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Frankfurt show: Mercedes unveils S-Class Coupe

Sharp number: This, the S-Class Coupe concept, gives a good idea of what Benz's new CL replacement will look like.

S-Class Coupe concept provides strong pointer to CL-replacing production model


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11 Sep 2013

MERCEDES-BENZ unveiled a production-oriented S-Class Coupe concept at the Frankfurt motor show overnight that paves way for a top-end two-door replacement for the current CL-Class.

Described by the German luxury car manufacturer as “a concrete vision” of its next-generation model, the sleek, long-bonneted four-seater “grand coupe” has its own formidable presence that builds on the S-Class sedan launched four months ago.

In presenting the car at its home-market show, Mercedes-Benz’s global sales and marketing chief Joachim Schmidt said that while the S-Class sedan represents “the power of innovation” of the three-pointed star brand, the S-Class Coupe is allowed to have a more flamboyant role.

“On the S-Class Coupe as the traditional top of our product range, the designers take advantage of their additional freedom and thus create an automotive masterpiece,” Dr Schmidt said.

Chief designer Gorden Wagener added that the coupe “combines tradition and emotion, and is a symbol for the embodiment of our design style of sensual clarity”.

“The perfected design with self-assured style and the highly exclusive appointments make the coupe a true design icon and an expression of modern luxury,” he said.

Whereas the S-Class sedan was hailed as a technological masterpiece, Mercedes-Benz is clearly pushing the emotional appeal of the coupe and, potentially, a convertible version, albeit with a hi-tech feel expressed through its clear contours and smooth surfaces.

Mr Wagener points to the flowing profile, traditional rear-wheel-drive proportions, accentuated wheelarches, a “cowering” greenhouse and high beltline, and the long bonnet – its distinctive lines and ‘powerdomes’ suggestive of the 340kW/700Nm 4.7-litre twin-turbo V8 underneath – as the main attributes that embody his notion of “modern sensual clarity”.

Although undoubtedly substantial, the S-Class Coupe’s 2945mm wheelbase is 10mm shorter than the current CL – and some 220mm shy of the regular S-Class sedan – while its 5050mm length, 1958mm width and 1409mm height deliver a footprint that is slightly shorter, lower and wider than the current flagship coupe.

The show car is fitted with 21-inch wheels, with 265/35-section tyres at the front and 295/35s at the broad rear end.

For the cabin, Mr Wagener and his team have similarly aimed for “sculpted elegance and simplicity” as defining traits, with the dominant curved white instrument panel said to be reminiscent of a whale fluke just before it re-enters the water.

New airbag packaging has allowed the designers to give the lower part of the instrument panel a highly sculpted shape, leaving the upper section to ‘float’ and extend into the door panels in a ‘wavelike’ motion.

An interesting combination of materials is used, from a white aluminium treatment with a ceramics-like appearance on the air vents to a “black diamond” finish on the dash that derives from a chemical CVD (chemical vapour deposition) gas phase process which deposits a precious metal on a high-sheen chrome surface at temperatures of 1000 degrees Celsius.

Mercedes says the metal reacts with the surface to form a layer that is highly scratch-resistant and has a high adhesive strength.

Aluminium is also the material of choice on the door panels, etched with computer-milled topographic lines apparently inspired by rock formations in Utah. The roof lining, meanwhile, is made from hand-woven silk.

The main technical treats are taken straight from the S-Class sedan, with features such as the road-reading ‘road surface scan’ and ‘magic body control’ systems sounding fanciful were they not already in production.

Ditto for the ‘intelligent drive’ technology with ‘6DVision’ – together with a multitude of other assistance systems – that monitors the surroundings ahead of the vehicle over a range of up to 500 metres.

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