Mercedes-Benz takes two doors off the S-Class

At the 2013 Frankfurt auto show, Mercedes-Benz rolled out one of its big cars, a concept based on the S-Class, but in coupe form.

FRANKFURT -- Mercedes-Benz very recently launched its upgraded S-Class , the flagship sedan in its lineup that also is one of the more luxurious cars in auto-dom. But here at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, the company showed it could do one better, exhibiting the S-Class Coupe concept, a lusciously designed two-door vehicle with some near-future features.

Where the new S-Class was an exercise in subtlety, the Coupe concept uses bolder lines, with a strong crease down the side and a sleek, pillarless side window opening. The oval back glass forms a similar shape to the roof glass, meeting over the C-pillar. LED headlights contain jewel-like parking lights.

The hood, inset neatly over the nose of the car, shows two creases that look aerodynamic, and a broad Mercedes-Benz grille stretches across the front.

Underlying the Coupe concept are the same platform and drivetrain as the S-Class, which means a twin-turbo 4.6-liter V-8 producing 449 horsepower. The fact of those underpinnings means Mercedes-Benz could put this concept into production with relatively little fuss.

The cabin shows a few other features enhanced from the S-Class. Metal grilles cover Burmester speakers, but those grilles stretch into entire door panels. As in the S-Class, the instrument cluster is a 12.3-inch LCD, duplicating the size of the center touch screen. However, these screens butt up against each other in the dashboard of the Coupe concept.

The graphics have been upgraded from the production S-Class with a more futuristic look.

An intriguing audio feature, developed for Mercedes-Benz by Gracenote, is the ability to select music by mood. Software analyzes the car's music library, categorizing each song by multiple mood characteristics. When the driver slides a finger along the mood grid, the car creates a playlist based on those mood characteristics.

Peeking out from the top of the windshield, stereoscopic cameras scan the road, adding sensor data to the car's radar and enabling features such as adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, and Mercedes-Benz' Traffic Assist feature, which can maintain speed and control steering in heavy, slow traffic.

For now, the Mercedes-Benz S-class Coupe remains a concept, but its technology is real enough that production, in some form, seems likely.

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About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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