The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is a series of luxury sedans produced by Mercedes-Benz, a division of Daimler AG. The classification was officially introduced in 1972 with the W116 S-Class, which succeeded previous Mercedes-Benz models dating to the mid-1950s. As the flagship of 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 S-Class has ranked as the world's best-selling luxury flagship sedan, and its latest generation, the W221 S-Class, premiered in 2006 as an all-new design. As in previous iterations, the W221 S-Class is sold in standard- and long-wheelbase versions; V6, V8, V12, diesel and hybrid powertrains are offered. All models built in Mexico or sold in the United States are only available in long wheelbase.
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." In 1998 the S class coupe was spun off in a separate line as the CL-Class, however it will be re-designated as the S-Coupe for the 2013 model year.