According to Mercedes-Benz, the next generation S-Class, when it goes on sale late next year, will strengthen its position as one of the world’s best luxury sedans, retaining not only the luxury and quality buyers expect, but also adding new features and technology to make it even more capable and efficient.
The new S-Class will be built off a version of Mercedes’ modular rear-wheel drive architecture, already used on the current E-Class and will boast greater use of aluminum in order to save weight, including the body panels and suspension. Speaking of the latter, it will also incorporate Mercedes’ Magic Ride control system, which uses cameras to detect road conditions and alter spring and shock rates in order to maintain a desired level of ride comfort, without sacrificing handling (fast reacting airbags at each corner are designed to eliminate body roll during cornering).
Engines will include a range of diesels, as well as hybrid powertrains and conventional gas engines. In Europe the 250 CDI and 350 CDI diesels will likely remain, joined by S300 and S400 BlueTec hybrids which mate a 2.1-liter four-cylinder and 3.0-liter V6 oil burning engines respectively with an electric motor. Higher up the scale there will also be S500 V8 gas and S600 V12 models, both designed to meet ultra stringent 2015 EU6 regulations (no word yet on which powertrains will make it to the US, though the V8 and V12s are probably the most likely candidates, at least in the short term).
Further aiding fuel efficiency is a 9-speed automatic transmission, a development of the current 7G-Tronic, though whether it will be standard on all models, especially the lower priced diesels remains to be seen.
Mercedes will offer five different body configurations for the upcoming S-Class, a regular, short wheelbase four-door sedan, two long wheelbase derivatives, including an extra long Pullman, plus a coupe (which replaces the current CL) and a cabrio, marking the first time since the 1971 W111 280 SE 3.5, that Mercedes has offered an open top S-class model.
In terms of styling, the 2013 S-Class is said to break away from the current “Gothic” look in favor of a more “contemporary appearance .” Translated, that likely means a bolder grille, more defined character lines, plus roofline with more pronounced curvature, think CLS meets the F800 Style concept (shown above). Inside, the new S-Class is rumored to set new standards in terms of quality and ergonomics and will likely be considerably cleaner, with a free standing centrally mounted multi-media screen, plus a greater use of more natural materials for trim, such as marine inspired wood and aluminum.