New 2020 Mercedes S-Class: price, specs and release date

Nick Lette van Oostvoorne
August 03, 2020

The new Mercedes S-Class has been spotted undergoing testing before the car’s officially revealed in September 2020. Before then, here’s everything you need to know about this uber-high-tech saloon…

  • All-new bodywork
  • Giant portrait touchscreen
  • Augmented-reality tech
  • Biometric security features
  • Plug-in hybrid model
  • Advanced new safety kit
  • Rear-wheel steering tech
  • 100km of electric-only range
  • Will be revealed September 2020

You’re not supposed to see the new Mercedes S-Class until September 2020, but our sharp-eyed photographers have spotted this all-new BMW 7 Series and Audi A8 alternative being tested on public roads.

The new S-Class doesn’t look radically different from the old car.

New Mercedes S-Class design

These photos give us our best look yet at the new Mercedes S-Class. There’s only a small amount of camouflage disguising the shape of the headlights and brakelights, so we can see clearly that the new car will feature similar elegant styling to the outgoing model.

This official teaser image shows us what the new S-Class’s LED headlights will look like. 

The headlights themselves will come with LED tech as standard, but higher-spec models will come with super-bright Matrix LED lights instead. They’ll be able to shade out traffic while lighting up the surrounding road, and they’ll be hooked up to the car’s sat-nav to illuminate corners as effectively as possible.

The new Mercedes S-Class gets a subtle, swoopy silhouette.

The front bumper features a very similar set of curvy air intakes to the old model, but the central grille is wider and taller than before. Although Mercedes has resisted the urge to sap a massive 7-Series-aping grille on the new S-Class.

The new S-Class’ rear bumper is all-new, but it looks similar to the old car’s. 

The new car looks almost identical to the old model from the side, however. And, the rear bumper gets a very similar strip of chrome above two exaggerated exhaust tips.

If you fancy the idea of a sporty S-Class, then you’ll want to sidestep the big four-door saloon and go for the more compact (relatively speaking) two-door S-Class Coupe. We haven’t seen a prototype out on the road yet, but you can expect it to be lower, sportier, and more expensive than the saloon to make it an alternative to the Bentley Continental GT and the Aston Martin DB11.

New 2020 Mercedes S-Class infotainment and technology

Unlike the outgoing Mercedes S-Class the new model won’t get Mercedes’ cool one-piece widescreen infotainment system. “Oh no!” we hear you gasp – after all, isn’t that the system that Mat finally conceded is better than BMW’s iDrive? Well yes, but from the looks of Mercedes’ latest images, the system in the new S-Class will be even better.

New 3D graphics will set the new S-Class’ digital driver’s display apart from the old car’s.

For a start, new OLED technology will make the screen contrast stronger, which helps make it easier to read in direct sunlight. The touchscreen can also track the position of your finger before you’ve pressed the screen and highlight icons as you hover over them. Mercedes has confirmed that the new MBUX system will also feature 3D-effect graphics for the driver’s display that don’t require you to wear special 3D glasses – thank goodness.

Fingerprint scanning is one of a few new security features.

The new MBUX system comes with a host of added security features, too. Now you can lock and unlock the system using a PIN code, a fingerprint scanner, or with face and voice recognition – just like on many smartphones.

Mercedes’ latest augmented-reality sat-nav system will display live animated directions on the head-up-display.

You’ll also be able to upgrade the S-Class’ augmented-reality sat-nav. This takes the system already fitted to the latest A-Class, E-Class and GLB and adds an additional animated arrow on the head-up display. This uses front-facing cameras to track the road ahead and move the arrows to always point directly to the turning you need to take. Clever huh?

As in many new cars, the new S-Class will feature on-screen heating controls. 

Sadly, it looks as though Mercedes couldn’t resist the urge to integrate the climate controls into this mammoth touchscreen – perhaps there simply wasn’t space left on the dashboard for them? Overall, Mercedes has stripped 27 mechanical buttons from the new S-Class’ interior and replaced them with touchscreen or voice-activated controls.

Speaking of voice-activation, Mercedes has also upgraded its ‘Hey Mercedes’ personal assistant system. Now it’ll understand commands spoken in 27 languages and lets you control more of the car’s features. Mercedes has also tweaked the system so it can answer a phone call without the need for a ‘Hey Mercedes’ trigger phrase. Hopefully, they’ve also programmed it to stop chiming in unannounced like the current system…

New 2020 Mercedes S-Class interior and practicality

The old S-Class was one of the most luxurious cars ever made, so don’t go expecting anything less from the all-new model. All versions will feature electric seats with a plethora of electric adjustment along with heating, cooling and massage functions.

Factor in a steering wheel that adjusts electrically, and it’s unlikely that you’ll feel uncomfortable behind the wheel of the Mercedes, whether you’re very tall or very small.

Mercedes will offer the new S-Class with three extra screens in the back.

The same will go for your friends in the back seat – whatever their size, they should be able to get comfortable. You might even buy the S-Class to be driven in, rather than to drive, in which case you’ll be able to choose from a range of different back seats that’ll offer heating, cooling and adjustment if you don’t mind paying extra for it.

Mercedes is also likely to offer the S-Class with a pair of individual rear seats that will recline back almost flat and include a leg rest that rise up from the floor.

The new Mercedes S-Class will come with a range of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines. 

New 2020 Mercedes S-Class engines and driving

The new Mercedes S-Class will come with a range of six, eight and possibly 12-cylinder engines – some of which will feature mild-hybrid power to boost fuel economy. A nine-speed automatic gearbox will come as standard, and you’ll be able to spec a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid model that’ll be capable of more than 60 miles in electric-only mode between charges.

The new Plug-in Hybrid S-Class will manage around 60 miles in electric-only mode. 

The entry-level six-cylinder diesel model – likely to be badged the 350d and come with around 300hp – will be a good all-rounder. It’ll be capable of returning more than 40mpg and should surge the heavy S-Class from 0-62mph in under seven seconds.

If you’ll often use your S-Class in town then the plug-in hybrid model might be the one to go for. It’ll likely use a smooth six-cylinder petrol engine that’ll be boosted by a large electric motor to increase performance and allow the car to run on pure-electric power alone for around 60 miles. The resulting low CO2 emissions would make it exempt from paying London’s Congestion Charge.

The new S-Class will also come with a rear-wheel-steering feature that’s designed to make it as manoeuvrable as possible in town. This will steer the rear wheels by up to 10 degrees in the opposite angle to the front wheels to help the S-Class do a U-Turn is no more space than it takes the much smaller A-Class to turn around. At high speed, it angles the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels to make the car more stable.

The new Mercedes S-Class will be the first production car to come with front-impact airbags in the back seats.

2020 Mercedes S-Class safety

The new S-Class will be the first production car to come with airbags for rear-seat passengers that deploy from the back of the front seats. These will work in the same was as front-seat airbags and help reduce the risk of injury in head-on collisions.

There’s also a new system that can detect potential collisions with vehicles approaching rapidly from the side and will automatically raise the S-Class’ suspension by up to 8cm. This helps transmit the force of an impact into the car’s lower chassis, which is one of the strongest parts of the car.

The new S-Class uses its adaptive suspension to protect occupants in a side-on crash. 

The new S-Class will even use its electrically adjustable seats to push occupants towards the centre of the car in a collision to help prevent your head from making contact with the doors or windows.

Mercedes will officially reveal the new S-Class in September 2020.

New 2020 Mercedes S-Class price and release date

Mercedes has confirmed it’ll reveal the new S-Class in September 2020 and it should go on sale soon after. You can expect to pay a little more than the outgoing model – all those high-tech goodies don’t come cheap – so set aside in the region of £80,000 for an entry-level model.

If you can’t wait for this new model, read our review of the outgoing Mercedes S-Class.