At the North American Auto Show Detroit, Mercedes-Benz added to its reputation as a pioneer and design trendsetter among premium carmakers with the presentation of its Concept Ocean Drive four-door convertible. This study is a one-off creation by Mercedes-Benz which revives the tradition of large luxury convertibles. Not having to work to a design brief or production specifications left the designers free to get on with the job of developing the world’s most comfortable and elegant convertible.
The four-door convertible’s styling is surprising, seductive and in keeping with the Mercedes-Benz styling philosophy, whose watchword is contemporary purity and clarity. Lucid forms and large, restful surfaces are interwoven with taut lines to create a fascinating counterpoint between calmness and power. The resulting impression is of harmony, elegance and all-round quality – particularly when the soft top is down. In this state, the side windows are fully retracted and the interior is completely open, thanks to the typical convertible lack of a B-pillar or side-window frames. The dropped top also shows off the elegant interior with its high-quality materials and many interesting features, while the exterior appears particularly long and extended. When the soft top is raised, the taut curve of the roofline emphasises the thoroughbred qualities of the vehicle.
Apart from the four doors, the outward distinguishing marks of the concept car include a very large and upright radiator grille, LED headlamps and taillights, two-tone paintwork and a striking interplay between taut lines and large, restful surfaces. This lends the one-off special an air of effortless superiority, power, elegance and forward-flowing energy.
The long side-window opening which, typically of a convertible, is not interrupted by a B-pillar or window frames, ensures seamless continuity between the exterior and the interior, even when the top is up. Extensive use of high-value materials –such as finest-quality leather, 3D-effect materials and large bird’s eye maple trim panels (in the interior and even on the soft-top compartment cover) – and many other thoughtfully designed interior details, highlight the luxurious, unique character of this design study.
Needless to say, the on-board equipment also includes top-level Mercedes-Benz innovations, some of which are unique worldwide – including Brake Assist PLUS, the innovative PRE-SAFE® brake system (in combination with radar-based DISTRONIC PLUS) and the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system.
The folding armrest between the rear-seat backrests in the design study incorporates a cleverly devised mechanism which, when the armrest is folded out, first of all raises the upper wood-trimmed section then, when the leather-upholstered armrest has been extended, lowers the wood flap back down again to close the gap. This rear armrest incorporates a twist/push control with hand rest which the rear-seat passengers can use to operate the high-quality DVD/audio system. The video screens are built into the back of the front head restraints.
Also located between the seats is a champagne compartment housing one bottle and two champagne goblets. Special grips hold the filled goblets securely in place when the car is on the move.
The bonnet of the Concept Ocean Drive shelters a top-of-the-line V12 Mercedes-Benz power plant, which for this vehicle has acquired a new, elaborately designed cowling emblazoned with a stylised “V” emblem. The twin-turbo engine develops maximum power of 380 kW/517 hp and maximum torque of 830 Newton metres and provides supreme and effortless power. It is partnered by the tried-and trusted, smooth-action 5-speed automatic transmission.