he Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a series of the largest sedans produced by Mercedes-Benz, a division of Daimler AG. The S-Class, a product of nine lines of Mercedes-Benz models dating since the mid-1950s, has ranked as the world's best-selling luxury flagship sedan. As the foremost model in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the S-Class has debuted many of the company's latest innovations, including drivetrain technologies, interior features, and safety systems (such as the first seatbelt pretensioners). The latest generation, the W221 S-Class, premiered in 2006 as an all-new design. As in previous iterations, the latest S-Class is sold in standard and long wheelbase versions and offers V6, V8, V12, diesel and hybrid powertrains.
The name "S-Class" derives from the German word "Sonderklasse" of which "S-Class" is an abbreviation. Sonderklasse means "special class" (or rather: "In a class of its own"), and in automotive terms thus refers to "a specially outfitted car." Although used colloquially for decades, the "S-Class" designation was first officially applied in 1973 with the debut of the W116 model line. Since then, five generations of officially-named S-Class sedans have been produced.
Past two-door coupe models of the S-Class were known as SEC and later S-Coupe. In 1998 they were spun off in a separate line as the CL-Class, however it will be re-designated as the S-Coupe when launching the mid-generational facelift/refresh of the C216 later in 2009 as a 2010 model.