The 9th Generation of the Mercedes S-Class (the first generation
began in 1955) was intorduced in late 1999.
The chassis code for the new car was 'W220'. The W220 S-Class
was completely redesigned, with a body that was slightly smaller
and lighter than its predecessor. Despite the smaller dimensions,
the new S-Class offered greater interior space for the occupants.
The 1999 Mercedes-Benz S-Class incorporated the new styling
cues first introduced on the A-Class the previous year.
The 1999 - 2005 S-Class featured numerous innovations including
Airmatic air suspension and Active Ventilated Seats (which used
miniature fans in the seats to move air through perforations).
A navigation system with center console-mounted screen display
was introduced, along with the COMAND input control system.
Other options included keyless entry and ignition, a radar-controlled
Distronic cruise control system and a cylinder shut-off system
called Active Cylinder Control. The 4MATIC all wheel drive system
was introduced to the North America market S-Class for 2002.
In 2003, the S-Class received an exterior refresh with updates
to the front fascia. The grille angle was adjusted to a slightly
more upright position, and the xenon-discharge lheadamps were
given a new transparent housing, replacing the earlier opaque
versions. The front bumper's lower air intakes were also restyled.
In 2005, the S-Class was the first vehicle to receive a TÜV
Institute environmental certificate from the German Commission
on Technical Compliance for environmentally friendly components.
While other engine options were available, ranging from a 225
horsepower V6 up to a 6.0 litre 604 hp V12, the Mercedes S600L
was powered by a 5.5 litre, 493 horsepower, twin-turbo V12.