Mercedes has already hit us with many interesting debuts, changing the features we expect from compact cars and luxury SUVs in the same year. However, a new benchmark will be set when the next-generation S-Class arrives, the W223.

The W222 has bee around since 2013, which means it’s probably the oldest model they have, and we have a feeling that’s going to change at the end of the year. The camouflage on this prototype is still quite thick in places, but Mercedes has already allowed us to see many key features, like the infotainment screens or the flush-fitting door handles.

And here it is again, testing in Stuttgart like we’ve come to expect. Mercedes likes to take about two years starting prototype road testing to launch, if not more. And there’s a lot of work to be done here, the next S-Class having the highest level of autonomy we’ve seen from the brand.

Perhaps in order to make room for extra kit, the S-Class sedan will have the long wheelbase as standard from now on. This has to do with the E-Class growing to nearly 5 meters, pushing the W223 to around 5.25m.

That’s a lot of bodywork for just two rows of seats, and we can only presume people in the back will be treated royally, with every surface they touch being cooled/heated and the levels of tech being taken to the next level.

The S-Class has also changed its general appearance, gaining a coupe-like roof, sleeker profile, long taillights and a nose that reminds us of the first CLS. Despite being longer, reports suggest some versions will also be a little lighter, though we find them hard to believe.

All engines will have to transition to the EQ boost hybrid system to save fuel, but this also adds heavy batteries. In order to comply with European regulations, most models will use 2-liter or 3-liter engines, with at least two PHEVs becoming available. Not enough power? Fear not, as the AMG boys are reportedly going to put a 700+ HP V8-electric combo into production on the uber-expensive S73.