Although a redesign is imminent, the S Class carries into 2013 essentially unchanged, from a design standpoint. New in 2007, the current S Class has never been seen as particularly edgy. A blend of some precisely drawn lines and emphatic curves, it was initially seen as a major departure from the bank-vault lines of the S Class of the 1990s, and the svelte, feminine S Class of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Yet after some years on the market, it seems to have settled much closer to its predecessors in appearance--perhaps the indication of a design ahead of its time.
While the details are different between S Class models, they all share the familiar S Class shape. The S Class' sheetmetal isn't entirely cohesive, but it conveys great road presence, especially from the rear quarters, where the perfectly blistered fenders intersect with a rising bumper line. The tautness of the lines around the fenders has kept it fresh, and the interesting compound lines that collect at the rear quarters were the first taste of the dynamic look that now has erupted across the lineup--most successfully, we think, on the CLS Class.
Crawl around the interior, and you probably won't find it surprising that furniture designers were brought in to help style the interior. A simplified, 'living room' aesthetic makes those inside the S-Class feel at home, with a relaxed, horizontal dash layout and wide, ornately grained wave of wood bridging the cabin. It's capped by a large LCD screen for secondary controls, and adorned by a minimum of buttons and switches; gauges are lit in bright white. The shift lever is on the steering column to save space and clutter.