A global premiere for the all-new S-Class is expected to occur in the coming months, but these latest spy photos suggest Merc doesn't mind allowing us an early look at the new flagship.
Spied undergoing final tests in Europe this week, the new S-Class has done away with the bulk of its camouflage, leaving only its front and rear lights taped over.
The images reveal that the sweeping roofline of the current model has evolved further, with a taller belt-line and lower canopy creating a more dramatic coupe-like profile.
These new images follow a handful of new interior photos and details released by Mercedes-Benz last month, offering a full view of the luxurious new cabin.
British website Autocar reports the new S will be shown to prospective buyers at an invite-only event in Germany next month, ahead of August production and a September launch.
The new S-Class range is expected to include the powerful S 550 4Matic model, followed later in 2013 by the top-shelf S 63 AMG 4Matic.
Hybrid options will also feature, and the range of hybrid powertrains is expected to grow. Currently, only one hybrid model exists in the W221 S-Class line up - the S 400 Bluehybrid.
A new nine-speed automatic transmission - dubbed 9G-tronic - is also expected, replacing the existing seven-speed 7G-tronic unit.
The new transmission is expected to be compatible with most drivetrains and configurations, although it is unclear if hybrid models will also get the new shifter.
The debut of the new S-Class will also bring a raft of new safety systems, including a new radar- and camera-based pedestrian detection and collision avoidance system.
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.