It wasn't that long ago that Mercedes-Benz introduced its current S-Class, the W222, but prototypes for an update version are already out and about.
As the S-Class was all-new in 2013, arriving as a 2014 model, we expect this updated version to land sometime in 2017, as a 2018 model.
Changes to the exterior will be subtle, with the only difference we can spot at present being revised headlights, exhaust tips and bumpers. The lights keep the shape of the current units but the "eyebrow" daytime running lights adopt a new design with three strips instead of one, and one of the main light clusters has been replaced by a trio of LEDs stacked vertically.
These stacked LEDs form part of Mercedes’ next-generation Multibeam LED matrix headlight technology, which allows you to leave your high beams permanently on. Monitoring systems detect other road users and send commands to individually-controlled LEDs that can light up or darken sections of the road with precision-controlled distribution of the light beam so that no one is dazzled. The system can also detect and light up ahead of time pedestrians or animals near the side of the road.
2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class facelift spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-MedienEnlarge Photo
Some shots of the interior reveal some additional changes. The dual digital displays that form the main instrument cluster and infotainment system appear slightly larger. It also looks like configuration of the displays has been revised and the multi-function steering wheel is sporting a new design as well.
We also hear that the Mercedes is experimenting with a gesture-control system that may make its debut in the updated S-Class. BMW has just launched such a system in its 2016 7-Series. Other changes in the cabin are likely to include new trim options and possibly a new design for the front seats.
It’s too early to talk powertrain mods but Mercedes typically updates the mechanicals around the midway point of its products’ life cycles. We know the automaker’s 9-speed automatic transmission will be fitted to the S-Class soon, possibly before the update, and we could see the current engine offerings tuned to deliver more power along with improved economy. Another possibility is the high-performance S63 swapping its current 5.5-liter V-8 in favor of Mercedes-AMG’s new 4.0-liter mill.
Stay tuned for updates as development continues.