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Spy Shots: 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class spotted

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Filed under: Spy Photos, Sedan, Europe, Mercedes-Benz, Luxury

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.

Spy Shots: 2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class spotted originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 09 Feb 2010 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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This is sooner than I expected, usually the S-class lasts around 8 model years. It is still the best car in the world, looks like they don't want anyone threatening it. I wonder what they'll have on it, and if auto-swerve will be ready by then.

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No 10-speed, but it looks like it will be able to steer itself.

New DISTRONIC PLUS Traffic Jam Assistant further reduces the stress of driving

Back in 2006, Mercedes-Benz introduced DISTRONIC PLUS, the world's first proximity and speed control system that operates even when the car is standing still. The system substantially reduces the stress for drivers in dense traffic, as it regulates the distance from the vehicle in front even at very low speeds all the way down to a standstill. With its new DISTRONIC PLUS Traffic Jam Assistant feature in the F800 Style, Mercedes-Benz has also become the world's first automaker to implement a system that is also capable of automatically following the vehicle in front of it into curves. The system recognizes the difference between driving along curving roads and turning, which means it does not "blindly" follow the vehicle up in front - for example, when it changes lanes in order to exit the highway.

The result is that at speeds of up to about 25 mph, the Traffic Jam Assistant function takes care of both longitudinal and transverse movements so that drivers do not have to steer themselves. The driver can just sit back and relax - with hands on the steering wheel. When the 25 mph mark is exceeded, the steering torque that keeps the vehicle in its lane is gradually reduced to a point at which the Traffic Jam Assistant smoothly disengages. Drivers can, of course, override the system at any time. Sensitive sensors notice active steering movements, thus automatically deactivating the system's lateral control function.

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Might as well fill the entire passenger compartment with computers & processors- for as much actual driving by a human this machine allows. What a wretched cold textbook case of 'because we can'.

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