MERCEDES S-CLASS COUPE

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T EXCEED, TRY REMOVING TWO DOORS

TOBY HAGON

T W E N T Y C A R O F T H E Y E A R S I X T E E N

Stage ONE

PRIVATE helicopter? Check. Riviera yacht moored off your jetty? Check. Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe tucked neatly into your multi-car garage?

Yep, the two-door version of Stuttgart’s flagship limousine – now adopting the grander S-Class Coupe moniker in lieu of CL – is that sort of car.

Opulent and elegant, it’s essentially tailor-made for the rich, and very rich, in equal measure.

It’s also big (five metres-plus and 2.1 tonnes), imposing, lavishly appointed and bursting with tech. As the COTY judges quickly ascertained, life in an S-Class Coupe redefines your sense of occasion, from the ‘base’ V8-powered S500 through to a duet of AMGs, the S63 V8 and S65 V12.

Indeed, it’s inside where the two-door version of Mercedes-Benz’s flagship makes its biggest impact.

A quartet of circular air vents intersperse the sparse core of the dash, itself an elegant sweep across an interior teeming with stitched leather and matte metallic surfaces. Two large TFT screens take care of everything from the infotainment functionality to instruments and controls.

The pillarless windows combine with the long cabin to define an inviting space, albeit one that’s more difficult to access in the rear than traditional, more conventional luxury sedans.

The fact that Mercedes-Benz has managed to meld endless technology, heritage and style in such a graceful fashion is ultimately what makes the S-Class Coupe such a standout.

That blend transforms to the road, too, where the Coupe pushes dynamic boundaries. Its party trick is a Curve Tilting system that is an extension of Magic Body Control, a function that gleans data from its forward cameras to prime the air suspension for the terrain ahead. The curve functionality aims to reduce leaning and, therefore, improve occupant comfort and cornering skill.

As a bystander there’s a noticeable inward lean around bends as the inside wheels droop to counter the forces pushing on the outside wheels. It was particularly obvious from outside the car watching it attack one of Lang Lang’s sweeping bends.

To those lapping up its leather luxury inside, the tilting sensation is almost imperceptible. However, the result is front and centre and the S-Class Coupe sits remarkably flat, getting better through faster corners, almost inviting you to push harder.

Its low-profile 20-inch hoops take the edge off the sedan’s magic-carpet ride, which is also due in part to the sportier tune infused into the sleeker shape. It’s still a beautifully controlled ride, but not as luxurious as you’d expect.

That sporting spirit continues beneath the bonnet. Even in non-AMG S500 guise, the Coupe emits an enthusiastic exhaust note with a perfect blend of rumble and refinement. It’s brisk, too, thanks to outputs of 335kW and 700Nm.

Against some COTY criteria, though, the S-Class Coupe’s handicaps were exposed. Ultimately, it has less space and functionality, yet is more expensive than the S-Class sedan it shares so much with. Not that it’s undernourished. A panoramic sunroof is standard, as is a 360-degree camera and a pumping Burmester sound system.

The options list is as extensive as the colour and trim combinations – how about nine different headliners, including leather? There are heated rear seats, even a heated armrest, just in case the heated steering wheel is still leaving you tingly.

Or you can go for LED headlights, complete with 47 Swarovski crystals.

It’s an epic machine … with an epic price tag.

And it’s that last bit that made life tough for the big Benz two-door in COTY 2016.

BODY

Type 2-door coupe, 4 seats Boot capacity 400 litres Weight 1995 – 2110kg

DRIVETRAIN

Layout front engine (north-south), RWD Engines 4663cc V8 twin-turbo (335kW/700Nm); 5461cc V8 twin-turbo (430kW/900Nm); 5980cc V12 twin-turbo (463kW/1000Nm) Transmissions 7-speed automatic; 9-speed automatic

CHASSIS

Tyres 245/40R20 – 285/35R20 ADR81 fuel consumption 8.6 – 12.0L/100km CO2 emissions 199 – 282g/km Collision mitigation .

Crash rating not tested Prices $318,610 – $498,610

“THE FIRST THING YOU WANT TO DO IS PUT ALL THE WINDOWS DOWN AND DIG THAT PILLARLESS CABIN … IT’S A REAL SENSE OF OCCASION” ALEX INWOOD

“IT FEELS AS RICH AND POWERFUL AS THE PRICE TAG” GLENN BUTLER

M AG I C R I D E

Getting bumped around on second-rate roads is problem left for the poor people.

The S-Class Coupe isolates its occupants from such discomforts via its Magic Body Control system, which scans the blacktop ahead via a pair of cameras and prepares the damping rates on all four corners for upcoming bumps. The active suspension can also be tailored with Sport, Comfort and Curve modes.