The coupe-SUV domain has been dominated by BMW’s X6 for quite some time now. The Porsche Cayenne has come into the picture in the past few years, and now, Mercedes is thinking of joining in on the fun with the debut of the Mercedes Concept Coupe SUV at the Beijing Auto Show .
It’s pretty evident that the design of the Concept Coupe SUV fits its name. It’s like a coupe riding on an SUV platform, akin to the architecture of the X6. More importantly, Mercedes appears to be pretty serious about sending it to production, intent on rebadging it as the MLC-Class with a production timeline of 2015.
It certainly adds a whole lot of credence to the MLC-Class when the company’s boss proudly proclaims the concept as a preview of a vehicle that has a lot of potential. "With the Concept Coupé SUV we aim to secure new customers by opening up new segments for Mercedes-Benz," says Mercedes CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche, as quoted by Auto Express.
Those are words that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially once combined with the official words from the press release below saying, “With this concept car, Mercedes-Benz is announcing the possible expansion of the previously uniform SUV off-roader family.”
Click past the jump to read more about the Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV.
With its tall stance and massive 22-inch wheels, this concept is no slouch in the size department. Its aggressive front end features a snarling, down-turned lower grille that epitomized the SUV’s angry eye. The large grille is dominated by the tri-star Mercedes logo with a repeating square design radiating away from it.
A steeply raked windshield flows rearward into the fast-falling rear roof section. The rear window pulls from the ‘rounded top’ look from the Mercedes design handbook found on its other vehicles. The rear deck lid slopes from the rear window and quickly turns upward into an integrated spoiler. The wide taillight fixture stretches from one side of the SUV to the other, comprised of LED lights organized in an elegant design. Continuing down is a fluid-looking rear bumper with integrated chrome-tipped tailpipes.
From the side, the Mercedes has strong belt and character lines running from the front fender upward. A lower character line helps visually raise the SUV’s ground clearance as it rises up as it moves rearward. Overall, the design is elegant yet sporty. It will surely garner attention from BMW and Porsche shoppers if it come to market for 2016.
Gallery Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV
Though Mercedes hasn’t official said anything about this concept’s powertrain, that won’t stop us from speculating. The Coupe will likely come in different trim levels and engine options. Starting out, it’s possible the 4.6-liter, twin-turbo V-8 from the ML550 will be found under hood. Making 402 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, the 4.6-liter would certainly move the SUV with urgency.
Upgrading from there might be the massive 5.5-liter, twin-turbo V-8 from the ML63 AMG that makes 518 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. In order to get the torque to the ground while maintaining that ‘off-road SUV character,’ the MLC will come with AWD. With either engine option, the MLC would definitely give the BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne a run for their money.
Just a Concept or a Glimpse Into the Future?
The Mercedes Concept Coupe SUV is a great design study into what Mercedes can do with a coupe-like SUV built to compete with BMW and Porsche. Sometimes automakers build these sort of vehicles as an exercise for design teams and other times, it’s the first glimpse at an upcoming model. In this case, it’s hard to ignore the words from Dr. Z and the positive language found in the press release. While this concept is just that, we highly doubt this is the last we’ll see of a coupe-like SUV from Mercedes. Considering Mercedes is shooting for a 2016 model year launch, this concept has perfect timing. Though the X6 hasn’t been as successful as BMW originally hoped, the X6 definitely caused waves in the SUV market with such a performance-minded vehicle. The MLC will hopefully do better at selling decently high numbers to folks who want a sport-flavored soft-roader that looks different than most everything on the boulevard.
As the standard bearer of the coupe-SUV segment, the X6 has been around since 2008. At this point, it’s really in need of a new generation, but that’s a discussion for another time because the most recent version of the X6 did come with a minor facelift that includes redesigned fog lights, headlights, and tail lamps with a new adaptive LED options. Newly designed bars, new paint finishes, and an interior leather trim all make their way into the 2013 X6.
Power comes in the form of a variety of engines, beginning with a TwinPower Turbo, inline-six that produces 300 horsepower and a more powerful, 4.4-liter, TwinPower Turbo V-8 that nets 400 horsepower.
We still don’t know what Mercedes has in store for the MLC, but its arrival should serve as a warning to BMW that it needs to bring the X6’s game up a notch if it wants to continue being the king of its own mountain.
Gallery BMW X6
One coupe-SUV that has given the X6 a run for its money recently is the Porsche Cayenne. It’s actually more of an SUV than it is a coupe riding on an SUV platform like the X6, but the Cayenne has played a big a role for those people who want an alternative to the X6. Like the BMW , the Cayenne is also offered with a V-6 or V-8 powertrain, although the latter does have the benefit of being offered in a variety of trims.
The biggest and most powerful one is the Cayenne Turbo S , which chalks up an impressive 550 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. That’s pretty good company for the M variant of the X6. But the question remains: how much of what Mercedes is planning for the MLC will be geared towards competing against both the X6 and the Cayenne?
Gallery Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
- Great looking exterior
- Could have some powerful engines
- Might ignite a rivalry on yet another front between the Germans
- Curb weight could hinder performance
- Will indubitably be expensive
- No real conformation of its production
Gallery Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV
Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupé SUV: Sporty Coupé at the highest level
With the Concept Coupé SUV, Mercedes-Benz is raising the standard to a new, higher level in literally multiple respects. This extremely sporty study impresses as a typical representative of the long-standing coupé tradition at Mercedes-Benz, with a flowing side line, stretched greenhouse and striking radiator grille with central chrome louvre. At the same time the Concept Coupé SUV stands out with its muscular wings, large wheel arches, imposing 22-inch wheels, high beltline and generous ground clearance. Its dynamic handling on the road is also on a superior level. Not only thanks to air suspension, but also to the networking of the powertrain, suspension and interior that it realises. The variable dynamic control system "Dynamic Select Control" provides four fundamentally different transmission modes and an individually programmable setup.
"Sensual as a coupé – visionary as an SUV," is the succinct choice of words used by Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Mercedes-Benz, to describe the physiognomy of the Concept Coupé SUV. The four-door, all-wheel drive Coupé has a length of almost five metres, and an imposing width of a good two metres thanks to its broad shoulders and flared wheel arches. At the same time it has a modest height of around 1.75 metres, exhibiting the flat, extended roofline that is typical of a sports coupé. "The Concept Coupé SUV stands out thanks to its extreme proportions and in doing so interprets our hallmark Mercedes coupé design idiom perfectly. With its superior sportiness it conveys a sense of modern luxury and aesthetic aspirations of sensual clarity", continues Gorden Wagener. Like the recessed door handles, frameless side windows blend perfectly into the vehicle flanks to accentuate the coupé-like character even further. In line with a tradition and like all recent study vehicles, the Concept Coupé SUV is painted in the "ALU-BEAM" paint finish, which is also reminiscent of the technically ground-breaking Silver Arrows of the 1930s and 1950s.
The upright sports grille with single louvre, framed by the three-dimensionally designed modern, all-LED Multibeam headlamps, is the major feature of the front end with its short, stylish overhang. Soft cubes dominate the grille insert, and the forward-sloping bonnet with its typical Mercedes power domes underlines the membership of the Concept Coupé SUV in the line-up of particularly sporty Mercedes-Benz models. A discreet reference to the SUV genes of this study is provided by the harmoniously integrated, illuminated side sills, which are reminiscent of the running boards found on classic SUVs or off-roaders. Indicators have always pointed the way in the best sense of the word, however in the Concept Coupé SUV they take on a new form. The direction indicators operate with a moving digital light band whose lighting elements light up sequentially from inside to outside, indicating the change in direction in two ways.
Elegant rear end: in the style of the S-Class Coupé
The coupé-like nature of the Concept Coupé SUV is also emphasised by the design of the rear end with its obvious elements of the design line first presented with the S-Class Coupé, which will be followed by all coupé models from Mercedes-Benz in future. The styling characteristics of this include the slim band of rear lights with their ruby-like, three-dimensional look and the registration plate now incorporated into the rear bumper. Another feature that has for generations distinguished the large coupé models from Mercedes-Benz is the typical shape of the rear window which is rounded off at the top. A discreet SUV reference is made by the simulated underguard into which the tailpipes of the dual-flow exhaust system are integrated. Polished aluminium predominates here, as on the integral door handles, the side sills, the front air intakes and the edging of the greenhouse.
Wide, flush-fitted 22-inch wheels with tyres in size 305/45 R 22 make the vehicle sit squarely on the road, and leave no doubt about the passion of the Concept Coupé SUV: at very first glance this trailblazing study signals its sporty, dynamic ambitions.
Haute Couture: the Mercedes-Benz coupé range
Developing and creating new model families and vehicle classes has traditionally been one of the strengths of Mercedes-Benz, the inventor of the automobile. This is particularly obvious in the history of its coupés, and most especially in the very recent past. Models such as the four-door Coupés or the Shooting Brakes in the CLS-Class have not only created completely new vehicle classes, but have also had a lasting influence on the model policies of different manufacturers, found numerous imitators and proved to be an outrstanding sales success. The same can be said of the CLA-Class, which has been able to transfer the success of the CLS into the compact class and is also extraordinarily popular with customers. With the Concept Coupé SUV, Mercedes-Benz is now taking a similar approach. The study follows this coupé theme within the SUV sector consistently and demonstrates how a four-door, all-wheel drive series production coupé might look.
Concept Coupé SUV – pilot project for new SUV worlds
As a compact all-rounder, the GLA has already translated the suggestion of a coupé-like design idiom into an SUV format, thereby giving indications of a new SUV line from Mercedes-Benz which the Concept Coupé SUV now fully brings to perfection. With this concept car, Mercedes-Benz is announcing the possible expansion of the previously uniform SUV off-roader family:
The Concept Coupé SUV illustrates the possibilities of a more sporty and dynamic "on-road line".
The model families of the GLA, GLK, M, GL and G-Class stand for a versatile and superior "off-road line".
This presents customers with definite advantages, as they are able to order a vehicle specifically meeting their needs and wishes.