These are the latest spy pics of the next Mercedes S-class in testing.
Mercedes is preparing to give its new S-class some curves — although the firm has done its best to disguise it by covering this early test hack with extensive cladding. Due in 2013, this next-generation S-class — codenamed W222 — is expected to adopt key styling cues from the F700, the swoopy concept car displayed at the Detroit show in 2007.
At the heart of the revised range will be Mercedes’ new V6 and V8 MoVe petrol powerplants. Diesel options are likely to include the 201bhp, 369lb ft 2.2-litre, four-cylinder motor from the current S250 CDI, the smallest engine to ever be offered in the S-class. The same engine could also be used as the basis for a mild hybrid variant to sit alongside a petrol hybrid that will be based on a direct-injection V6 and new battery technology from LiTec.
The new luxury saloon will also carry over no cabin architecture from existing models. But hints of its design can be seen in the F800 Style concept revealed at the Geneva motor show in March.
Like the F800, the new S-class will have a much cleaner cabin with far fewer hard switches than it does currently. Expect it to be freer of artificial-looking materials, with greater use of contoured, marine-style wood and aluminium.
A raft of new technology will make its debut on the new S-class. Essential to much of it is the introduction of a pair of forward-facing video cameras in the rear-view mirror console.
Complementing the existing forward radar, the stereo cameras’ reading of the road will allow the introduction of Magic Ride Control, a damping system that Mercedes expects will reduce body movements by 50 per cent. They’ll also be used to identify vulnerable pedestrians and allow the introduction of a low-speed cruise control that also has the ability to take over the steering in certain situations.