Nield: already working with SpaceX on launch license for 2018 Red Dragon mission. Raises Outer Space Treaty Article 6 issues. #H2M

Going off of memory here, but...kinda.

They're basically gonna fly it into and through the atmosphere "sideways", letting it bleed off more and more speed, using the thrusters for attitude control and steering.

Once they get velocities and trajectories down to something sane and manageable, they'll use the Super Dracos to land it, since parachutes don't work especially well in Mars' thin atmo.

From their initial study, (PDF, has amusing Dragon 1 with Super Dracos pictured) in their own words:

After entering the atmosphere, the vehicle would decelerate through a guided, lifting trajectory. Dragon would propulsively decelerate from supersonic speeds to touchdown, taking advantage of its high-thrust retro-propulsion system and obviating the need to develop new parachutes or other aerodynamic decelerators for the vehicle.

And a smidge more:

After slowing as much as possible aerodynamically, some other method must be used to decelerate through the remaining speed to landing. All previous Mars landers have used supersonically-deployed parachutes followed by subsonic retro-propulsion for terminal descent. However, since Dragon is designed for Earth entry it has a significantly higher ballistic coefficient, β > 300 kg / m2, than previous Mars landers. Its aerodynamic characteristics are at the edge of the range for which using parachutes is currently considered feasible.

Even if parachutes were feasible, adopting them would require a major development and qualification effort. Instead, we have examined whether Dragon's launch-abort system has sufficient capability to decelerate through the final phase of flight using propulsion alone.

To determine whether the capsule has sufficient propulsive capability, we compared the final speeds attainable through unpowered aerodynamic deceleration to the propulsive capacity of the launch-abort system.

Our analysis to date has focused on landing sites relevant to our Discovery Program mission concept; in particular, it has focused on landing at an elevation three kilometers below the MOLA reference, which addresses much of the Northern Hemisphere. Also, for the analysis so far, entries followed unguided, lift-up trajectories.

We varied entry conditions (speed, flightpath angle, and atmospheric density) and vehicle parameters (L/D and entry mass) and found that Dragon is capable of landing more than one tonne of payload to our target sites for a broad range of conditions.

Analysis of EDL continues, including considering guided entries to increase payload capacity, continuing detailed examination of the supersonic-retro-propulsive phase of the flight, and assessing whether a combination of guided entry and fully-propulsive descent would allow improved landing accuracy compared with previous landers.

Hope this helps and wasn't too wordy. (Or st00pid on my explanation!) :)

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