Tony O'Kane | Feb 7, 2012

As the current W221 S-Class rapidly approaches retirement Mercedes-Benz has been spied putting the finishing touches on its replacement.

The next-generation S-Class, which is set to go on sale later this year as a 2013 model, will be built on the all-new Mercedes Rear-wheel-drive Architecture (MRA) and likely have a slightly longer wheelbase than the current model.

It's expected to grow markedly both internally and externally, with styling elements borrowed from the F800 Style concept.

The heavily-clad prototype seen here gives away few clues about the new S-Class' exterior and interior design, but the car's dashboard appears to be dominated by a new twin-screen setup.

The prototype's steering wheel appears to be identical to that of the the SLK and upcoming SL, and the Comand infotainment interface looks like it will live on in the next-gen S-Class.

Engines are believed to range from a four-cylinder turbodiesel to a twin-turbo V12, with a brace of twin-turbo V6s and V8s also in the mix.

Hybrid options will also exist, and the range of hybrid powertrains is expected to grow. Currently, only one hybrid model exists in the W221 S-Class line up - the S400 Bluehybrid.

The all-new "W222" S-Class will launch later this year with the short-wheelbase model, to be followed by the long-wheelbase limousine in 2013.

A coupe and a four-door convertible variant are also rumoured to be in the works, however it's unlikely we'll hear more about these until next year.

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