Mercedes-Benz Previews Two-Door Range-Topper S-Class Coupe

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.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]