It seems Mercedes-Benz is trying out a new, rather odd way of conducting testing on the upcoming facelifted W222 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. We first saw the refreshed luxury sedan in November, sporting a pair of new headlights but nothing else, and now our European spies have caught it trying another component for size.
Previously, the mule appeared to be sporting the newfangled Multibeam headlight technology that has also been seen on the new W213 E-Class, with a larger LED projector, three smaller reflector units and reprofiled LED daytime running lights.
This time, the car has reverted back to the standard LED headlights from the current car – if they look unfamiliar, that’s because our S 400h comes with the higher-end Intelligent LED System units as standard which have dual LED projectors, rather than just one here.
However, the prototype’s grille has now been shrouded, suggesting that a redesign could take place. The disguise may also be hiding some new sensors that control some of the car’s rumoured semi-autonomous driving features – the grille currently houses the radar sensor for the Distronic Plus active cruise control on cars which have the system equipped.
Beyond that, expect the car to feature reprofiled front and rear bumpers to better match its newer siblings like the C-Class and E-Class. Given the slow rollout of new parts seen testing, we assume we’ll see those in the next batch of spyshots.
We’ve already had a look at the interior of the facelifted S-Class, which appears to be fitted with features and technologies seen on the new E-Class, including a three-spoke steering wheel (current wheel has two spokes) with touchpads to control the COMAND infotainment system, a new non-removable start button and a full-width flat-panel display for both the digital instrument cluster and COMAND system.
The buttons to stow the rear headrest, raise or lower the rear window blind, adjust the height of the Airmatic suspension and control the display backlight brightness – currently situated between the two 12.3-inch screens up front – have also been relocated, presumably for a cleaner look.
Elsewhere, expect the usual performance and fuel efficiency upgrades, as well as other tech from the new E-Class. The latter includes the autonomous Remote Parking Pilot as well as the new Active Brake Assist system that is now capable of scanning other lanes for cars and initiating braking earlier if it senses an evasive manoeuvre is impossible.
Other anticipated features include Evasive Steering Assist, Distance Pilot Distronic with Speed Limit Pilot and Active Lane Keeping Assist, semi-autonomous Active Lane Change Assist as well as an uprated Pre-Safe system – the latter now protects your ears in a loud crash, and pushes occupants closer to the centre of the car using the inflatable seat bolsters to provide more survival space in the event of a side impact.
GALLERY: W222 Mercedes-Benz S 400 L Hybrid