These are the first spy pictures of the new Mercedes S-class, due on sale next year.
With the car at an early stage of its test development, it is still wearing heavy camouflage. As a result it is hard to draw any definitive conclusions about its styling. However, it is safe to assume that the protruding headlights are a decoy, as they wouldn't pass pedestrian impact regulations.
However, Mercedes previously showed the F700 concept as long ago as the 2007 Frankfurt motor show. The S-class-sized saloon had several exaggerated styling features, including a low roof and huge, elongated cabin, but details such as smaller headlights and an upright grille could make production.
It's also known that Mercedes is planning a plug-in hybrid S-class. With the anticipated weight reductions and aerodynamic improvements, the plug-in version is likely to turn in impressive economy figures: over 80mpg and less than 100g/km of CO2 are being talked about by insiders.
There won’t be a purely electric version, though.
Less expensive versions of the next S-class will also be offered with Mercedes’ next generation of six and eight-cylinder petrol engines. All will have direct injection, use stop-start and will be capable of being turbocharged or used in conjunction with electric motors. The company claims they will provide 10 per cent more power, 25 per cent more torque and 25 per cent better economy than existing petrol motors.