Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sports Coupé

Development of the external shape
The exterior design department received the first tentative enquiries from Mercedes-Benz in October 1996 before any decision had been taken about the exterior shape. From then on, work proceeded in parallel with the design process and an exterior was developed which differed completely from the saloon model apart from the air inlet grilles in the bonnet. After a number of design changes had been made, primarily in the rear spoiler area, the exterior dimensions of all the various versions were finalised. This process took around six months.

Bodyshell and B-pillar
Our task in the bodyshell area was to develop the roof including the cross-member and roof frame and the complete side wall and rear structures. Close cooperation with the tool suppliers at a very early stage enabled all the available synergies to be exploited to the full. To support the component suppliers, we developed the concept for the bearing areas of the glass roof, thereby meeting the bodyshell requirement for accurate positioning.

We were also commissioned to develop the B-pillar and associated decorative features. Working on the basis of the data from preliminary development, the B-pillar had to be incorporated into the side wall structure. The improvements we were able to make to the reinforcing components and to components adapted from the saloon generated substantial cost savings.

Interior

Within the context of the project as a whole, our interior design team worked on aspects of the trim for the corresponding suppliers. This enabled them to develop the body pillar trim together with the bodyshell and to take account of special requirements regarding add-on components and installation space. Their work also included the various versions of the headlining, both versions of the roof, and the trim at the side of the parcel shelf. Thanks to the close link with bodyshell development they were also able to take account of various other modules at the same time such as the attachment points, grab handles and new statutory safety requirements relating to the interior and the positioning of the window bag, which was a brand-new feature at that time. With regard to the interior, the team was again introduced to the project via Mercedes-Benz concepts at the beginning of 1997. The responsibility for supporting the start of series production in this area remained with Bertrandt until March 2001.

Functional cubing
Using the PTS data supplied by Mercedes-Benz, the functional cubing for several components was milled in just four months. Based on the design data, the boundaries between individual parts were located in such a way that they could be produced easily and therefore cheaply, and modifications carried out more quickly. This included designing the various fixing points. The functional cubing of the interchangeable roofs was designed in such a way that it was possible to work with two versions of the roof simultaneously. This was also made possible by the production of the original sheet-metal flanges from milled semi-finished aluminium stock in the area of the roof frame.