WHAT: Out with the stately CL-Class, in with the sexy S-Class coupe. Unveiled at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Concept S-Class is a thinly veiled take on the coming, full-size luxury four-seater from Mercedes-Benz. It’ll replace the CL-Class as the German automaker’s most opulent coupe. And just as the CL is based on the 2006-2013-generation S-Class sedan, its replacement shares underpinnings with the redesigned 2014 S-Class, with a wheelbase trimmed a similar 9 inches, to 116. And while both are pillarless hardtops, the S-Class coupe will roll with a more rakish presence Mercedes describes as “sensual clarity.” Expect the production version to retain the show-car’s long-hood, broad-shouldered proportions, LED headlamps, and deftly redefined Mercedes grille. The feather-like mirrors won’t survive, and the production version will need a real front bumper. The concept’s wave-themed cabin is likely quite predictive, however, including a dashboard sculpted to recall a whale’s fins as it re-enters the water. All the new S-Class gizmos will appear, including “Intelligent Drive” that comes close to creating a self-driving car. The coupe will also debut with the sedan’s 4.7-liter twin-turbo V-8, here with 449 horsepower versus 455 but with the same 516 pound-feet of torque. A V-12 probably will come later. Also on the docket is a convertible version of this coupe, with a power fabric top.
WHEN: Expect the S-Class coupe in U.S. showrooms in late 2014 as a 2015 model. Look for the convertible about a year later.
WHY: Despite imposing S-Class sedans with six-figure price tags, Mercedes-Benz tradition holds that a two-door car is its flagship. The S-Class Coupe will restore that hierarchy with an élan the CL-Class can’t quite communicate. It’ll be bolstered by its S-Class badge, too, and counter BMW’s likely revival of the 7 Series-based 8 Series coupe, last sold in 1999. The S Class convertible — the first drop top S-Class since the early 1970s — could play in the Bentley Continental GTC league.
HOW MUCH: More than comparable S Class sedans by a CL-like margin, so around $120,000 to start.