Automotive fascination and innovative power: Mercedes-Benz continues on road to success
Frankfurt. Mercedes-Benz is setting benchmarks in automotive fascination and innovative power with five world premieres at the IAA 2015. No fewer than four new models expand the line-up of Mercedes Dream Cars – the new C-Class Coupé and the new S-Class Cabriolet, each in two standalone versions from Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG. Also making its debut in Frankfurt is the Concept Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile, known in short as the Concept IAA. The “Digital Transformer” shows how far advanced Mercedes-Benz already is in the digitalisation of automotive development and production. Another world premiere at the Frankfurt International Motor Show is the new smart cabrio, the only “true” cabriolet in its class.
IAA 2015 leaves us in no doubt – the automotive industry is changing fundamentally and the driver of this development is called “digitalisation.” Mercedes-Benz is setting the pace in this transition. “The Concept IAA shows that the real and the virtual world are merging more and more at Mercedes-Benz,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, speaking at the start of the Mercedes-Benz and smart press conference at the IAA.
The pace of technical development is rising. “Never before have we developed a vehicle concept as quickly as our Concept IAA,” Zetsche continued. “What previously took up to one and a half years, we managed in less than 10 months thanks to digitalisation.”
Concept IAA – the “Digital Transformer”
Strictly speaking, the Concept IAA embodies two cars in one – a four-door coupé with a fascinating design and an aerodynamic world record breaker with a cd figure of 0.19. Upwards of 80 km/h, the study automatically switches from design mode to aerodynamic mode, changing its form with a number of aerodynamic features. At the rear end, eight segments deploy, extending it by up to 390 mm; front flaps in the front bumper extend outwards by 25 mm and rearwards by 200 mm, improving airflow around the front end and the front wheel arches; the active wheel rims change their cupping from 50 mm to zero; and the fin in the front bumper retracts by 60 mm to improve flow along the underbody.
The secret of this innovative approach is in the systematic digital networking of different departments at Mercedes-Benz. The aerodynamics were developed with numerical flow simulation. Mercedes-Benz aerodynamics experts used around one million CPU hours to simulate the airflow, working through around 300 variants. The work involved is roughly equivalent to that required to develop a production model.
The Concept IAA also offers a glimpse of future in areas not immediately apparent. The study is equipped with a large number of sensors and modules that enable autonomous driving and car-to-x communication. Further innovations like the operating concept with touch-based functionalities in the interior likewise point the way to the business saloon of the near future.
Digitalisation is accelerating processes at Mercedes-Benz – and not just for show cars, but for production vehicles, too. Zetsche: “We are digitalising our entire value chain – from development, through production to marketing & sales. And it’s paying off; Mercedes-Benz continues to break records.” From January to August, the brand delivered around 1.2 million vehicles to customers worldwide. This equates to an increase of 15.1 percent compared with last year. Zetsche: “An operating margin of 10.7 percent for the second quarter shows that we are growing profitably.” The basis for this is the Mercedes-Benz product line-up, which is more fascinating and diverse than ever. “Which is why,” said Zetsche, “we are definitely continuing our product offensive.”
C-Class Coupé – athletic, dynamic, sensual
The first example of this to roll into the IAA spotlight is the new C-Class Coupé. The sportiest model variant of the C-Class combines sensual design with agility and modern luxury. The particularly well-appointed interior underscores the elegantly sporty look.
Commenting on this, Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales, said: “Coupés have always played a very special role in our Dream Car Collection. They are the essence of elegance and sporting character, of driving fun and individuality. And we nurture this image very carefully. At the end of the day, the desire for differentiation is growing around the world. It’s perfectly clear that anybody seeking individuality will certainly find what they are looking for at Mercedes.”
The technical highlights of the new C-Class Coupé include the dynamic suspension set-up, with optionally available air suspension, effective lightweight design and excellent aerodynamics as well as powerful and efficient engines. New assistance systems offer the very highest levels of safety.
Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupé – the sportiest C-Class ever
All these strengths combined with an extra portion of performance – as offered by the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupé. The AMG version is the next step on the way to even more technical and visual independence. Distinctively flared wings front and rear, a wider track and bigger wheels give the coupé a powerful look, while also delivering the basis for extremely agile longitudinal and lateral dynamics.
The brand’s typical “Driving Performance” reaches a whole new level with the C 63 Coupé. The AMG 4.0-litre V8 biturbo with 350 kW (476 hp) or 375 kW (510 hp) was developed entirely in Affalterbach, as were the sophisticated RIDE CONTROL suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers, the set-up of the DYNAMIC SELECT drive programmes, the rear-axle differential lock and the dynamic engine mounts.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class Cabriolet – open for luxury
The most emotional model among the “Mercedes Dream Cars” is the new S-Class Cabriolet, which is likewise celebrating a double world premiere at the IAA. Like the two new C-Class Coupés, the luxurious four-seat cabriolets by Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-AMG drove onto the stage together.
Alongside the sporty S-Class Coupé and the individual sedans from Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach, the new convertible is the sixth variant of the globally successful S-Class. “In 2013, we announced a model offensive in our S-Class portfolio – the expansion from three to six models. While others talk about ideas for the luxury class, we have delivered,” said Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “Our customers value that,” continued Weber. “In 2014, its first full year of sales, the new S-Class was the world’s bestselling luxury saloon with sales of more than 100,000 units. As early as November, we’re likely to see the number of current S-Class models produced to-date reach 250,000.”
The new convertible is the first open-top luxury four-seater from Mercedes-Benz since 1971. It builds on the tradition of the 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet. With its multi-layer soft top, top-level technology from the S-Class and a sophisticated climate comfort concept, it sets the new benchmark for convertibles in the luxury sector. With the top up, it is the quietest convertible in the world. And with a cd figure of 0.29, it is also the aerodynamic benchmark in the segment. The Mercedes-Benz S 500 Cabriolet is driven by a 335 kW (455 hp), 4.6-litre V8 biturbo engine.
Weber: “Besides all the technical sophistication, two things were particularly important to us – a fantastic design that is utterly stunning from first sight and a premium look-and-feel in the interior that is second to none.”
Dieter Zetsche: “The new S-Class Cabriolet may not become our bestselling car, but I am certain it will be one of the most coveted. I think all these new products make it very clear that Mercedes-Benz is maintaining full-speed ahead.”
Mercedes-AMG S 63 4MATIC Cabriolet – the superlative dream car
In Frankfurt, Mercedes-AMG is presenting the global public with a superlative dream car in the shape of the S 63 4MATIC. For the first time in its 48-year company history, the Mercedes-Benz sports car and performance brand is offering a four-seat cabriolet in the S-Class segment and is thus expanding its portfolio with an attractive alternative for automotive enthusiasts with a penchant for performance and luxury.
The prerequisites could not be better – the AMG 5.5-litre V8 biturbo engine with 430 kW (585 hp) and maximum torque of 900 Nm guarantees supreme propulsion, which is also delivered forcefully to the road by the standard-fit AMG 4MATIC performance all-wheel drive.
smart cabrio – the joy of city life
Also offering individual open-air driving fun is the new smart fortwo cabrio – a variant of the new model range that is also celebrating its world premiere at the IAA. The new cabriolet is a master of the quick change – at the push of a button, it switches from closed two-seater to a car with a large folding sunroof and, finally, to a cabriolet with a completely open top. It easily adapts the enjoyment of the open air to suit weather, mood and personal preference.
Individualisation is a major smart strength – one reason for the success of BRABUS tailor made. The wide-ranging individualisation programme is now established across Europe as well as in the USA and China. smart BRABUS tailor made is also now available for the new smart generation.
Dr. Annette Winkler, Head of smart: “I am certain our new smart cabriolet will be a huge hit with all smart fans. And it will win new customers for us, too, because it is both the most inexpensive cabriolet in the world and, at the same time, the most exclusive way to drive a smart.”