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2020 Mercedes-Benz S-class Spied: Big Changes Beneath Its Classy Body

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 2/6/2018 ALEXANDER STOKLOSA
2020 Mercedes-Benz S-class Spied: Big Changes Beneath Its Classy Body© ALEXANDER STOKLOSA 2020 Mercedes-Benz S-class Spied: Big Changes Beneath Its Classy Body

What It Is: Mercedes-Benz’s nascent next-generation S-class sedan, captured here wearing a minimum of camouflage and what could be the production bodywork. The current S-class was introduced for 2014, so it’s due for a total redesign—particularly given that most of the other models in Mercedes’s lineup are younger.


Why It Matters: Each new S-class generation establishes the brand’s newest styling and technological direction for the rest of the lineup, and this one will be no different. Our sources in Stuttgart indicate that the new S-class’s interior will be seriously upgraded—likely incorporating even more technology—although we struggle to imagine how Mercedes could make the environment any more plush. However the automaker reinvents that wheel, expect its look and capabilities to trickle down to lesser Mercedes cars and SUVs.

Platform: The new S-class should be both slightly larger and at the same time weigh less than before. From these photos, it’s clear that the sedan’s basic shape won’t change much, although we anticipate a move away from today’s fairly soft shape to a sterner, more furrowed-brow look previewed somewhat by the new CLS-class and A-class. In other news, the sedan will be the only S-class variant going forward; the graceful two-door coupe and cabriolet models offered today won’t be redesigned and eventually will be dropped from the lineup, as Mercedes looks to prune its coupe and convertible offerings.

Powertrain: Like today’s S-class, the next-generation model will be offered in both six- and eight-cylinder guises. The available twin-turbocharged V-12 also may survive as the S-class’s range-topping powerplant. But there are changes afoot for the six-cylinder: The twin-turbo V-6 that powers the current base-model S-class in the United States will give way to the all-new turbocharged inline-six already available in Europe (and that is expected to be added shortly to the current U.S. lineup). As in the current Euro-spec S-class and new CLS-class, this engine will feature standard hybridization—in the form of an electric motor embedded in the transmission—and run a 48-volt electrical system to enable brief electric-only motoring and enhanced engine stop/start capabilities. A higher-output version of the inline-six like that in the Mercedes-AMG CLS53 could bridge the gap between the entry-level S-class’s six and the eight-cylinder model or take over for the V-8 entirely, leaving the V-8 and V-12 to Mercedes-AMG’s performance-minded S63 and S65 variants.

Competition: Audi A8, BMW 7-series, Lexus LS

Estimated Arrival and Price: We’re a few years away from seeing the all-new S-class on the road, but the model’s debut should come sometime in 2019. When the S-class goes on sale for 2020, be prepared to pay at least $90,000 to step into one.


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