In less than a year's time, Mercedes-Benz will launch the sixth or ninth generation if you include the 1954 S W180 "Proton", the 1959 S W111 "Fintail" and the 1965 S W108, of its lauded S-Class model series.
Codenamed the W222, the 2014 model year S-Class is a hugely important vehicle for the German premium automaker, as after the demise of the poorly received and money losing Maybach brand, it will regain its place as the group's flagship limousine.
For this reason, Mercedes-Benz has made plans to expand the S-Class' range from three model to six models. These will likely include the normal and long wheelbase sedans, a coupe that will replace the current CL-Class, a super-luxurious and extra-long "Pullman" variant and possibly, two convertible versions with two and four-doors respectively.
As you can see, there's no need to peel away all the disguise to see that the W222 will retain the current S-Class' familiar silhouette.
Nonetheless, the new flagship Mercedes sedan will gain a sculptured front end with a more upright and wider grille, and headlamps that wrap around the fenders and hood, and a swoopier rear end, while also dropping the current model's 'Pontoon' line for a cleaner profile look.
There are more changes to be found inside with key highlights including the ginormous TFT screen spread across half the dashboard, which comprises a customizable display for the instrument panel and infotainment system, and the four central and circular shaped air vents.
Mercedes officials also promise the introduction of new high-tech gadgets and the use of even higher quality materials throughout the cabin.
Underpinning the next S-class is a new aluminum-intensive unibody with four-link front and multi-link rear suspensions that make use of the firm's new Magic Ride Control system. The latter utilizes cameras to scan the road in front of the car and adjust the suspension settings accordingly.
There will be a variety of engines available including V6, V8 and V12 gasoline units and four-cylinder and V6 diesels, plus a choice of standard and plug-in hybrid models, most of which are rumored to be matted to a new 9-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel-drive 4Matic models will also be available.
In the fullness of time, Mercedes will introduce the AMG high-performance variants with turbocharged V8 and V12 gasoline engines.