Wave goodbye to the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class and give a warm welcome to the S-Class coupe, previewed by this concept car at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. The name change is merely a formality, as the outgoing CL-Class was already based on the S-Class luxury sedan, but with the arrival of the latest S-Class sedan, Mercedes has decided that the new two-door version will be rechristened S-Class Coupe.
The automaker notes that, "Traditionally the top of the Mercedes-Benz product range is occupied by the grand coupé," a sure sign that within a year we'll see a production S-Class coupe sitting inside showrooms. It is significantly smaller than the 2014 Mercedes S-Class sedan – its wheelbase is 8.6 inches shorter, its roofline is 3.2 inches lower, and it measures 7.7 inches less in overall length -- but unsurprisingly the coupe concept is just hairs off the dimensions of the outgoing CL-Class.
The car's basic shape is familiar, too: a long and low hood leads into a small, rounded greenhouse and a tapered, stubby trunk. The gaping grille and enormous air intakes of the front fascia may be relegated to the concept car, but the LED running and headlights are nearly identical to those on the production S-Class sedan. Character lines at the top and bottom of the car's doors approach but don't quite converge ahead of the rear wheels; another crease aft of the empty space where a B-pillar belongs continues the charge toward the trunk.
A chrome eyebrow extends across the Concept S-Class Coupe's rump, topping the full-LED taillights. The license-plate frame migrates to the lower bumper so that the Mercedes-Benz emblem can be larger, a sign that the automaker recognizes cars like this are meant to be flaunted in public. The rounded, tapered trunk has an integrated spoiler, and the lower bumper features a pair of oval exhaust tips connected by a thin chrome strips.
Aside from funky electric-blue illumination and a handful of fanciful components, the interior of the Concept S-Class Coupe is ported over directly from the 2014 S-Class sedan. A 12.3-inch display sits atop the dashboard, which sweeps upward at its outer edges in curves that Mercedes says were inspired by "a whale's fins just before it re-enters the water." More seriously, the same row of aluminum toggle switches and quartet of air vents are present in the concept car's center stack as in the production sedan. The LCD instrument cluster, the door-mounted seat controls, and the steering wheel all match those found on the sedan.
Where the Concept S-Class Coupe differs is in its sense of occasion and whimsy. Instead of normal grilles, the speakers emit sound through a series of geometrically arranged holes that perforate the door panels. And the doors themselves are contoured in shapes inspired by the massive rock formations of the Utah desert. The car's headliner is made from hand-woven silk, and its dashboard and seats are adorned in calfskin leather. A small touchscreen at the base of the center stack displays four customizable world clocks, so you won't be late on any continent.
Beneath the hood is a 4.7-liter twin-turbo V-8 good for 449 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, the same engine that motivates the new 2014 S550 sedan. Mercedes' full suite of driving aids is on board, including the 65Vision system that uses cameras and radar to detect potential collisions before they happen. Road Surface Scan uses a stereoscopic camera to monitor for upcoming bumps, instructing the Magic Body Control air suspension to cancel out the bumps' effect. There is even a feature called MoodGrid, which can create a playlist that matches the driver’s mood by automatically plucking songs from a library of 18 million tunes.
Our spy photos show that the production Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe, which should go on sale next year, will look very similar to this concept. The dramatic creases and proportions will make it to production, as will many of the interior treatments. Given how sublime we found the S-Class sedan's driving experience, we've got plenty of reasons to look forward to driving the two-door.