Mercedes Benz S Class Tuning

"Thank you for reading my S Class tuning guide."

The S class or special class, catered for people of taste, who required style and performance in abundance.

For this reason the S Class ranks as one of the best selling luxury saloon cars.

We'll look at the best modifications for the S Class range, please read our other in depth articles for more information on each and every modification we mention.

They say knowledge is power and this is certainly true in the world of tuning cars.


The S Class is popular among our members for tuning projects We see car enthusiasts wasting money on their S Class doing the wrong mods and then having to start over. Follow our guides to avoid ruining your car

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Improving the handling for most drivers, is rated as a top priority mod in your S Class tuning project. Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 35mm and fit sports stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Our aim in S Class engine tuning should be to increase peak power and Torque at the top end.

With just a few mods you can transform your S Class into a hot hatch, potentially beating bigger engined cars on the track.

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

Power mods.

The following kits are usually installed by our members, decide how far you want to go before you start.

Getting the right sports upgrade kits for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 motor sport parts just won't work well on the road difficult in stop start traffic.

Mercedes used a Supercharger on many engines throughout their range, and with a simple overdrive pulley you can boost the power output significantly. Add in twincharging, or a larger compressor and you can see some really impressive power gains.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your car. Be sure to keep up with our latest YouTube content and subscribe.

Best mods for your S Class

  1. Low mass flywheel - a lower weight flywheel will improve the engines ability to rev freely. Not always not a great upgrade for all S Class engines.
  2. Flowing and porting the Head - Head work will get air flowing into the engine while removing turbulence or restrictions.
  3. ECU Tunes - A tune/remap ensures the biggest gains with respect to your investment, aftermarket ECU upgrades, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  4. Braking Mods - Enhancing your stopping power should be somewhere in your mods list.
  5. Upgrades to superchargers - A New larger capacity compressor is the most dramatic method to improve intake air supply, allowing you to combust more fuel and make more power. It is one of the most challenging upgrades but provides the best gains.
  6. Fast road cams are significant power adders, but ideally be fitted by someone who knows what they are doing and some cams are hard to find but you might have a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft .
  7. S Class Handling modifications - Replacing worn bushings and shocks greatly enhances your S Class road holding and cornering. Coilovers and Bushings are the usual go to mods
  8. Air Induction kits and Exhaust Upgrades - Note that on their own these mods will NOT ADD TORQUE on most cars, but they can help release power after other upgrades by freeing up a restriction.

S Class Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm), Panel air filter, Lighter flywheel, Engine Tunes/Remapping, Alloy wheels, Sports exhaust.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: fuel pump upgrades, Fast road cam, Ported and polished head, Power/Sport clutch, high flow fuel injector.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Engine balancing, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Sports gearbox, Competition cam, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves).

Here are the model ranges and engine options we found for the S Class Mercedes over the last 40 years or so.

  • W116 1972-1980 2.8 L I6, 3.5 L V8, 4.5 L V8, 6.8 L V8, 3.0 L  turbodiesel
  • W126 1980-1991 2.6 L I6, 2.8 L I6, 3.0 L I6, 3.5 L I6, 3.8 L V8, 4.2 L V8, 5.0 L V8, 5.6 L V8, 3.0 L 5-cylinder turbodiesel, 3.0 L 6-cylinder turbodiesel, 3.5 L 6-cylinder turbodiesel
  • W140/C140 1991-1998
    • 2.8 L 145 kW (197 PS; 194 bhp) I6
    • 3.2 L 170 kW (231 PS; 228 bhp) I6
    • 4.2 L 205 kW (279 PS; 275 bhp) V8
    • 5.0 L 240 kW (326 PS; 322 bhp) V8
    • 6.0 L 300 kW (408 PS; 402 bhp) V12 M120 (1991–1993)
    • 6.0 L 290 kW (394 PS; 389 bhp) V12 M120 (1993–1998)
    • 3.0 L Turbodiesel 130 kW (177 PS; 175 bhp) I6
    • 3.5 L Turbodiesel 110 kW (150 PS; 150 bhp) I6
  • W20 (1998-2005) Smaller than it's predecessor but boasts more interior space, new gadgets were added but it was slated as unreliable The rare AMG S63 had the 6.3 444bhp engine.
    • 2.8 L 150 kW (204 PS; 201 bhp) V6
    • 3.2 L 165 kW (224 PS; 221 bhp) V6
    • 3.2 L 145 kW (197 PS; 194 bhp) I6 diesel
    • 3.2 L 150 kW (204 PS; 201 bhp) I6 diesel
    • 3.7 L 180 kW (245 PS; 242 bhp) V6
    • 4.0 L 180 kW (250 PS; 250 bhp) V8 diesel
    • 4.0 L 190 kW (260 PS; 260 bhp) V8 diesel
    • 4.3 L 205 kW (279 PS; 275 bhp) V8
    • 5.0 L 225 kW (306 PS; 302 bhp) V8
    • 5.4 L 370 kW (500 PS; 490 bhp) V8
    • 5.8 L 270 kW (367 PS; 362 bhp) V12
    • 5.5 L 370 kW (500 PS; 490 bhp) V12
    • 6.3 L 330 kW (450 PS; 440 bhp) V12
    • 6.0 L 450 kW (612 PS; 604 bhp) V12

Your aim when modding the engine should be a nice flat torque output. You want to avoid sending all the power to be at the top end unless you are creating a competition car.

The aim of our pointers is to give a little insight into the world of modifying mods and point you in the right direction, our forum is the place to go for detailed advice and tips on your customized car project, the best modified parts and all aspects of modding cars.Fast road cams offer one of the biggest performance gains for your money as far as a single modified upgrades goes on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine.

The intake and exhaust flow play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car impossible to drive in traffic.

You'd need to follow a camshaft upgrade with other mods and finish with a performance chip for the best performance gains.You will need to ensure that the engine is not starved of fuel so will need to look at the fuelling.

If you find you have flat spots and surges after your modified mods you should check the fuelling and try a higher octane fuel as well. To get sufficient fuel you may need to uprate the injectors on your engine. A fuel pump will only deliver a finite amount of fuel, so you may need to uprate this if your injectors are demanding more fuel.

S Class Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Air induction kits will only help to add performance if your cars air intake is restricted!

For most S Class engines TorqueCars would suggest you just go with a washable panel air filter. On heavily tuned engines and turbo vehicles an induction kit will help release the power providing you address the problem of supplying cold air.

If you want the lovely induction roar of an induction kit and can feed cold air to it then by all means add a full induction kit to improve your driver experience.

Do not go with the widest exhaust you can find this will slow up the exhaust flow rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between 2 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Getting a professionally ported and polished head with larger valves can fully maximise your power gains. A good heavy duty fast road power clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never make false economies or think that a standard clutch to cope. Turbo engines are just crying out to be Reprogrammed. You will see large power gains on most modern turbochaged cars including diesels making a tune/remap one of the most cost effective and large modifications for your money.

We've also come across some owners playing with twincharged conversions and making some very high power figures.

The most significant power gains for NA (naturally aspirated) engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. It is generally cheaper to bolt on a supercharger than it is to bolt on a turbo. Turbos provide boost in exponential proportion to increasing engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

Superchargers will give a boost which is directly proportional to engine speed so is simpler. Decreasing the engines compression ratio will allow you to add forced induction, water injection may also help prevent detonation.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels will help the brakes cool down and are usually less heavy than steel ones. Large S Class alloy wheels can decrease performance. If you get big alloy wheels you will be changing your final drive ratio.

With this in mind aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel your OEM settings. In all cases avoid going larger than 18 inches.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss S Class options in more detail with our S Class owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Mercedes Benz tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below. We love hearing about our website visitors projects, especially the mods done and which work best for you on your car. Which helps us keep our guides and tips up to date helping others with their modified car projects. Your feedback and comments are used to keep this page up to date, and help improve the accuracy of these articles which are kept updated and constantly revised.

If you've enjoyed this page we would be very grateful if you could share a link to it on your favourite forums or on your social media profiles, it helps us keep going.

Please Check out my YouTube channel, we're regularly adding new content...

PLEASE HELP: I NEED YOUR DONATIONS TO COVER THE COSTS OF RUNNING THIS SITE AND KEEP IT RUNNING. I do not charge you to access this website and it saves most TorqueCars readers $100's each year - but we are NON PROFIT and not even covering our costs. To keep us running PLEASE Donate here

If you liked this page please share it with your friends, drop a link to it in your favourite forum or use the bookmarking options to save it to your social media profile.

Feedback - What do You Think?

Please use our forums if you wish to ask a tuning question, and please note we do not sell parts or services, we are just an online magazine.

Help us improve, leave a suggestion or tip

Your Constructive comments on this article, I really want to improve this article with your help and suggestions.

Please watch this video and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

One Response to “S Class Tuning”

  1. Murtaza Kothari says:

    3.0 L Diesel W140 S-CLASS. What are all the mods I can make to make this car a great regular driver. Reliable + a lot more fun to drive. Will drive it a lot over winding mountain roads. Lemme know.

Member Benefits

Join our forum today and benefit from over 300,000 posts on tuning styling and friendly car banter.

You will also have full access to the modifed car gallery, project car updates and exclusive member only areas.

(All car owners of all ages and from all countries are welcome).

BMW 335i - 2021 COTY

We gave the BMW 335i our coveted car of the year award, read more about this awesome car and see why 335i Tuning Guide

Tips for N54 Tuning

Tips for N55 Tuning
Tips for B58 Tuning

Popular articles

Tuning Diesels
ECU remapping
Double Clutch
Induction Kits
Customize a car
Chip Tuning
Modded Car insurance
Track day insurance
Remap Diesels
MPG calc
Cleaning a DPF
Stages Of Tuning

Egr Delete

EGR Delete

Stage 1 Tune

Stage 1 tuning

Painting Calipers

Tips on brake caliper painting.

Scratch Removal

Scratch removal

Whats Stage 1 Car

What is a Stage 1 Car?

2005 Car News

Review of 2005

MPG Calculator

MPG calculator UK miles per Gallon – calculate MPG