Could this be the most desirable compact executive car yet? This stunning, four-door, four-wheel-drive coupe is the star of the Mercedes stand at the Beijing Motor Show – and it’s set to make the likes of the BMW 3 Series look very bland indeed.
The Concept Style Coupe (CSC) is part of a growing family of models based on the new A-Class. In essence, the CSC is a shrunken version of the CLS – a car that took the E-Class as its basis and added a sleeker shape. It carved its own niche, and now Mercedes hopes the CSC will do the same thing.
If the shape looks a little familiar, that’s because there are shades of the F800 Style Concept (revealed at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show) in the sweeping roofline.
Although it’s based on the new A-Class, the CSC is longer, wider and lower than a C-Class. Designers have removed the B-pillar to give the CSC a cleaner profile, with frameless windows just like on the CLS.
There’s exquisite attention to detail in the front grille, which is just like that of the Vision A concept – the car that previewed the A-Class last year. It’s made up of tiny, shiny 3D dots, which give a diamond effect. A vent at the rear does the same. The headlights shine red when the car is in standby mode, while the indicators light up in succession. Massive 21-inch alloys complete the concept’s visual drama.
Inside, the A-Class influence is strong. The dashboard is very similar, although the SLS AMG-style air vents feature bold neon detailing. They’re backlit and change from blue to yellow to red as the air flowing through them warms up.
There’s a panoramic glass roof that extends far enough back to shed light on the rear seat passengers, who also have access to a sculpted centre console complete with its own air vents. This shows the car’s importance to the Chinese market, where customers often have chauffeurs.
Highlight of the dashboard is an integrated iPad, while the CSC also showcases Mercedes’ ‘always on’ cloud technology, which provides Internet access even when the car is stationary. This allows the car’s software to be updated remotely, meaning fewer trips to the dealer.
Under the bonnet, the CSC features a 211bhp 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection. This powers all four wheels via a seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox, and should give 0-60mph in under seven seconds and a 150mph top speed.
The CSC is the third car to use Mercedes’ new platform – after the B-Class MPV and the A-Class – but it won’t be the last. An A-Class Shooting Brake estate is also planned, as is a small SUV to rival Audi’s Q3.
At launch in 2014, the CSC will have no direct rivals. Until BMW launches its rumoured 3 Series GranCoupe, the newcomer will offer an alternative to the likes of the C-Class and regular 3 Series, with a price of around £25,000.