Even if you’re not a fan of Mercedes-Benz, the S-Class deserves respect as each and every generation has been a proper technological tour de force. Since the launch of the W116 back in 1972 as the first model to be called S-Class, the fullsize luxury sedan has been leading the way for the Three-Pointed Star in terms of equipment, ushering in new tech that eventually trickled down to lesser models. That’s the role of a flagship model and the S has managed to live up to its high-ranked status during its nearly 50-year existence if we’re excluding the W108 and the models before it.
The sixth-generation model (W222) was unveiled more than five years ago and was given a mid-cycle refresh in 2017. Development never stops at Mercedes, which is why work is already well under way for a successor likely slated to arrive at some point in 2020. It would seem that prototypes are already being tested with many of the production-ready body panels, but this latest batch of spy shots reveals it’s a different story inside the cabin.
While there’s not much to see at this point because of the abundance of camouflage, it’s still interesting to have an early look inside the future S-Class. There’s a massive digital driver’s display, which strangely enough isn’t joined by the infotainment screen on the center console. The air vents in the middle are mounted way up high on the dashboard, but we have a feeling the layout will change on the production version.
Speaking of which, Mercedes has already suggested the dashboard configuration of the next S-Class will have a few things in common with that of the Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept. That means there will likely be a wide pair of displays in a more unified cluster as the two screens are expected to share the same background. A similar approach has already been implemented in the new A-Class and will also be seen in the forthcoming GLE.
With the official reveal probably at least two years away, very little is known about the new S. The company has announced that while there won’t be a fully electric S-Class, it will launch a big EV sedan similar in philosophy. A more advanced autonomous driving system is a given, as are more efficient engines and a greener plug-in hybrid derivative.
The new S-Class could arrive in the United States as a 2021 model year in short- and long-wheelbase configurations. Further down the line, expect a new S63, while a V12-powered version will likely be reserved for the extra-long Maybach model as hinted a while back by AMG’s boss.
Photos: Automedia, CarPix