• Feb 9, 2010
2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class mule - click above for high-res image gallery

We find it hard to believe that the W221 S-Class has been with us for five years already. Introduced to the world in the fall of 2005 at the Geneva Motor Show, the tenth generation S-Class is the biggest, fastest and heaviest of them all – at least in S65 twin-turbo V12 trim. However, like all good things, the W221 must come to an end to make way for the 11th generation S-Class. As Mercedes-Benz seems to be intent on keeping the S-Class on a six-year production cycle, it comes as no big surprise that some spy photographer friends of ours just captured the 2012 S-Class in the heavily camo'd flesh.

What exactly are we looking at? It's really tough to say, as this particular mule is draped in a hot mess of panels, shrouds and rubber bunting. The side sills are even missing. That said, we got a taste of what a new S-Class might look like when Mercedes-Benz showed the world its eco-friendly F700 concept back at the 2007 Geneva show. Rumors persist that the future range topping MB will indeed come with shrunken headlights and a more upright grille, but not quite as extreme as on the F700.

Obviously, the protruding tail lights seen here on the mule are pure fiction, and will miserably fail European pedestrian safety standards. You can also see that the door cuts on the car above are different than the current S-Class, though they are disguised to the point of not really being able to tell. Especially as these are far from the final, production body panels.

Weight probably won't fall very much thanks to Mercedes' mission of always swaddling the S-Class with as much new technology and safety equipment as possible. However, a plug-in hybrid S-Class is on the way, along with a full hybrid, a mild hybrid and all those big bad V8s and V12s we love so much. Expect the new S-Class to appear in 2011 as a 2012 model.




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      MB have a track record of getting every other S-Class right in the looks department.

      If you can see through the disguise this looks like the good one, right on schedule.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It looks a vehicle that is work in progress. Far from a finished article. However, I can't dispute the specifications. Any idea where this S-Class was spotted?
      Mercedes Benz Dealership UK
      http://www.benz.co.uk
      • 4 Years Ago
      F700? No weigh. Entirly to... rounded. I liked the direction Mercedes was going in with the W204 and W212, making them kind of... boxy (like the Mercs of the 80s). Hopefully the W126/w140 will influence the new S class...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think people are a little confused here. The 2012 S-Class is going to be an entirely new model, not just a facelift. The W221 doesn't have the space to accomodate a full-hybrid anyway, so that should have been the first obvious sign from this article. What you are looking at is the first stages of testing of the W222.

      I'm actually a little sad, I love the W221 and hate the thought of it disappearing. Still, if MB's recent redesigns are any indication this new one should manage to be even better. Here's hoping they don't mess it up like they did with the W220.
      • 4 Years Ago
      glad to see it still has that ugly ass still. nice facelift, maybe the next round they can have it mate with an Acura TL and get an ugly nose too.
        • 4 Years Ago
        and the C-pillar of the e-class is just bad

        I dislike it on the new E-class and it looks worse here on the s-class

        I like the current S-class (except the center console design) but this refresh will miss the mark

        the A8 just went for worse and now the S-class is joining it leaving the 7-series as likely the better looking option
      • 4 Years Ago
      The S-class is the chariot of foreign business men to show off their money.
      • 4 Years Ago
      i will own a v12 s-class before i die. prerequisite.
        • 4 Years Ago
        those rear lights are also on the CLS... barf
      • 4 Years Ago
      TAXI!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Not a huge fan of Mercedes, but if they make it look like the F700... I'll be sick. Those are the most popular big sedans around here, and I would hate to lose my last meal every time I drive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's interesting how quickly the S-Class has already been eclipsed by it competition. It still probably is the best car in its class, but in the look department it is looking long in the tooth (already).

        If the next-gen S-Class is as good as the W212 new E-Class, this is going to be a real winner.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The S-Class needs to take some interior ques from the new Volvo S60. Clean, uncluttered dash. The Volvo and Mercedes both need to drop the built-in navigation to clean up the dash. Or at least have and option to not have it. I don't like big touchscreens in the middle of my dash. We need to be focused on the road and not at screen.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I kinda get what you're saying, mnmlist, but I think it's a tough order to fill from a value analysis standpoint. Don't think of it so much as MB assuming you want an overpriced nav as that they are assuming for your $80,000+ car, you're going to expect a few niceties.

        Even if there was a "base" model stripped of those features, it's a fallacy to think that said car would somehow undercut the current entry-level car by tens of thousands of dollars. In reality, it would end up being more like the Camaro LS vs. LT1 pricing structure, and you'd be saying "okay, but for a grand more I get ALL OF THAT???"

        There is a car out there for you, mnmlist. If you want a full-size four-door sedan that drives like a Mercedes and has nothing in it... buy a Dodge Charger.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @skablaw: Point i'm making is I'm all about choice. Why do they default to thinking people want an overpriced in-dash nav? Why is the car better when every "luxury" feature is addressed? And its not an "old world luxury" i'm after because again Bentley may do a great job at it but its still a cluttered dash and one too many dials for my taste. How about if i like the S-Class overall(ride, quietness, comfortable seats, easy of driving) but loathe the fact that i can't just have a one knob for A/C, one for my radio/CD, and a simple analog instrument cluster without touchscreens. Just because i don't have it on the dash as a physical button doesn't mean i want it on touchscreen menus that i have to navigate through. How about just doing without, AS AN OPTION?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Can't tell if it is a refresh or a new car, but the rear quarter panel looks the same. But, it is a S-Class, so it will have alot of cool new gadgets on it.
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