2014 GENEVA AUTO SHOW

Mercedes' 'supreme' S-class coupe undergoes radical makeover

The S-class coupe is shorter but wider and lower than the outgoing CL.
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Mercedes-Benz today unveiled its S-class coupe, a two-door version of its flagship S-class sedan that has sensuous lines and sporty proportions.

The S-class coupe replaces the CL coupe.

The car is "as exclusive as it gets -- the ultimate in aesthetic sportiness," Ola Kaellenius, Mercedes' board member for sales and marketing, said in a statement today. "The large coupe has always been the supreme pinnacle of our model range and that's why it's now called the S class again."

Mercedes design boss Gorden Wagener called the S-class coupe "one of the most gorgeous coupes of all time, representing the most radical aesthetic departure from its predecessor."

The S-class coupe will compete with Maserati's new GranTurismo and the upper end of the growing cadre of luxury vehicles with coupe-like styling, including the Audi A7/S7 and the BMW 6 series and 6-series Gran Coupe.

The CL has never been a big seller but has been a tour de force of technology, which is why Mercedes is introducing even more technology on the high-end two-door, including optional head-up display.

The most advanced new feature is what Mercedes calls active curve tilting.

"The vehicle leans into bends much like a motorcyclist, thereby reducing the lateral acceleration acting on the vehicle's occupants," said Thomas Weber, board member for r&d.

The S-class coupe, which shares a platform with the S-class sedan, is about 38.1mm (1.5 inches) lower than the outgoing CL, with styling lines that are more sculpted and flowing. It has a bigger and wider grille and a wider panoramic roof that tints from light to dark with the flip of a switch. It has two rows of front and rear LED headlights and a low beltline.

The new S-class coupe makes its debut at next month's Geneva auto show. European sales will begin in the second half of 2014, with U.S. deliveries beginning in the third quarter. Initially, the coupe will be sold in Europe and the United States as the S550 coupe with all-wheel drive and a 4.7-liter biturbo V-8 that generates 449 hp.

The dashboard on the new S-class coupe has two layers -- the top is clear and wraps around while the lower is more sculptural and appears to be floating.

The S-class coupe's wheelbase is unchanged from the CL's 2945mm (116 inches). But it is more than 51mm (2 inches) shorter with a length of 5027mm (198 inches). It is 25.4mm (1 inch) wider than the CL -- at 1899mm (75 inches) -- but the height of 1411mm (56 inches) is unchanged.

The coupe has all of the new safety and convenience features of the S-class sedan that went on sale in October. They include semiautomated driving features and systems packaged as Intelligent Drive.

These include pedestrian detection, radar-based distance control, lane and cross-traffic assistance, night vision, adaptive high beams and autonomous braking.

A special Edition 1 S550 model will have unusual headlights with 47 Swarovski crystals -- 30 in the turn indicator and 17 in the angular daytime running lamps.

Inside, the dashboard has two layers -- the top is clear and wraps around while the lower is more sculptural and appears to be floating. Mercedes said the redesigned dash was made possible by moving the passenger airbag.

A touch pad that understands handwriting controls the multimedia from in front of the armrest. A head-up display is optional and gives speed and navigation instruction as well as driving assistance system messages.

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@crain.com. -- Follow Diana on Twitter

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