2012 Mercedes-Benz S-Class to get coupe and convertible variants

Mercedes-Benz Ocean Drive Concept

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been the industry leader in technology and innovation since, well, ever. Famous for safety features such as electronic traction control, driver and passenger airbags, electronic ABS and many many more, the story went that if you ever wondered what cars of the future will have as standard technology, look no further than the S-Class.

Mercedes usually does little to inform the public about what to expect in the latest and greatest iteration of one of the most iconic cars in history. But thanks to an insider with detailed information, we got a decent scoop of it.

Internally dubbed the W222, the new S-Class will be available in four different bodies: short wheelbase, which will debut first in 2012; standard wheelbase, coming a year later; an S-Class Coupe, which replaces the CL in 2013; and a four-seater convertible in 2014. It’s been nearly 20 years since we’ve heard the nomenclature, S-Class Coupe. This dates back as far as the W140 and W126 S-Class Coupes. But never has there been an S-Class Convertible since the famous vertical headlighted W108-109 280SELs. So Mercedes is going a bit retro on us.

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All rear-wheel drive Benzes of the future will be based on their new global Mercedes Rear-wheel drive Architecture, or MRA. This means that it is subdivided into 93 different modules with the only two fixed points being the front and rear firewalls, leaving different axles and drivetrains to be applied.

Anyway, the new S-Class reworks its suspension with an all new four-way multilink suspension at the front that will help reduce steering, braking and damping forces and Benz’s traditional five-way multilink system in the rear. Self-leveling air suspension is standard again but the active dynamic ABC anti-roll system remains extra combined with MBC or Magic Body Control.

MBC is Benz’s new system that uses two cameras to scan the road surface ahead and adjusts the suspension accordingly to the road imperfections milliseconds before hitting the uneven road. This system only remains active until 8-MPH. Also included is their new MLC or Magic Light Control, which adds to the already adaptive headlight system by making it susceptible to changes in speed, weather, and steering angle.

On the inside, as usual the COMAND system will get a rework to reduce the number of knobs, switches, and buttons. It will also feature a new multiple-imagery TFT display for the driver—that’s what we call a HUD in Layman’s terms—instead of a secondary display in the center stack.

Engine wise, the new S-Class’s engines will range from a 204-hp four-banger to the full can ‘O beans 544-hp V12 with a 650-hp AMG version following later. Twin-turbo V6s are also in the works good for 308-hp and 354-hp, depending on which model. Twin-turbo V8s are also optional, capable of producing 435-hp and 517-hp, again depending on which model. Diesels? Of course, the 204-hp four-banger will be a diesel and will be co-equipped with a 109-hp electric motor. Those who want more oomph from the hybrid powertrain can also opt for the 306-hp V6 and the electric motor, which will have plug-in capabilities on both versions.

As usual, Mercedes is also developing a 9-speed automatic gearbox, traditionally since they introduced the world’s first 7-speed.

Altogether, the new S-Class will undoubtedly continue being the industry leader in safety and innovation and will be absolutely sensational to drive. Unfortunately however, sales numbers spoke differently when the aging W221 S-Class fell behind the Audi A8 and BMW 7-Series in sales. Can the new W222 S-Class regain is trophy for being the top dog? Only time will tell.

– By: Chris Chin

Source: CAR