We’re becoming accustomed to automotive world premières taking place in China, and this is no exception: Mercedes-Benz will take the wraps off its Concept Style Coupé (CSC) at Auto China—the Beijing Auto Show—recognizing the importance of the Chinese market to the Swabian firm’s fortunes.
   The CSC previews the styling the firm will use in its CLA, a compact, four-door coupé related to the A-Klasse, and billed by the firm as a junior CLS.
   While Mercedes-Benz says the car is stylishly ‘nonconformist, provocative and masculine,’ there are cues that tie it back to its core range. However, the grille is particularly sporting, reminiscent of the SLS AMG and the latest SL, while sculpting along its wings tie it in with the CLS. Mercedes’ risk is that the CSC winds up looking better and more taught than its more expensive models—even the C-pillar, a bugbear with some of its saloons, looks right here, thanks to the rakish, acute angle at which it heads into the boot.
   At 4,637 mm long, it is a shade longer than the outgoing BMW 3er coupé, but, more importantly, it is expected to rival the coupé version of the new BMW 1er-Reihe and the next-generation Audi A3 saloon in this ever-competitive segment.
   Mercedes-Benz says the CSC has ‘innovative indicators’ (they are sequential—though the idea has been around for a while) and headlamps which glow red when in standby mode, while under the bonnet, it sports a new four-cylinder, 211 PS turbocharged petrol engine, and four-wheel drive.
   ‘The almost production-standard Concept Style Coupé sets a new benchmark for avant-garde design in the executive segment,’ says Mercedes-Benz head of design Gorden Wagener. ‘Its breathtaking proportions, sinewy fluid surfaces and sculptural lines are the physical expression of our dynamic design idiom.’
   Other show car touches include 21-inch wheels, the absence of a B-pillar, and a panoramic roof. Inside, carbonfibre spans the width of the dashboard, and colours for materials and trim that have been inspired by the fashion world.
   Mercedes-Benz’s COMAND apps are stored at a Daimler back-end and not in the car, bringing the CSC on to the cloud. The system is updated via cellphone.
   The CSC will briefly appear at Avant/Garde Diaries in Los Angeles (April 19–May 10) before its official world première in Beijing at Auto China (April 23–May 2).