Mercedes-Benz revives the luxury four-door convertible in the Ocean Drive
Mercedes-Benz Ocean Drive Concept Preview – 2007 Detroit Auto Show: Mercedes-Benz says that the Ocean Drive is nothing but a concept, but we're betting that if it generates enough interest you could eventually see something similar in M-B showrooms. The Ocean Drive is an elegant convertible four-door sedan based on the S600 platform with smooth flowing panels accented by sharp bodylines running the length of the side. The oversized Mercedes-Benz grille looks production, and the concept-style headlamps and tail lights could be replaced with more conventional production versions. In fact, take away the obvious show-car cues and it’s hard to miss how production the Ocean Drive looks.
Looking to the future and bringing new dreams to fruition is what keeps a company like Mercedes-Benz alive and generating new exciting designs to their lineup. Concepts like the Ocean Drive help designers get a feel for emerging trends, ideas and acceptance of future design. Staying ahead of the present and testing designs like the Ocean Drive Concept help gauge the public’s reaction and desires when forming new design philosophies.
Being based on the S-600 framework means retaining the smooth 12-cylinder engine, but the Ocean drive takes it one step further with twin turbos producing 517 horsepower and 612 lb.-ft of torque. The Ocean Drive also retains Brake Assist Plus, Pre-Safe braking and Distronic Plus. Taking up the four corners is a multi-link independent suspension and vented brakes.
Rolling open-air luxury, that is what the Ocean Drive Concept reflects. The graceful flanks are bisected by a sharp shoulder line running front to rear to create a look of elegance and prestige. Two-tone paint adds to the refined nature of the design as does the upright and large Mercedes-Benz grille. The Ocean Drive wears a soft top that can be raised and lowered in just 20 seconds. Multi-spoke rims, 36 spokes to be exact, reside at each corner wrapped in low-profile 275/35R-21 tires. The Ocean Drive also lacks a B-pillar, giving it smooth, uninterrupted lines with the windows lowered.
Before your eye even gets to the inside, it will be drawn to the back shelf which covers the lowered top. It is covered in bird’s-eye maple veneer as is a large portion of the interior. Supple light leather wraps the seats as light-colored woven fabric covers the areas of the instrument panels, console and doors. Between the back seats hidden in the rear console is a twist/push control for the DVD system that is displayed on monitors at the back of the front headrests. Also hidden behind a slide out panel is a champagne compartment that houses one bottle and two glasses. Special grips hold the glasses when the vehicle is in motion.
The Ocean Drive Concept itself is unattainable, but enough interest could possibly lead to features and lines appearing in future models. The Ocean Drive Concept is a design exercise used to gauge the public’s reaction to new design and future trends. Mercedes-Benz also feels concepts like the Ocean Drive stimulates and opens dialogue with their customer base. Keeping an eye on the future is critical.
The Ocean Drive Concept is a beautifully crafted work of design. It looks to the future while grasping today’s design possibilities. It is a car Mercedes-Benz ought to build, a car that would be welcomed by customers with open arms and wallets.
Photos courtesy of Ron Perry & Daimler Chrysler