The Mercedes-Benz CL coupe is dead. Long live the S-Class coupe.
Mercedes used the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show to debut an all-new S-Class coupe concept. The car previews a two-door production version of the S-Class that will debut in early 2014 and will go on sale later in the year.
Previously, the two-door coupe at the top of Mercedes' lineup was known as the CL, but for this latest generation of car, the automaker pulled it back under the S-Class umbrella to simplify the brand's lineup for customers.
PHOTOS: Mercedes-Benz at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show
"The Concept S-Class Coupe is the most beautiful way so far to drive an S-Class," said Dieter Zetsche, head of Mercedes-Benz cars, at the unveiling in Frankfurt.
That he couched his words with "so far" may be telling. In addition to this new S-Class coupe, Mercedes is rumored to be working on a convertible version of the car, though it hasn't officially confirmed this.
In the meantime, the expressive S-Class coupe concept wraps unique sheet metal around the powertrain of the S-Class sedan that goes on sale in the U.S. in October. "On the S-Class Coupé as the traditional top of our product range, the designers take advantage of their additional freedom," said Joachim Schmidt, a member of Mercedes' board.
Thus the car has a wide, sleek look and very few visual cues to tie it to the more staid S-Class sedan other than a large grille up front. At the rear, horizontal taillights deviate from anything else in Mercedes' current portfolio. One carryover feature from the outgoing CL is the pillar-less opening of the windows, creating a clean, uninterrupted aesthetic when the windows are down.
Despite the visual differences, the S-Class coupe concept and production sedan are largely identical under the skin. This means both cars have a twin-turbocharged V-8 engine that makes 455 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. Rear wheel drive will be standard, with Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive system coming as an option.
Inside, the coupe concept shares the sedan's layout of the dashboard. Both use a pair of 12.3-inch screens, one each for the instrument panel and infotainment system. The S-Class coupe concept seats four, a feature that probably will carry over to the production car.
That version probably will debut at the 2014
"We cannot give away all the details quite yet," he said. "But the wow factor is surely among them."