We’ve seen spyshots of the W223 Mercedes-Benz S-Class for a while now, but these images that made their way onto social media have revealed the design of the big limo for all to see. The luxury sedan is quite a departure from the outgoing W222 model, borrowing a fair few cues from the facelifted W213 E-Class.

At the front, the slim headlights contrast with what looks to be the largest grille ever fitted to the S-Class, clearly taking some inspiration from the also-facelifted G12 BMW 7 Series. The size of the opening has been emphasised still further by the slimmed-down chrome surround and a reduction of slats to just three. The large triple air intake design mark this out as the AMG Line model, now with more prominent chrome trim.

Moving to the rear, the car sports wider triangular tail lights that bear a striking resemblance to the C257 CLS, combined with the full-width chrome strip and the more conventional positioning of the number plate recess on the bootlid. The rear bumper design remains mostly similar to the current S-Class, with another chrome strip and a pair of fake-ish exhaust tips.

We also get a good look at the interior, where the W223 is an even bigger leap from its predecessor, here deriving many elements from the Vision EQS concept. The most prominent aspect – and the one bit we’ve seen in the spyshots – is the massive Tesla-style portrait-format touchscreen that floats above the rest of the dashboard, visually integrated with the centre console.

The addition of the new display also appears to have removed the need for the Comand rotary controller, so the storage compartment below it now takes up the entire console, with the cupholders positioned vertically. Also in a vertical format are the rectangular corner air vents – there are now two of them on each end, bookending the large decorative trim stretching the entire dashboard. Four air vents sit atop the dash.

Behind the new three-twin-spoke steering wheel lies the now familiar digital instrument display, which continues to be freestanding. Behind it, however, is a gaping hole which presumably houses the significantly larger head-up display, which could see Mercedes adopting proper augmented reality technology, overlaying pertinent information on top of real-world imagery.

Elsewhere, Stuttgart seems to be moving towards having fewer physical controls, with even the climate control functionality appearing to have migrated to the touch screen. The few that remain look to be touch-sensitive, including the row of buttons underneath the display and the controls for the rear air-conditioning. Moving to the back, the large twin seat back touchscreens remain, but a third display has cropped up in the armrest, likely controlling the rear seat functions.

Details of the new W223 remain scarce, but it’s been confirmed that Mercedes aims to make the car the first to feature certified Level 3 autonomous driving – a feat that is even more likely now that Audi has dropped out of the race. It is also expected to ditch the standard wheelbase variant to focus on the long wheelbase model, much like Lexus has with the latest LS.

The car should soldier on with a brace of straight-six and V8 petrol and diesel engines, along with a more advanced plug-in hybrid model that is set to offer greater performance and pure electric range compared to the existing S 560 e. The latter, in case you were wondering, pairs a 362 hp 3.0 litre turbocharged V6 with a 121 hp electric motor to deliver 469 hp and an all-electric range of 50 km.

The new S-Class is also likely to feature enhancements to its Airmatic+ air suspension thanks to the addition of a 48-volt electrical architecture – which should allow for features like active roll stabilisation – and a camera-based predictive damping system. The W223 will be sold alongside the all-electric EQS, which will be built on the bespoke Modular Electric Architecture (MEA).