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It’s getting harder and harder for sedans to keep up with SUV sales, but Mercedes is not abandoning the once traditional body style. Come to think of it, the three-pointed star is doing the exact opposite as the CLA is now complemented by a regular A-Class Sedan, while the larger CLS has a sportier AMG GT 4-Door Coupe counterpart.

Regardless of how many SUVs it has in its ever-growing portfolio, the S-Class remains the quintessential Mercedes flagship. The fullsize luxury sedan’s has its roots in the early 1950s when the Ponton was launched and followed by the classy Fintail. The more conventionally styled W108 debuted in the mid-1960s, but it wasn’t until 1972 when the W116 was launched as the first-gen S-Class-badged model.

Six generations of S-Class vehicles later, Mercedes is currently in an advanced phase testing the W223 due to come out at some point in 2020. A couple of prototypes have been spotted by Nürburgring resident Automotive Mike while clocking up miles on the demanding circuit in Germany to iron out all the kinks before the vehicle’s start of production.

Of the two prototypes, it’s the one with the license plate ending in “266” we want to bring to your attention since it has the final taillights as well. The vehicle appears to carry the full production body with an extra layer of disguise on the door handles to mask what will likely be the pop-out handles we recently saw on a Maybach S-Class prototype, unless only the fancier version will have those.

The conventionally powered S-Class will have an EV sibling taking the shape of a radically styled EQS we’re dying to see without the camouflage. However, the zero-emissions S will come at a later date, following the S-Class’ reveal next year with gasoline and diesel engines, along with a giant touchscreen on the center console and quite possibly in long-wheelbase-only flavor.

A brand-new flagship deserves to be built at a brand-new factory, with Mercedes to assemble the W223 at its state-of-the-art Factory 56 plant in Sindelfingen, Germany where other high-end models are going to be produced.

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