In concept, I was undecided about the new Mercedes S-class coupé. It was a Mercedes CL by another name, and I couldn’t shake the hunch that its makers were trying to hoodwink me into thinking it was something more special with a simple nomenclature switch.

But now I’ve seen it, I understand. I understand why Mercedes' honchos have been talking about this car whilst hopping from foot to foot, so excited that they can’t stand still. I understand why it deserved this new name. I understand why this is now the most desirable Mercedes, bar none. At least until the GT AMG (or baby SLS, as we’ll call it for now) lands this summer.

By any measure, in the metal here on the eve of the Geneva motor show, the S-class coupé is a stunner. Its shoulder line is spectacular - bold yet sophisticated in a manner that makes you want one. The front sufficiently striking that you could park one next to an Aston Martin or Maserati and not feel remotely inferior. And the interior? Well, we’ve written enough superlatives about the innards of the Mercedes S-class in Autocar for you to get the picture.

The technology, too, warrants mention, although you can get the full rundown in our dedicated news story on the S-class coupé reveal. This is a car that can tilt in to a corner, much like a motorbike rider leans in, for goodness sake. It sounds mind-blowing. I can’t wait to try it - although I remain uncertain whether I’ll love it, hate it or be unaware of it doing its black magic.

This, then, is a car that lives at the top of the Mercedes range and sets out the company’s stall for the future. We’ve heard lots of talk of Mercedes aiming to redefine its values in order to attract more, younger buyers. I reckon this is the car that encapsulates that move: luxurious in look yet simple in execution, overt in its styling without being brash and packed full of technology yet still exhibiting fine levels of craftmanship.

Could we have a contender for the car of the show before the show has even started?

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