New 2021 Mercedes S-Class: pictures and details

Next-generation Mercedes S-Class spotted testing almost completely undisguised; will keep plug-in hybrid power

The next Mercedes S-Class has been spotted testing almost completely undisguised (above) near the company's Stuttgart headquarters in Germany. Mercedes has already confirmed that the car will be revealed in full in the second half of 2020.

The latest testing images tally with the one official photo of the car Mercedes has released so far – showing a new grille on a redesigned nose, along with freshly designed headlights – as well as unofficial images apparently showing the car totally undisguised that appeared on Instagram (below).

Those images gave us our best look yet at the forthcoming luxury limousine, which will continue to be offered as a plug-in hybrid from 2021. The rear of the car takes inspiration from the recently updated Mercedes E-Class, with wider, slimmer tail-lights and a full-width piece of chrome trim running left to right.

The unofficial interior pictures suggest the new S-Class will ditch the current model’s wide digital display, which gave the illusion of a single screen spanning the dials and central infotainment set-up. The car appears to feature a large digital instrument cluster and a tablet-style infotainment display, as well as what appears to be a huge heads-up display. In true flagship fashion, there are screens attached to the front headrests for the rear-seat passengers.

Elsewhere, it looks as if the new S-Class will once again feature a selection of high-quality materials, including gloss piano-black trim, brushed aluminium details and quilted leather in both the front and rear. A large central armrest lowers from the back seats, and we expect long-wheelbase versions to feature power-operated reclining chairs for maximum comfort.

Expected to go on sale at some point in 2021, the next-generation Mercedes S-Class will feature a range of petrol and diesel engines, as well as a plug-in hybrid with a circa-25-mile pure-electric range. In addition, a pure-electric model – badged EQS – will appear for the first time.

BMW recently announced that the next-generation 7 Series saloon – a key S-Class rival – will be available with a choice of petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid or pure electric power. However, unlike Mercedes, BMW is moving away from the strategy of having a standalone electric-car brand identity, instead integrating electric models more closely with the rest of its range.

Elsewhere, another S-Class rival, the Jaguar XJ, will be adopting fully electric power for its next generation, and prototypes of that car have also been spotted testing on public roads.

The new S-Class will be larger than its already very generously proportioned predecessor, with the aim of even more interior space than before. Big developments are also expected in the area of driver assistance, with near-fully-autonomous driving capability similar to that offered as an option on Tesla models expected.