2021 Mercedes S-Class: Here’s The Inside Scoop

The ultimate measure of success for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has always been the way it’s always managed to build upon what previous-generation models have achieved over the years.

Daimler’s flagship saloon has always been good at that. It’s not enough to just carry around a heavyweight nameplate and hope for the best, which is why Mercedes has always pushed the S-Class to consistently improve as an overall product.

Recently, a 2021 S-Class prototype was spotted in traffic by our spy photographers, driving in front of a current-gen model, which allows us to draw one or two parallels between the two vehicles, even though the new W223 remains properly well-disguised.

How low can you go?

If you ignore that large chunk of body cladding on top of the hood, you’ll notice how the front fascia of the all-new model appears lower than on the previous car. This might be because of how the hood tapers off towards the grille, which by the way looks wider than the one on the current W222.

Another, probably less important design trait is that the license plate mount will be positioned lower, which makes sense if you have a larger grille with not a lot of room underneath.

Other than that, expect the car to feature the German automaker’s new design language (or at least some of it), which can be seen on models such as the all-new CLS or the all-new A-Class. This results in less creases running alongside the body of the car. As for the taillights, they could very well have a horizontal design, unlike the teardrop ones on the W222.

How much tech can it hold?

This is sort of a silly question to ask when it comes to a flagship Mercedes-Benz. The answer will always be as much as possible. Safety and connectivity should be top-notch, while autonomy should be at Level 3, where some parts of the driving experience will be fully autonomous, according to R&D boss Ola Källenius.

Speaking to Car and Driver at Auto China, Mercedes design boss Hartmut Sinkwitz said that the company will be putting a greater emphasis on “appealing to occupants’ sense of touch.” This will reportedly be reflected in multiple areas. Details are limited but the magazine suggests the scroll wheel interface for the COMAND infotainment system could be dropped and replaced with something more touch-centric.

The S-Class’ 12.3-inch displays will also be changed, but Sinkwitz was coy on specifics. He suggested they won’t be replaced by one massive screen, as that would be cold and impersonal, but he hinted the model could use a setup similar to the one on the Vision Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept. Interestingly, the prototype we spied in July, did not have the current car’s dual screen display, though, this could be an early development tester.

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class prototype
2019 Mercedes-Maybach Sedan (Euro spec)

The current S-Class offers a host of different interior lighting options and Sinkwitz said this will continue in the next-generation flagship. As he explained, “There are more opportunities than we currently have.” Sinkwitz went to say we can expect the company to make great use of direct and indirect light as well as ambient lighting. He also suggested the color changing air vents from the A-Class could make their way to the range-topping sedan.

Faster, more maneuverable and more efficient

While we haven’t heard any rumblings regarding the W223’s engine range, we expect it to feature multiple petrol and diesel units, as well as plug-in hybrid and fully-electric versions, where the latter will probably arrive sometime after the official launch.

Whatever Mercedes decides to do with regards to engines, they will surely be more fuel efficient and probably more powerful than the current ones.

Another interesting point is the fact that Mercedes have been seen testing 2020 S-Class mules with rear axle steering, which means the production models will probably get the technology too – something Audi has already implemented on their latest A8 flagship.

Regardless of when the all-new W223 S-Class breaks cover, the car isn’t expected in showrooms until the year 2020.

*Article has been revised with new information and spy images

more photos...

Photo Credits: CarPix / S. Baldauf/SB-Medien for Carscoops

  • U8INIT

    Lawd where is this time going…the current model still looks fresh as all get out…

    • Bo Hanan

      The EXACT same thing I was thinking. Ooooh Laaawd I swear the current version is less than 2 years old. Mercedes done lost they damn mind with these here updates. LOL.

      • Kaisuke971

        It is, the car got a facelift last year… But this is a very early mule, it’s probably for 2020. The timing is pretty standard for a car nowadays.

        • Bash

          True, it’s just about time for them.

    • Honda NSX-R

      The current gen S class has aged well

  • PK

    am i’m the only one that’s nervous about the new gen s class? how in the world mercedes benz’s going to top their current model? it’s gorgeous as F right now!!!!

    • Moveon Libtards

      They could screw it up like BMW has done in the past.

  • caddy45

    I really don’t get it. MB and BMW are able to crank out new models quickly, are constantly refreshing existing models, adding new engines or trim levels, etc. While GM seems to continue to drag their feet with product launches. It drives me nuts.

    • Moveon Libtards

      You are an idiot. The fact that you say “GM” when comparing to a luxury car maker makes your post suspect.

      GM is like Toyota, a mainline, mass manufacturer that makes car across a broad spectrum of models and prices. They dont even produce a $100K ultra luxury model like the S-class, so there is no comparison.

      Merecedes is not all peaches and cream. They have had reliability issues and only their top-tier models are great. Lower end ones are just selling a nameplate to the wannabe masses. Of course Cadillac, the only brand comparable, needs to do better. But “GM” is much more than Cadillac and sells A LOT MORE VEHICLES every year than Mercedes ever has.

    • Bo Hanan

      From your words to Mary’s ears.

    • Merc1

      GM is sorry and run poorly. MB and BMW are smartly run and healthy companies that re-invest in product to keep it all going. GM just doesn’t know how to really change the lazy and slacking corporate culture.


    • Cobrajet

      They don’t drop models like Ford too.

  • Moveon Libtards

    Or you could buy a Hyundai “luxury car” for the same price…


  • They shouldn’t drop the scroll wheel. Audi’s new infotainment system is less user friendly on the move, now that it lacks the wheel.

    • salamOOn

      yep, this touchscreen trend is plain stupid….

    • I strongly agree. I’m ok with touch screen, but I hate when it replaces simple things, seat heaters, volume, sunroof, climate on and off… all those things and many more shouldn’t be in menus. Each time you look at a screen you’re not looking at the road. People are angry at Mazda for cutting the touch fonction when you’re moving… But it’s much safer. And some cars have the touch screen too far away (I’m looking at you Ford).

  • AxlRock

    Enormous pressure on MB. It has to top the current car in every aspect, which is already awesome in every respect. It has to be able to be stretched to a Maybach, be ultra luxurious and have even more advanced tech. With the recent launch of the CLS, A Class and the Maybach SUV concept, my biggest worry is that they might screw up the design. Enormous pressure indeed.

  • Matthew Daraei

    Love the current S-Class a lot. Can I love the next generation even more? I think so.

  • Nicholas Mazzi

    Companies like Infiniti that sell only 250,000 cars worldwide and have a much smaller budget are trying to innovate with stuff like direct adaptive steering and variable compression engines while Mercedes Benz is probably researching advanced “mood” lighting.

    • Marty

      Nissan sells almost twice as many cars as Daimler each year.

      • probably, but Mercedes sells way more big margin cars. Like Porsche. They don’t sell that many cars… but they sell them with options costing as much as a small Nissan. Paint on an S-class or a Datsun?

    • Enter Ranting

      And high-tech air fresheners. Don’t forget those.

    • driv3r

      Infiniti doesn’t even come close to MB in terms of build quality, engine options, advanced driver assistance systems and infotainment options…

    • Silimarina

      You call that stupid drive by wire innovation?How about magic body control or the new Mercedes hypercar Project One that has a formula 1 engine

  • Enter Ranting

    Color-changing air vents? Because you can’t tell if the air coming out of them is warm unless the vents are glowing red? That interior already looks like a brothel built by Pep Boys. It doesn’t need any more light-up gimmicks. Also, touch screens are the worst, so replace more actual switches with them.

    • Hoe

      Exactly, some brothel there… elegance needs to be recovered

  • botornot387

    So the S Class will follow Audi’s lead here… In other news, iDrive will become more “touch-centric soon” #keeptherotarywheels

  • matrem

    Isn’t the s class supposed to introduce new design language? Every other generation s-class set the styling tone for the rest of the models.

    • driv3r

      As we are speaking of a 2020 timeframe the now “new” design language (A-Class, CLS-Class) will certainly be the “old” design language when the 2020 S-Class is revealed.

  • Bananarama

    This is truly the pinnacle of the segment. Who doesn’t like the S Class? The coupe is gorgeous by itself. The spyshots already look promising, aligning towards the new GT sedan and CLS. Those have good design cures, and I expect them to look even better on the grandiose proportions of the S sedan.

    I do think the S’s interior has aged just a bit. Those vents aren’t doing well. Put in the jet-engine styled ones from the E class and it’ll be good to go.

  • HotnCool

    I know, they want to put like new A Class touchscreen system, touchpad control and air conditioning ventilation

  • Elmediterraneo

    I’m expecting the V12’s death with that line-up :

    S450 : 6 cylinder 380 hp
    S560 EQPower : 6 cylinder hybrid 470 hp
    Maybach S560 : V8 490 hp
    Maybach S650 EQPower : V8 hybrid 640 hp
    AMG S63 : AMG V8 640 hp
    AMG S73 EQPower+ : AMG V8 hybrid 800 hp
    S350d : 6 cylinder diesel 300 hp
    S450d : 6 cylinder diesel 380 hp

  • Elmediterraneo

    What we can barely see :
    – A new steering wheel with thinner spokes
    – Steering wheel’s buttons are all replaced by two new mini touch screens following the GT 4 door’s rotating knob for Traction control
    – MBUX system with bigger and better displays

    Expected engine line-up
    – S350d 6 cylinder diesel 300 hp (EU only)
    – S400d 6 cylinder diesel 350 hp (EU only)
    – S450 6 cylinder 390 hp
    – S560e 6 cylinder hybrid 470 hp
    – S560 V8 490 hp
    – AMG S63 V8 640 hp
    – AMG S73 V8 hybrid 800 hp

  • WC001

    I, personally am very excited about the new S-Class. From what we can see, it looks as if Mercedes is going to replace the center stack controls in the current S-Class with a large display, instead of the side by side displays in the current model. This would make a lot of sense because the guy in the photos is trying very hard to block the view of the center stack. Oddly, it looks like they are replacing the rounded air vents with square ones, that will be in the new GLE. Overall, I’m really looking forward to the new model.

  • LJ

    Always, always, always, always, always….

  • Jason Panamera

    20th slide: air vents on the top of the dashboard what suggest touch screen below them. So the King gonna have touch screen.

    • salamOOn

      thats bad 🙁

      • Jason Panamera

        I agree. S class should have mind reading option. And I am serious about it. No effort.

        • Finkployd

          err I don’t want my car to call the cops on me

  • dumblikeyou2

    Great. Office assistants, daddy’s little girls and twenty-something Asian males should be excited for this.

2019 Mercedes-Benz CLA: Mini CLS Or Sleeker Alternative To The A-Class?

The new CLA is a good daily driver and a quality item, so if you don’t mind the cramped back seat, go for it.

It’ll Cost You $26k To Make Your Vantage Look Like This, Get An Extra 90 Horses

While the price does seem steep, bear in mind that this is a $150k Aston, and the list consists of quite a few upgrades.

Suzuki Jimny Shows Its Off-Roading Prowess Against A Triumph Scrambler

With a mere 101 HP, power is not the Jimny’s strong suit. It’s off-road capabilities, though, are, but do they suffice against the Triumph?.

CARB Filing Reveals Rolls-Royce Cullinan Will Get Black Badge Variant

Judging by other Rolls models that have received the same treatment, we know what to expect; the only unknown is whether it’ll get a power bump or not.

Alpina Has No Interest Tuning BMW’s Front-Wheel Drive Models

Alpina says it would be hard to make money from pumped-up versions of Munich’s latest FWD crop of cars.

This Ferrari 308 GTB Is An Enthusiast’s Dream Come True

It might not be the best, most reliable or fastest Ferrari, but for one person who was in love with it for a long time, it’s bliss.

Next-Generation Fiat Panda To Gain All-Electric Variant In 2023

The Panda EV will closely resemble the Centoventi concept and will adopt its swappable and upgradeable battery pack.

Mercedes-AMG G63 Proclaimed The Most Desirable Big SUV In The World

It’s still a great off-roader, has a modern, luxurious cabin, lots of power and can even tackle a track, so what’s not to love?.

If Toyota Were To Revive The MR2, It’d Rather Do It With Porsche

How does a mid-engine platform for a new MR2 and next-gen Boxster sound?.

Electrify America And EVgo Join Forces To Simplify U.S. Charging Network

EV owners will be able to use one account to use both companies’ charging stations throughout the country.