Mercedes-Benz will make public long-held plans for a new entry-level four-door coupé at next month’s Geneva motor show, with the unveiling of the F800 Style.
The new four-door concept previews the styling, dimensions and packaging of a replacement for the CLC, which should reach UK showrooms by the end of 2013. Described to Autocar as a baby brother to the larger and more opulent CLS, the new car will form part of Mercedes-Benz’s next-generation A and B-class family.
It will share its front-wheel drive mechanical architecture with those cars, although this concept is also designed to show off a new modular rear-wheel drive platform. There will also be a four-wheel-drive, 300bhp turbocharged AMG range-topper.
The F800’s exterior dimensions are said to be very close to the production car’s. At 4738mm long, 1938mm wide and 1445mm high, the car will also be similar in size to the forthcoming C-class coupé, a two-door version of today’s C-class due this time next year.
Unlike that car, which will look more like a two-door saloon, the production F800 will have a more radical profile overlaid with futuristic styling referenced first by the Mercedes-Benz Bionic and, more recently, by the BlueZero line of concept cars.
This new look has been overseen by Mercedes’ recently appointed design boss, Gorden Wagener, who has taken little time in stamping his mark on the look of the firm’s future models, first with the Concept Fascination shown at 2008’s Paris motor show and now with the F800 Style.
Mercedes Dieter Zetsche said the car showed where Mercedes wants to go with its future design direction. "The F800's relevant aspect is that we did not have a comprehensive styling strategy before," he said. "We will have more consistency in the line up in the future and the F800 points to that"
Apart from removing the concept car flourishes such as the complex sliding rear doors, 20in wheels (with narrow 215/45 low-resistance tyres) and futuristic interior architecture, the production car will look much like the F800.
“There will be some alterations to satisfy crash regulations and the like, but the character will remain much the same,” a Mercedes source revealed. “You will instantly recognise it again, even though we’ll have to wait a few years until it finds its way into showrooms.”
The car’s appearance also previews the second-gen CLS that’s due to be unveiled at this September’s Paris show — including its SLS-inspired ‘soft’ front grille, extreme bodywork creases, coupé-like roofline, high-set bootlid and wide, angular tail-lights.
The production coupé will use Mercedes’ new MFA platform. Developed to replace the firm’s expensive sandwich-floor architecture, it will also be used in the A and B-classes and a new small SUV. It can support differing wheelbase and track widths.
The F800 Style has a lengthy wheelbase of 2924mm that provides it with ultra-short front and rear overhangs and a roomy interior, with up to 440 litres of luggage space.
But the car is not just about previewing a new coupé. It has also been created to showcase developments in Mercedes’ hybrids and fuel cells, as well as a new modular rear-drive platform that will feature in the new C-class, due in 2015.