SPY: 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W 222) - first FEP prototype spotted in Stuttgart

The advent of this less camouflaged test vehicles, pictured above, signals the entrance into the last stage of development for the future generation S-Class (W 222). Around six months are left from this moment until the official reveal scheduled for the Paris motor show at the beginning of October. We shall probably see the finished product earlier, around one month ahead the world debut, when Mercedes-Benz usually releases some initial images and details to preview a new model.

While we are sure the new S-Class will definitely boast state-of-the-art technologies and system, we are worried about what we see in these latest spy shots. After shaving off the camouflage, the prototype reveals more of the exterior design. And, somehow, we do not feel the car. Afraid or not, we could be unpleasantly surprised when the S-Class is unveiled. All in all, the W 222 generation seems looks to be a shy evolution of the current W 221 model, as the new elements seem to have been simply applied to the old body.

Even though it appears to have grown in length, the style is basically the same, if one observes the greenhouse or the general aspect of the rear end. At least, the criticized bulged wheel arches are gone, but we can't help wondering about what could lie under the camouflage applied to the sides of the car. Crazy design experiments work for inferior models, but not for an executive limousine such as the S-Class, so it would better have a clean, elegant profile.

Some influence from the F 700 research vehicle of 2007 can be spotted: a mild, harmonious rear end with beautifully shaped LED lamps is left to fight with a very aggressive, heavy and gnarled front fascia, dominated by a gargantuan, powerful grille, also inspired by the F 700, but at least harking back to old, traditional Mercedes-Benz cars built during the first decades of the 20th century. To continue in the same note and the make room for equipment, such as the radars used for the MAGIC BODY CONTROL ride management system, the headlight needed to be bigger. And they are... huge and overdesigned, we say. So far, the evidence points to the computer-generated illustration Autobild released back in 2010.

Hopefully, the Germans haven't screwed up the new S-Class aesthetically and Mercedes-Benz is not living its own "Bangle era" as BMW did between 2000 and 2006. This prestigious model, boasting a rich heritage, does not need to be visually intriguing. It just has to be what it's intended to be: an S-Class by all means.

Image Credits: Mercedes Fans

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