Dubbing it "the Style Rebel," Mercedes has taken the wraps off of a stunning one-off that foreshadows its new premium small sedan that's expected to hit U.S. showrooms sometime late next year, likely carrying a CLA-Class designation. Slightly larger than the existing C-Class, this brassy bellwether is "almost production standard" and delivers "a convincing statement in favor of avant garde design among sporty executive coupés." The Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupé makes its premiere appearance this evening at the trendy Avant/Garde Diaries festival in Los Angeles before heading to Beijing where it will be formally presented next week at the 2012 Auto China event.
Looking much like a scaled-down CLS-Class but with a serious dose of attitude, the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupé borrows exterior cues from the Euro-spec A-Class hatchback that bowed in at Geneva in March as well as the automaker's F800 Style Concept that debuted there a year earlier. Finished in liquid-look Alubeam metallic paint, the Concept Style Coupé's bold contours and character lines, sweeping roofline and the absence of B-pillars are set off by its distinctive front and rear fascia detailing, a dramatic panorama glass roof and 20-inch turbine-design alloy wheels.
Inside, the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupé offers an equally mesmerizing look that mixes select A-Class design elements with even more daring combinations of color, texture and premium materials that include white nutbuck leather, anthracite Alcantara and suede set off by neon green piping, real carbon fiber and black anodized chrome and aluminum trim bits. The four individual sport seats in the Concept Style Coupé are separated by a full-length center console while the surrounds on the air vents in its dash incorporate A-Class-type variable backlighting that changes color to reflect the temperature selected.
In keeping with its forward-thinking personality, the Concept Style Coupé promises to keep all on board fully connected all of the time. A strong proponent of cloud computing, Mercedes has chosen to store all of the apps for the car's COMAND Online infotainment/telematics system in the ether to ensure they can be kept fully up to date using over-the-air downloads via the owner's smartphone.
Like the just introduced A-Class and B-Class production models, the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupé is built on a version of the automaker's new MFA (Mercedes Front-wheel-drive Architecture), a design feature that will carry over to its volume-build successor. In the case of the Concept Style Coupé, the basic platform is augmented by M-B's sophisticated 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system. Motivation comes from a 2.0-liter turbocharged version of Mercedes-Benz's new direct-injected gasoline four-cylinder engine. Here rated at 208 horsepower, it's backed by a 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission.
"The Concept Style Coupé is expressive and powerful in its design", said Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "We are staking our claim very clearly here. This is the model against which sporty vehicles in the executive segment will have to measure themselves in future." Although several of its more dramatic elements could well fall victim to cost rationalization en route to showrooms here and in China, there's no question Mercedes-Benz has stretched the design envelope most impressively with the Concept Style Coupé.