The quad exhaust design reveals we are dealing with the S63 version and not the V12-powered S65 bad boy, while the roll cage inside indicates the test driver was there to push the prototype to the max. As it was the case with non-AMG test vehicles captured on camera in recent months, the S63 facelift seen here at the Nordschleife has that swirly camouflage only on the front and rear bumpers.
It’s a sign the mid-cycle refresh prepared by Mercedes will bring very little changes to the body panels, with bigger air vents at the front and some tweaks for the lower section of the rear bumper. As for the disguise on the headlights, it indicates some upgrades to the LED Multibeam headlamps are in tow for the high-performance fullsize sedan. The taillights have been carried over from the current model, but some changes to the graphics are likely on the agenda for the production-ready car.
While the current batch of spy images isn’t showing the interior cabin, previous shots have revealed a unification of the dual 12.3-inch digital screens along with a new steering wheel for lesser models.
But the million-dollar question is: will the S63 facelift drop the biturbo 5.5-liter V8 in favor of Mercedes-AMG’s newer biturbo 4.0-liter V8? The older unit generates 577 horsepower (430 kilowatts), while the most powerful iteration of the 4.0-liter has 603 hp (450 kW) in the recently introduced E63 S. Our hunch is that the S63 will make the switch to the newer engine with the exact same output, if not a tad more to differentiate it from the smaller E63. The expected bump in power should bring a minor performance boost compared to the current car that needs four seconds to cover the 0-62 mph (0-100 kph) sprint in 4MATIC guise.
Expect to see the entire facelifted S-Class Sedan family to arrive at some point in 2017 at a major auto show.