Now that the new S-Class has been officially revealed, Mercedes has removed the remaining camouflage from its prototypes as only the badges remain hidden on this near-production prototype. Granted, we’ve seen dozens of images with the revamped luxobarge, but this is the first time we’ve seen Daimler’s new flagship “in the real world”.
Taken through the streets of Germany patiently waiting at a red light, the S had the optional handles that stay flush with the doors when not in use. The handles extend electrically not only when the driver approaches the car, but also in the event of an accident or during a remote parking procedure. They were implemented not only to make the W223 look more modern, but also to help aerodynamics, as the S-Class now has a drag coefficient of just 0.22 despite having a larger frontal area.
Some would say Mercedes should have been more courageous with the exterior design changes compared to the W222, especially since the interior is completely new. As always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder as some will appreciate the evolutionary approach while others will criticize the three-pointed star for its “more of the same” solution.
This particular prototype had to be a high-end version judging by the optional Digital Light headlights signaled by the blue accents in the group. In addition to providing supreme illumination with refracted LEDs directed by 1.3 million micro mirrors, these also serve another functional purpose. Headlights can project symbols onto the road surface, including traffic lights, stop signs, no-entry signs and even a shovel symbol as a visual warning of upcoming road works.
We’re dealing with a Benz-branded S-Class because Maybach’s extra-long variant won’t be revealed until November. Whether a more stretched Pullman version is in the works remains to be seen, but we do know the W223 lineup will be diverse with an armored Guard model and hot AMG S63e and S73e hybrids.
The S-Class coupe and convertible will not return for the new generation, but Mercedes is developing the new generation AMG GT and SL models as a direct replacement for the two-door S models. Returning to a soft top, the iconic Sport Leicht has already been teased and will be unveiled in 2021.