Next Mercedes S-Class: when the tablets take over the cabin

Published: 15 February 2019

► It's the new 2020 Mercedes S-Class
► All-new, seventh-gen limousine
► Features a massive, Tesla-style display 

You're looking at the new, seventh-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class limousine, scooped during winter testing in the wilds of northern Sweden. And on this occasion the inside of the prototype is more interesting than the outside - the interior will be revolutionised by one of the biggest touchscreens we've yet seen in a European car.

The cabin is dominated by a huge, portrait-oriented digital display sprouting from the centre console with a row of what look like capacitative soft keys below to control stereo functions, parking sensors and other minor functions.

It's tricky to gauge size from photographs, but the giant touchscreen in the cabin looks to be roughly the size of an iPad Pro. The upright screen on a Tesla Model S all those years ago looks quite prescient now, doesn't it?

The new 2020 Mercedes S-Class limousine: spy photos

The launch of a new S-Class is always a milestone in Mercedes product roadmaps: this car is being engineered to regain the tech edge over its rivals.

Expect the interior of the new S-Class to have the very latest version of MBUX voice control, as the algorithm becomes even more sophisticated in understanding natural speech inputs.

History of the Mercedes S-Class: we drive all six previous generations

What else do we know about the new 2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class?

This latest generation of prototypes is slowly shedding the camouflage; they now have the production lights fitted and they seem to be the very latest iteration of Mercedes' matrix LED headlamps. Our spies report that the indicators are wiping, 'scrolling' affairs with a flashy animation. 

Scooped: new 2020 Mercedes S-Class limo

Engineers are winter-testing a variety of powertrains in the Arctic and we know there will be the usual array of petrol, diesel and - increasingly - hybrid electrified models available on the next S-Class.

A fully electric 'Tesla-fighter' is in the pipeline, too. Badged EQ S, it will have a range of more than 300 miles when it launches in 2022.

Word is, the new S will come in only one wheelbase - and that'll be extra long. As the E-Class and CLS grow in length, so the S-Class needs to stretch to stay ahead of the Joneses. Find out more in the months leading to its launch in 2020.

Group test: when we tested the current Mercedes S-Class vs Audi A8 and BMW 7-series

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet