The Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe has been unveiled, previewing a production model that will become a smaller version of the company's trend-setting CLS four-door 'coupe'.
Mercedes calls it an "almost production standard" concept that will make a bold statement when it goes on sale, though expect the Style Coupe's dramatic exterior and interior to be toned down at least partially for the model that will reach Australian showrooms in early 2013.
The Style Coupe, which may be called the CLA, is one of the German car maker’s anticipated new models being spun off its new ‘MFA’ compact platform, which underpins the just-launched B-Class and upcoming A-Class hatchback.
A height of just under 1.4m gives the four-seater Style Coupe, which could adopt the name CLC for production, a relatively low profile, while its 4.64m length makes it 30cm shorter than the CLS. Longer overhangs also make it about 30cm longer than the new A-Class.
It's also longer than a C-Class, though Benz's 3-Series rival is likely to overtake it in size when the next-generation model arrives by 2014.
The concept’s name and first reveal venue, the Avant/Garde Diaries event in Los Angeles, indicates Mercedes’ emphasis on design for this model.
There are design cues familiar from the new-generation A-Class and B-Class models, such as the extravagant crease lines adorning the flanks, and the diamond-encrusted effect of the grille that copies that of the A-Class concept shown in 2011.
The front end is also notable for striking headlights that feature a red illumination when in standby mode and incorporate indicators with multiple LEDs that light up in succession.
The Concept Style is given genuine coupe styling with the pronounced sloped roof, frameless side windows and absence of a B-pillar, while the extrovert profile is completed by huge, turbine-like 21-inch alloy wheels.
Designers haven’t ignored the view from above, either, with the Concept Style Coupe adopting a vast glass panoramic roof that’s distinctively separated from the rear glass area by a relatively narrow section of metal that gives the impression of a strut brace.
The chairman of Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, Dr Dieter Zetsche, says the new four-door will comfortably stand out in the sporty luxury car class.
“We are staking our claim very clearly here,” said Zetsche. “This is the model against which sporty vehicles in the executive segment will have to measure themselves in future.”
The core design of the Style Coupe’s interior is familiar from the A-Class and B-Class cabins, including the iPad-style dash-top display, though again there are numerous flamboyant elements to the concept.
Bright-lime-coloured seat piping, trim, stitching and air vents look as though they would all glow in the dark.
It carries through to the rear, where two individual seats are divided by a leather and carbonfibre console featuring twin air vents and a deep, open tray.
The dash and instrument binnacle comprise a large section of carbonfibre, with the instrument panel and other areas such as the doors further combining high-grade materials with white nubuck leather and Alcantara.
Actual suede covers the steering wheel to provide drivers with better grip.
The steering wheel is also complemented by paddleshift levers, which drivers can use to manipulate a drivetrain that will eventually power an AMG version of the A-Class: a direct injection, turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that puts its power – 155kW in the concept – to all four wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch auto.
The Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe will make its full public debut at the 2012 Beijing motor show in late April.