Even the flashiest of concept cars stands the chance of getting lost in
the clutter at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show, but the Mercedes-Benz Ocean
Drive convertible concept isn't likely to be one of them.
Described by Mercedes-Benz "as an awe-inspiring jewel on wheels," the
Ocean Drive attempts to blend the old-world idea of a luxurious
four-door convertible with the very new-world chassis of an S600 sedan.
The result is a massive four-passenger drop top with 5.5-liter V12
power and all the latest in Mercedes-Benz technology.
Although Mercedes says the Ocean Drive concept has an all-new body, it
doesn't look drastically different from a standard S-Class in its
overall size and shape. The absence of a B-pillar is an obvious change
along with the LED headlights up front. Mercedes says the grille is
more upright and the paint is two-tone, but it's hard to tell from
these preshow handout photos. The look of the long, uninterrupted side
windows is striking.
A soft top was used to keep things simple as a retractable hardtop of
that size would have made for a distracting and overly complex roof
design. When in place, the top does a respectable job of maintaining
the roofline of the standard sedan. But like most convertibles, the
Ocean Drive looks better with the top folded, especially when it's
stowed beneath its bird's eye maple cover.
A one-off design study, the Ocean Drive convertible is a not-so-subtle
attempt by Mercedes-Benz to gauge the public's interest in a full-size,
four-door drop top. We can't imagine how much a production version of
the Ocean Drive would cost, but with the standard S600 running about
$140,000, a convertible would easily top the $150K mark.
To see how the Ocean Drive holds up to public scrutiny, check back on
January 7 when we'll have full coverage of the unveil from the 2007
North American International Auto Show.