While the company's Australian dealers welcome a range of new petrol and diesel engines for the current model, Mercedes-Benz' new 2012 S-Class has been spied testing alongside its predecessor.
Along with rumoured hybrid models, reports last year suggest that the new 2012 S-Class will also be the first Mercedes-Benz to showcase the brand's new interior design direction.
Speaking with What Car? magazine, senior interior designer Hartmut Sinkwitz revealed that the S-Class will feature an interior heavily inspired by the F800 Style concept revealed at Geneva earlier this year.
While he revealed little about which elements from the concept would transition to the new S-Class, Sinkwitz said that a new interface will replace the company's COMAND system, replacing the rotary knob with a series of cameras that track hand gestures.
“The design is realy looking forward,” Sinkwitz said. “In most designs there are aspects that you carry over, or must use--there is always some switchgear that you must use for cost reasons, or for brand reasons, but this will be different. It is a clean design.”
On the outside, the new S-Class, despite the heavy camouflage, will clearly share the new styling directions evident in the new model range from the German luxury carmaker.
As for that hybrid line-up, reports out of the US earlier this year suggested that buyers can look forward to an extensive range of green engines. These reports, which may have been somewhat 'over-egged', proposed that only models wearing an AMG badge will retain a conventional internal-combustion powertrain. We'll know soon.
For now, the only hybrid in the S-Class line-up is the S400 BlueHybrid, powered by a 205kW 3.5 litre V6 engine coupled with a 15kW electric motor resulting in a fuel consumption figure of 7.9 l/100km.
Whether the next-generation full-hybrid S-Class line-up would take on a more balanced arrangement - with smaller engines and a more powerful electric motor - remains to be seen.
AMG's S-Class offerings are expected to stay strictly V8, utilising the company's new direct-injected 5.5 litre V8 engine, developing 400kW and listing a fuel consumption figure of 10.5 l/100km.
With the next-generation S-Class right around the corner and the current range only recently getting new powertrains, it seems more likely that its engine line-up will be more evolutionary rather than revolutionary.