W222 (Left) vs W221 (Right)
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  • d.topchiev

    I know its been a year since ur comment. But……..this car will look like shit in five years, just like now. It doesn’t look like it rolled off the assembly line a year ago. Its actually debatable which was first, th e 221 or 222. And the computer dash was done by GM in The 80s. The interior is ugly and incoherent. The BUDWEISER silver speakers look cheap and tacky. At the end, this car is was not worth waiting 7 years for.

    • rocco71

      Harshly criticise much? Ha! Ha! Ha! I have to agree with you that without knowing which was first, it is impossible to tell which body style is the newer one: the W222 or W221. That being said, I can’t go as far as you in saying the car is outright ugly. It is still a very close match to the W221…and I much prefer the flared fender look, all things being equal. The W221 has an aggressiveness to it’s stance that the W222 can’t match.

  • rocco71

    I prefer the hood and radiator grill of the new W222 but other than that, I still like my W221 better. Of course, the new interior is nicer and the dash is more technologically advanced, however, the W222 steering wheel is ugly IMO and even though the ambient lighting in my W221 doesn’t have five color options, it still has that feature (along with the majority of available options, with just a few exceptions) and frankly, I don’t see any reason to believe the W221 chassis will not age as gracefully as the W222. In fact, the W140 and W210 seem to be the only S-class body styles that have NOT remained relevant well beyond their eras of manufacture. Heck! Even the W126 looks modern by today’s standards and they haven’t built that chassis since 1991. Mercedes-Benz definitely knows what they’re doing when it comes to styling and design. Coupled with all of their incredible powertrain options, they continue to build the best cars in the world, overall…without a doubt.

  • rocco71

    That’s patently ridiculous. The 2000 C-class is FUGLY. I agree that the 2005 E-class was a gorgeous design but the updated 2010/11 front end and dash took it to a whole new level!!! Leaving out the W221 S-class? That’s a fool’s errand…the W221 is the sexiest, most sport-aggressive body style EVER to grace an S-classs; indeed, the S-class has never looked as sexy as the W221 body does. The W221 is the hottest S-class design since the days of the W126! And even today, the W126 is still one gorgeous looking car…

  • rocco71

    HUH??? You mean 7,500 just in the State of California, right? I think you must’ve hit your head on something…go back to sleep.

  • rocco71

    Yeah, but the standard 400+HP twin-turbo charged engine is pretty sweet, though.

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