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Frankfurt show: Mercedes reveals coupe concept

All class: The wild colours and some other outrageous elements won’t make it to production, but the Concept IAA cabin previews the next-gen E-Class.

Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA gives a glimpse of the cabin of next-generation E-Class

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Mercedes-Benz logo15 Sep 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

MERCEDES-BENZ has ripped the covers off a futuristic ‘Concept IAA’ four-door coupe at the Frankfurt show, previewing technology that will eventually surface in next-generation models, most likely the next E-Class.

While the German luxury car-maker has not officially announced which future model the Concept IAA previews, the company said in a statement that some of the technology and the interior “offers a foretaste of the business saloon of the near future”.

The next production sedan set to be revealed by Mercedes is the new-generation E-Class that will probably surface later this year or early in 2016, and GoAuto understands the cabin of the concept offers an early look of the all-important new E-Class.

Some publications are reporting that the exterior design previews a four-door version of the recently launched Mercedes-AMG GT coupe, but company sources have told us that it is more likely to preview a future sedan rather than a sportscar.

The hi-tech Concept IAA – which is an acronym for ‘Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile’ rather than the more familiar ‘Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung’ (International Motor Show) – features “world-beating” aerodynamics and a slippery 0.19Cd drag coefficient, according to Mercedes, and it can even physically transform when driving.

If the driver hits 80km/h, or hits a button, Mercedes says the concept “performs a fascinating transformation” to further improve the aerodynamics.

Eight segments extend at the rear, increasing the length by up to 390mm, while flaps in the front bumper extend by up to 25mm forward and 20mm back for better airflow around the wheelarches. A front bumper shifts back towards the rear by 60mm for better underbody airflow and the cupping of the ‘active rims’ drop from 55mm to zero.

Mercedes says the aerodynamic elements were developed in about one million CPU hours, which roughly equals the work involved in developing a production model.

The Concept IAA introduces ‘vehicle-to-X’ technology for communication from the vehicle to other vehicles, infrastructure and other sources of data, which can potentially aid in avoiding obstacles or crashes.

The long, sleek coupe concept is 5040mm long when not in aerodynamic mode, 1995mm wide, 1305mm high and rests on a 2975mm wheelbase. These dimensions place it somewhere between a CLS-Class four-door coupe and an S-Class sedan.

Mercedes says it “interprets classic sportscar proportions in a modern vein”, with the long bonnet leading to the front end that carries a “shark-nose” profile, a setback compact greenhouse and unusual sportscar-like cut-off tail end.

Inside, the company says that the concept follows the design line of the S-Class sedan and coupe, but adds a bright white and contrasting blue theme with flowing lines and the use of aluminium and cut glass.

The steering wheel features touch-based functions such as Optical Finger Navigation buttons that are embedded in the clusters for gesture control, allowing users to scroll through menus. There is an OFN button on the left of the display and one on the right to better encourage the adoption of Benz’s “hands on the wheel, eyes on the road” operating philosophy.

The concept uses a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain producing 205kW and capable of a 250km/h top speed. In aerodynamic mode the concept has an electric-only range of 66km and emits 28g/km of CO2, while in regular or ‘design’ mode the range drops to 62km and CO2 emissions increase to 31g/km.

Daimler board member responsible for group research and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars development Thomas Weber said the Concept IAA proves that interesting design and functionality can co-exist.

“Fascinating and technically sophisticated cars form the core of Mercedes-Benz,” he said. “The ‘Concept IAA’ applies intelligent innovations to resolve the conflicting aims of functionality and aesthetics and shows that we still have plenty of ideas on how to achieve further improvements in efficiency.”

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