Mercedes S-class (2013) spied in Death Valley

Published: 19 July 2012

Here comes the new version of the biggest Benz, the 2013 S-class. These new photos reveal more of the limo's sheet metal, as engineers strip away disguise for their hot weather tests. 

What's the latest on the 2013 Mercedes S-class?

The front end is beginning to appear: note that finely-louvered grille in the front bumper, and the bejewelled headlamps. Those lights will feature Merc's new 'Magic Light Control' system, which uses adaptive LEDs to illuminate the route ahead, even helping the driver peer around corners, while not dazzling oncoming cars.

The shape of that C-pillar is interesting, too. Its curvature, and the angle of the bootlid, appear to have a bit more of the CL and CLS-look than today's monolithic profile.

Surely the 2013 Mercedes S-class is set to be a tech-fest?

Oh yes indeed. This S-class has more magic than the lovechild of Paul Daniels and David Copperfield, with features such as 'Magic Body Control'. This system uses cameras and sensors in the car's nose to monitor the road ahead for bumps, and then vary the damping rate accordingly. So, if you spot a gnarly pothole in your path, there's no need to flinch and wait for the inevitable, bone-shuddering thunk. Allow the S-class to notice the crater and adjust itself, leaving you to simply continue wafting along.

The big S borrows a trick from the SLK too, with 'Magic Sky Control' - essentially a glass roof panel with a variable tint controlled by occupants. Disappointingly, given the enticing name, it doesn't allow UK buyers to tailor the weather.

Any more tricks up its sleeve?

Mercedes always makes a safety statement with its flagships, so the new S will feature the latest in emergency braking and radar-guided cruise control. The standard wheelbase model arrives first in 2013, with a stretched version following soon after.

The S-class is the latest in a run of exciting cars to stray into our Death Valley photographer's rangefinder: we've also seen the new Mini Cooper S and BMW X5 sweating it out in the Californian desert.