When Mercedes rolled out the odd-looking F700 concept at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show many speculated that it was destined to become just another pointless exercise in automotive styling. Not so according to people close to the project. Latest reports claim both the technology and design of the car will eventually make its way onto the next-generation S-Class due in 2012.

As these renderings suggest, the next S-Class will be heavily influenced by the F700 design study. Mercedes described the F700 as a "futuristic interpretation of the classic sedan," which you’d be safe to interpret as being the inspiration for the next iteration of the carmaker’s longest running sedan model.

Like the current model, the new car will come in both short and long wheelbase versions and will be powered by a range of V6, V8 and V12 powerplants – both naturally aspirated and turbocharged. However, new to the lineup will be the introduction of a highly tuned four-cylinder model. Mercedes in fact used the F700 to preview the new powertrain, dubbed DiesOtto, again giving clues as to what to expect in the next S-Class.

mercedes s 01

mercedes s 01

Mercedes also used the F700 to preview its new active PRE-SCAN suspension, a system that scours the road ahead using two lasers and automatically adjusts the suspension to suit. Another feature is the new SERVO-HMI (Human Machine Interface), which features a virtual operating assistant that the driver can converse with. Expect to see similar systems in the new S-Class and toned down versions in other future models.

Also joining the lineup will be a new range of hybrid-electric diesel models powered lithium-ion batteries. Two concept versions of the current S-Class with the new hybrid powertrains were also on display at the Frankfurt Show. The most fuel efficient version, the S300 Bluetec Hybrid, was powered by a four-cylinder hybrid drivetrain producing 224hp with a maximum torque 560Nm and managed a 44mpg fuel economy rating.2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class