PREVIEW: A deep look into the next generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Towards the end of next year, Mercedes-Benz will take the wraps off the new generation S-Class, that is currently undergoing the rigorous testing and development programme. To attract new clients into purchasing the model, no less than four body styles will be available in less than three years: the SWB (standard wheelbase) at the start of sales, the LWB (long wheelbase) following in 2013, the new S-Class Coupe replacing the CL-Class in 2013 as well and an exquisite four-seater Mercedes S-Class Cabriolet version in 2014, to take up on the illustrious Ocean Drive Concept 4-door cabrio concept car premiered in 2006.
The technical platform will consist of the entirely new mastered Mercedes Rearwheel Architecture (MRA), expected to be the most flexible chassis in the world, as it will allow further powering solutions to be implemented without changing the basis underpinnings due to the modular structure. The pneumatic AIRMATIC suspension system will also be rehauled to deliver outstanding comfort, and the Active Body Control (ABC) will gather more functions to improve the general behaviour. A radar-based MAGIC RIDE CONTROL system, inspired by the F 700 Research Vehicle, is also part of the equipment list. The magic stuff continues as the future S-Class will boast MAGIC LIGHT CONTROL, meaning full LED headlamps and adaptive free-flow light patterns varying with speed, weather and steering angle. The current COMAND infotainment system will be replaced by the intelligent Servo-HMI interface, which packs a bigger LCD screen, fewer controls, probably a touchpad and sensors that can read the driver's hand movements and revert them into actioning certain commands. The extended-memory hard disk for storing your media files and maps for the navigation facility goes without saying.
The powerplant choice will comprise fuel-efficient 4I, V6 and V8 units: a 2.1 litres 204 hp engine for the S 250, a 3.5 litres V6 available in two power options - 306 hp and 354 hp for the S 350, a 4.7 litres V8 with 435 hp (or probably more) for the S 500. Even though there were hints Mercedes-Benz will axe the high-end S 600 version, it now appears that the engineers are developing a new V12 unit, that shall be of at least 550 hp. Hybrid variants are also expected, the most certain one being the S 500 PLUG-IN HYBRID featuring a 306 hp V6 internal combustion engine and an 109 hp electric motor. Moreover, company officials don't rule out an all-electric Mercedes S-Class. As for the AMG sports limousine, the S 63 is prone to pack the 5.5 litres TT V8 producing 571 hp and 900 Nm, while it is not clear whether the S 65 range-topping version will be put to sleep or not.
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