With plans to launch at least 30 new models before decade’s end, in a bid to keep ahead of its aggressive luxury competitors, Mercedes-Benz also aims to position itself as the market’s technology leader.
And for those already overwhelmed by the features on the S-Class sedan introduced just last year, Mercedes plans to take things a step further with the debut of its new flagship, the redesigned and renamed S-Class Coupe, which will boast such new technologies as the German maker’s first in-house nine-speed gearbox and the all-new Curve-Tilt technology first seen in concept form several years back.
The new S-Class sedan is already off to a good start, noted Jörg Bartels, who was responsible for the development of the S-class Coupé, during the presentation of the successor to what was previously known as the Mercedes-Benz CL. Even though the new S-Class is still being rolled out to new markets, sales for the first six months were double those of the old sedan during the first half of 2013.
That’s helped Mercedes drive up overall sales from January through June by 14%, noted Bartels.
With the World Cup reaching its finale, the new S-Class Coupe might be thought of as the rear guard of the line-up, in soccer terms. It won’t come close to rivaling the sedan’s sales but should add a bit more dash and flair to the line-up.
While the more sporty looks might first catch the eye, Mercedes is clearly hoping the new S-Coupe will appeal to high-tech fans. The new nine-speed gearbox also should find favor with those who want a greener car. The two-door will become the first Mercedes model to feature the new, nine-speed automatic transmission developed in-house, a gearbox that eventually will be rolled out across the entire Mercedes model range.
Some might question the need to go for a nine-speed considering the current 7-GTronic automatic already works extremely well, its shift points perfectly match to engine speed – so well-matched you’re unlikely to do any better using the paddles on the steering wheel.
Truth be told, the reason that Mercedes is switching over to the nine-speed automatic is obvious when you think about the tough new emissions and mileage standards going into effect in key markets such as the U.S. and Europe. The new nine-speed is expected to deliver a 6% drop in fuel consumption for the new Mercedes-Benz S Coupe. And once the new transmission is implemented across the entire fleet, fuel consumption will drop an estimated 6.5% across the board.
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Along with the fuel-saving gearbox, all S-Coupe engine variants will get start-stop, which can be switched off, as well as a panoramic roof with Magic Sky Control, which can go from transparent to 99% opaque with the push on a button.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe will share the long list of technologies first seen on the sedan version, including the “magic” suspension, which uses a camera to track road conditions and adjust accordingly, as well as the latest version of auto-braking.
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But one feature reserved for the launch of the Coupe is the Curve Tilting Function, an addition to Magic Body Control, which lets the car lean into the direction of the curve, just as we see motor bikers or skiers do.
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During a brief drive event, Mercedes offered time in some prototypes to give us a feel of the system during a short lap. You do not notice a big change, but the Coupe hangs less in the corner. Hence, Curve-Tilt should be considered a comfort system, more than a performance enhancer.
It will be available on the rear-drive versions of the 2015 Mercedes S-Coupes, but not on those with 4Matic, as this technology uses a different suspension damping system. The rear-wheel-driven Coupes will arrive on the North American market in January. The 4Matic versions of the S500 and S63 AMG will reach dealerships on Sept. 27.
(Paul A. Eisenstein contributed to this report.)