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2026 Mercedes-Benz S-Class spied with updates

2026 Mercedes-Benz S-Class spied with updates

  • The 2026 Mercedes-Benz S-Class will feature a refreshed design
  • The updated 2026 S-Class will adopt design elements from the smaller E-Class
  • S-Class buyers will still find gas engines under the sedan’s hood

Mercedes-Benz has been spotted testing prototypes for an updated S-Class expected on the market late next year as a 2026 model.

The current generation of the Mercedes flagship sedan, the W223, debuted in 2020 as a 2021 model. Mercedes tends to launch an update for its cars after four years, which traditionally marks the midway point in the lifecycle for the automaker’s vehicles, though this update is a year behind that schedule.

It points to the current S-Class having a longer shelf life, likely part of the fallout of the automaker’s recent decision to keep gas-powered cars on sale beyond 2030, the date by which the automaker previously thought it would be a fully electric brand.

Keeping current gas-powered models on sale for longer will buy Mercedes time to wait and see how the EV market develops, and potentially prepare previously unplanned successors for its gas lineup. In the case of the GLE-Class and GLS-Class, Mercedes is even preparing a second update to extend the shelf life of those vehicles, and there are rumors this S-Class generation will also receive a second update at some point before ultimately being replaced by an electric successor.

2026 Mercedes-Benz S-Class facelift spy shots - Photo credit: Baldauf

2026 Mercedes-Benz S-Class facelift spy shots – Photo credit: Baldauf

Judging by the camouflage gear on the S-Class prototypes, the update will consist of new lights at both ends and a larger grille. The taillights adopt three-pointed star motifs, similar to what’s found in the latest E-Class, while the headlights have a similar design, in this case for the turn signals. An update for the EQS electric hatchback is due around the same time as the updated S-Class, and it will also introduce the star-shaped turn signals.

The new grille on the updated S-Class can clearly be seen extending lower into the front fascia. The rear section is heavily camouflaged, suggesting some changes are happening to the rear fascia as well. According to our photographer, the dashboard was also covered in areas.

The S-Class is currently offered in the U.S. with a base turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 with mild-hybrid technology in an S 500 grade, and the same engine paired with a plug-in hybrid system in the S 580e grade. A non-electrified S 580 grade is also on offer, powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8.

Buyers opting for the S 63 E Performance from AMG receive the twin-turbo V-8 paired with a plug-in hybrid system good for a total of 791 hp, while the range-topping S 680 grade from Maybach can still be had with a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V-12 good for 621 hp.

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