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New models - Mercedes-Benz - S-Class - Coupe

Driven: Mercedes caps ultra-premium coupe range

All class: Benz's CL-Class-replacing S-Class Coupe is here in S63 AMG guise, ahead of the S65 AMG and S500 that arrive in June.

Fifty buyers have already put their hand up for Mercedes' new S-Class Coupe

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Mercedes-Benz logo9 Feb 2015

By NEIL DOWLING

MERCEDES-BENZ Australia Pacific (MPAB) says it is expecting unprecedented demand for its S-Class Coupe, with 50 Australians signing up for its latest premium coupe before it is even launched.

That represents a $20 million order book but one that Mercedes-Benz expects to expand even more. It predicts the latest S-Class based coupe will exceed its 2007 annual sales record of 128.

It will grow even more when the S500 and S65 AMG variants arrive in June to join the just-launched S63 AMG that is on sale now.

Branded as the world’s quietest car, this is the first year that the coupe, more recently called the CL, returns to its S-Class badging.

Speaking at the launch of the S63 AMG last week, MBAP senior manager public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy said owners tend to return to the CL/S-Class coupe.

“It has a very loyal customer base,” he said.

Mr McCarthy said that owners would typically be aged about 60 and in the “very high-income bracket”, but he added that the car-maker expects to welcome new buyers to the brand.

“Many would have had an S-Class saloon previously but now have no need for the extra doors.

“They would be very different buyers than those looking at an SLS. More likely, those who haven’t come from a Mercedes before, could shop the coupe against cars such as the Maserati GranTurismo, Bentley Continental GT, Aston Martin Vantage V12 and even the Rolls-Royce Wraith.’’ Attracting buyers to the 2015 version is a rich equipment list, some desirable options, new paint colours and a lower price. Most will tick the options boxes.

The S500 will be the biggest seller, accounting for an expected 50 per cent of sales, followed by the S63 AMG with about 40 per cent and then the V12-engined S65 AMG at 10 per cent.

“I expect the new S-Class Coupe models to exceed our 2007 record of 128 units,’’ Mr McCarthy says.

“About half of those will be the S500 but there’s been increased interest in AMG derivatives, so we’ll see a mix with slightly less S500 units than in previous years, and more sales for the mid-range S63 AMG.

“Traditionally, the first year of the launch of our premium models is the one that has the bulk of sales. The sales fall off for the remaining seven years – or thereabouts – of the car’s life.’’ Buyers of the new S63 AMG, on sale now, will pay $409,000 plus on-road costs, representing a 2.6 per cent or $12,975 saving on the outgoing car.

The S500 arriving in June will kick off the range from $319,000 plus on-road costs, a discount of $11,500 or 3.4 per cent, to its less-equipped predecessor, the CL500.

For the S65 AMG, also here in June, it is now $499,000 plus on-road costs, down $18,925 or 4.7 per cent on its previous version.

Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific, a strong critic of the federal government’s Luxury Car Tax, said the average tax increase on the new coupe range is $80,000 per car.

The 50 orders on the S63 AMG to date represent a total LCT take of $4 million.

At this month’s launch, Mercedes will offer the “Edition 1’’ version of the S63 AMG that adds extra equipment for $13,500 extra. It includes Swarovski crystal LED front indicator and daytime running lights, night vision cameras, exclusive cabin trim and headliner, and Nappa leather-edged floor mats.

When the S500 arrives in June the Edition 1 package will also be available for $17,500.

All variants feature Benz's Magic Body Control with the AMG versions including Curve Tilting Function – the latter leaning the car into corners like a motorbike and then using cameras and suspension sensors to scan and prepare the car for imminent changes in the road surface. It’s been credited with minimising bodyroll that leads to passengers suffering from car sickness.

The panoramic roof, now covering two-thirds of the roof surface, has an optional Magic Sky system that changes the glass through degrees from opaque to translucent.

The standard audio has 10 speakers but options include the 24-speaker Burmester 3D surround system with 24 separate amplifier channels and a total output of 1540 Watts. To rid the car of annoying rattles in the doors, all the front speakers are mounted in the firewall and resonate in a 40-litre chamber.

Safety equipment in the coupe, like the S-Class sedans, cherry picks from a seemingly limitless inventory.

Equipment includes the adaptive cruise control 'Distronic' with upgrades to incorporate steering assistance and automatic stop and go. It has brake assist but now has detection for cross-traffic activity, as well as active lane-keeping assistance, adaptive highbeam and night vision.

Standard on all models is collision prevention that starts from 7km/h and has a driver override for autonomous braking up to more than 100km/h and can prevent rear-end collisions at up to 40km/h.

The coupe follows AMG’s Lightweight Performance strategy that achieves a 65kg reduction in the weight. That has been achieved by aluminium front fenders and bonnet, aluminium front chassis and suspension members, forged light-alloy wheels, a composite braking system and a lithium-ion battery.

But the coupe is still 25kg heavier than the equivalent four-door S-Class sedan because of higher levels of body rigidity.

Drivetrains follow the S-Class sedan variants, with power and fuel improvements in the S500 thanks to a more powerful 375kW/700Nm 4.7-litre bi-turbo V8 and the first adoption by Mercedes of its home-grown nine-speed dual-clutch automatic. The gearbox will expand soon to other models.

Mercedes says the S500 achieves fuel economy of 8.6 litres per 100km and has a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 4.6 seconds.

The S63 AMG also moves up in output to 430kW/900Nm but the 5.5-litre bi-turbo V8 trims fuel consumption to 10.2L/100km and is 0.3 seconds quicker to 100km/h, now arriving in 4.2 seconds. The transmission is a seven-speed dual-clutch unit.

The 463kW/1000Nm 6.0-litre V12 in the S65 also gets a new seven-speed torque-convertor transmission and drops to 12L/100km and a 0-100km/h sprint of 4.1 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe pricing*
S500 $319,000
S63 AMG $409,000
S65 AMG $499,000
*Excludes on-road costs.

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