Long the purveyor of impossibly elegant hardtop coupes like the CL550
, Mercedes takes "sense and sensuousness"--Jane Austen is surely rolling in her grave--to a new level in its concept FASCINATION coupe, an early predictor of the next E-Class lineup due in 2010.
The mechanicals are based on a "future E-Class Coupe," Mercedes said as it introduced the new concept to the Paris auto show crowds. The lineup of the next E-Class will include a four-cylinder diesel with 204 horsepower. That's a version of the diesel we'll see in the Benz GLK sport-ute.
Edging over into the Brits' playbook, Mercedes claims it took design inspiration from the classic Shooting Brake idiom, also a muse for the Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe
. But they are careful to note that the FASCINATION is as useful as it is stylish, and claim to have incorporated impressive amounts of cargo capacity and stunningly decorated passenger space in a segment often defined by cramped quarters and form that trumps function. The gracefully arcing Mercedes hardtop tradition is thankfully continued, albeit with a greater sense of forward motion along the lines of its successful, aggressively styled CLS
Interior materials are said to be inspired "by the world of equestrianism," and that means loads of leather climbing onto portions of the dashboard. Aluminum, fabrics, and wood are also used throughout. Featuring materials straight from a Bang & Olufsen showroom, even the luggage compartment is lined with a melange of wood, aluminum, and smoked glass, they say. Oh, and in case you have to transport some delicate organic radicchio home for the family, a refrigerated compartment and a humidor are included. (No frozen mixed veggies for my
Ladies and gentlemen, get your checkbooks ready.