Even though Mercedes-Benz gave the W222 S-Class a facelift last year, the German carmaker is in the midst of developing the next generation of its flagship sedan. A test mule was spotted recently by our spies, giving us some idea what the finished product might look like – a debut has been rumoured for 2020 or 2021.

As with most mules, there’s plenty of camouflage on display. However, it is clear the front fascia is completely new, with influence from the CLS and A-Class. The grille and headlights appear to be much lower than those on the current W222 – the latter appearing more angular as well.

Moving to the rear, the covers over the taillights reveal a horizontal layout for the new car. This will see the vertical-oriented units be replaced, and is in line with the company’s newer models. The mid-section of the car looks largely similar to the W222, although the interior will likely be revamped.

Expect the engine line-up to be largely similar to what is available now, with a mix of six- and eight-cylinder engines, including the M256 3.0 litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder petrol unit. We don’t see any charging ports on this mule, but a plug-in hybrid should be offered. given how the current W222 exists in the form of the S 560 e.