Jellinek’s touring saloon, bearing the melodious brand name Mercedes, became a topic of conversation in the ranks of high society and aroused desires in an age when the upper classes still mostly travelled by horsedrawn carriage or open-top motorised “Phaeton”. It was thus that the grand Mercedes-Benz saloons became established in the highest echelons of society and, over a period of many years, acquired a status that they have, to this day, both consistently and credibly upheld: a status as ambassadors of European luxury – an ideal that, then as now, stands the world over for elegance, beauty, comfort, innovation, safety, durability and lifestyle. Each model series in the long tradition of Mercedes-Benz luxury-class saloons has been a representative of that style. The tone has been set in particular by the brand’s top-of-the-line models – such as the stately 770 model of 1930, which in every way did justice to its name “Grand Mercedes”, measuring 5.60 metres in length, weighing in at a kerb weight of 2.7 tonnes and delivering 200 hp from Mercedes-Benz’s first seriesproduced 8-cylinder compressor engine – an automobile worthy of every superlative and with a radiator as grand and imposing as the owners of this vehicle. Equally unforgettable are the luxury saloons of the 1950s and 1960s: the legendary 300 “Adenauer Mercedes”, which made its debut in 1951 as Germany’s largest and fastest series-produced motor car, and the Mercedes-Benz 600 of 1963, which indulged its passengers with exquisite interior appointments and a multiplicity of technical innovations designed to provide the ultimate in travel comfort.
Stylish and luxurious motoring in the 1970s was typified by the 116 series, with which the name “S-Class” was made the official designation of Mercedes-Benz luxury-class saloons. This was also the model series that conferred respectability on the use of the diesel engine in top-flight passenger cars, albeit initially only in the USA. Boasting a 12-cylinder power unit, an abundance of space and the finest of engineering, the 140 model series was the “big event” on the roads of the 1990s: a saloon with which Mercedes-Benz raised the bar to a new height in terms of automotive comfort and luxury. Luxury on wheels: from the summer of 2013, the new S-Class will fulfil the wishes of discerning customers while carrying forward a philosophy that dates back as far as the start of the 20th century.