Thursday 24 May 2012

Spied: 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Spies have caught the next-generation Mercedes S-Class luxury sedan undergoing testing in Germany, wearing a thin white disguise.
Gone are the prototype bolt-on rear lights, thick coating on the side profile, and fake bodypanels, revealing more details like the LED rear lights, chrome grille, and front bumper with curvy fog-light surrounds.

Initially, it was thought that the S-Class would borrow styling from the F125 and F800 concepts, but the grille is similar to the F700 Research Vehicle that was first unveiled back in 2007.

Engine options are expected to mirror the current model, albeit with some updates and tweaks that will improve fuel efficiency and lower emissions. These should include a 250 CDI, a S350 CDI, a S300 BlueTec diesel-hybrid, a S400 BlueTec petrol-hybrid, the S500 (aka S550), S600, S63 AMG and S65 AMG.

Unconfirmed reports hint that Mercedes wants a host of hybrid variants, including a plug-in hybrid S500 Vision Concept that is powered by a 3.0 litre V6 petrol and a 60PS (44kW) electric motor. This allows for a combined fuel economy figure of 78mpg (3.0l/100km).

Like its predecessor, the new S-Class with arrive with a shedful of new technology, including a couple of forward-facing cameras integrated into the rear-view mirror. The current forward radar system will also be modified to allow the debut of Magic Ride Control, a damping system that Mercedes anticipates will reduce body movement by 50%, in addition to the system being able to see vulnerable pedestrians. A low-speed adaptive cruise control that overtakes the steering in certain situations will also feature.

Reports suggest that one of the most important technological breakthroughs will be a nine-speed sequential automatic gearbox called 9G-Tronic.

The nine-speed box was developed as a successor to the existing seven-speed unit and is said to greatly improve fuel efficiency and to help give a smooth and quiet ride.

The gearbox will be mounted longitudinally under the S-Class. It will be adaptable to just about every kind of drivetrain ranging and will be used in both rear- and all-wheel drive models, and even the hybrid variant is expected to be equipped with it.

After debuting in the S-Class, the nine-speed gearbox will likely trickle down to other members of the Mercedes-Benz lineup.

Following the unveiling of the S-Class sedan, we expect a long-wheelbase sedan and a coupé to launch later. These will also be joined by a cabriolet and a pair of ultra-luxurious Pullman models that replaces the Maybach brand.

Look for the car to make its debut in Geneva next Spring.


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