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How similar is the S-Class Coupe to its inspiration?

About the author

Deputy editor of BBC Autos, Jonathan was formerly the editor of The New York Times' Wheels blog. His automotive writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Details, Surface, Intersection and Design Observer. He has an affinity for the Citroën DS and Toyota pickup trucks of the early 1990s.


Mercedes-Benz will present the production version of the S-Class Coupe in two weeks at the Geneva motor show. There will be much rejoicing.

Anticipation for the Coupe has run rampant since September 2013, when Mercedes unveiled the Concept S-Class Coupé at the Frankfurt motor show. Best-in-show chatter stalked the long, lithe grand tourer well after the event had come to a close. Early talk around the production car, which Mercedes recently previewed online, has been similarly glowing, with Road & Track writing that “all the hotness of the concept has made the production cut” and mustering, in classic understatement: “doesn’t look too shabby, does it?”

Yet keen eyes will spot some significant changes.

The concept was a taut, tailored hunk of alloy, with no skirts or slits disturbing its essential fluidity. The body curled underneath the chassis, giving the car a lighter, tighter appearance than any heavyweight German grand tourer has a right to muster. For production, this impression has been minimised, if not lost. A horizon-flat, aggressive side skirt now protrudes from between the wheels, and the concept’s distinctive tail up-kick has been straightened by more than a few degrees. These changes conspire to make the S-Class Coupe appear more planted but also more portly.

The unbroken smoothness of the concept’s body has yielded, too. Mercedes sliced downward-stabbing vents into the production car’s rear bumper, referencing a family trait from the company’s AMG high-performance models. Moving to the roof, show goers will see a lot more metal than they did in Frankfurt. Whereas the hard stuff was draped like tracery around the concept’s skylight glass, the imperatives of rollover protection have required a bit of beefing up.

Compare the production car to the concept in the slideshow above, and let us know: has something essential been lost in translation, or did Mercedes do right by its Frankfurt show-stopper? Share your thoughts on Facebook, or message us on Twitter.