Mercedes-Benz builds the world’s most desirable coupés – a claim which the Stuttgart-based car maker is underlining at the 2008 Paris Motor Show with its ConceptFASCINATION design study. This unique vehicle, whose innovative and unconventional proportions interpret the emotional appeal of a coupé in a new way, represents an exciting and intelligent combination of sporty and elegant design with stylish practicality. Wood, aluminium and smoked glass give a particularly exclusive look and feel to the luggage compartment which incorporates a refrigerated compartment and a humidor as well as offering a large load space. These attributes embody the two objectives of ConceptFASCINATION – to provide a high level of practical usability and to create a coupé which appeals to the heart with fast, thrilling lines. In developing this design study, Mercedes-Benz has given fresh impetus to the long-established (although now rarely seen) “shooting brake,” a vehicle category with its own distinctive charisma. Freed from the constraints of a specifications book, the designers have created an automotive sculpture with great aesthetic appeal which once again demonstrates Mercedes-Benz’s high level of design expertise.
ConceptFASCINATION is a unique jewel of compelling automotive design which is distinguished by its irresistibly dynamic lines yet still offers the benefits of a large luggage compartment. A particularly notable feature of the design is that the practical load space develops organically from the exciting and elegant lines of this lifestyle coupé, giving it its special charisma. Inside, the tone is set by fine, exceptional materials hand-crafted to the highest standard. Absolute perfection and attention to detail make this design study an incomparable gem which conveys at one and the same time a sense of sporty forward movement and elegance, savoir-vivre and exclusivity of the highest level.
Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, commented: “This design study continues the long tradition of exciting coupés from Mercedes-Benz in impressive style. With its emotionally appealing lines, ConceptFASCINATION offers a completely new interpretation of the coupé. Its aesthetic, dynamic looks and painstakingly crafted details ensure that this study meets the highest design standards.“
Driven by a new, powerful and economical four-cylinder diesel engine
Not content with just indulging the senses, the ConceptFASCINATION design study impresses with its technical underpinnings, too. These are drawn from the new E-Class and include the new four-cylinder diesel engine which features BlueTEC technology and develops 150 kW/ 204 hp from a displacement of 2.2 litres.
Dr Thomas Weber, Daimler AG board member with responsibility for Research and Development at Mercedes Benz Cars, said: “The show car not only demonstrates a fascinating, new design idiom, but – with our new, high-performance and economical diesel drive system using BlueTEC technology – shows that Mercedes-Benz vehicles will also set standards in the future in terms of sustainability as well as emotional appeal, driving pleasure and comfort.”
Taut, sharply contoured lines and finely sculpted surfaces
The design study’s elongated body is dominated by the dynamic front-to-rear sweep of its lines which gives it a dynamically charged look, evoking movement even when the vehicle is stationary. This impression is emphasised by the long, frameless, side-window line which describes a continuous arc from front to rear, uninterrupted by a B-pillar. As a result, the large load space in the rear is integrated in the vehicle body cohesively and harmoniously while also increasing the impression of length and creating a remarkable sense of lightness. The side windows can be lowered completely – one of the fundamental genetic markers of every Mercedes-Benz coupé – to provide an uninterrupted view of the stylish way in which fine materials have been used inside the vehicle.
A sense of forward-flowing energy is created by the wedge-shaped profile of the design study whose sides are structured by taut, clearly defined lines which grow out of the surfaces organically and disappear back into them in the same subtle way. Sensitively sculpted surfaces, alternately concave and convex, are defined by the shoulder line, undercut feature line and an additional line to form a gentle, yet pronounced linear flow complemented by an intriguing interplay of light effects. In short, flowing surfaces and arching structures create compelling forms.
The wheel arches are powerfully sculpted. In the rear wings in particular, the rounded treatment of the flared wheel arches is characterised by a degree of almost sensual exuberance – a classic Mercedes-Benz design element of the past – which is taken to an elegant conclusion in the lines of the rear. In order to maintain the flow of the surfaces and edges, the door handles are visually extended rearward of the doors into the sides of the vehicle.
A self-assured front section with a new take on the dual headlamp face
The distinctive front section of this gracefully built athlete is a picture of self-assurance. It remains loyal to the dual headlamp face, but interprets it in a more contemporary way. The now rhomboid headlamps, which are set against a grey background reveal the fascinating technical details of the light units which feature the latest LED technology as well as C-shaped fibre-optic inserts which serve as discreet running lights. With its new, sharper eyes and the surrounding lines and surfaces, the “face” of the ConceptFASCINATION vehicle is both exciting and forceful.
The bonnet of the design study has pronounced contours with a central ridge which picks up the V-shape of the front end and continues it along the vehicle body. Powerfully framed, the single-louvre radiator grille with the central Mercedes star makes a very dominant and expressive statement of the brand identity.
A distinctive front apron with a small double-wing assembly at the base gives this design gem a wide, confident stance. The great attention to detail, which can be sensed in the assurance of every line and the graceful sweep of every surface, is exemplified to perfection by a special touch in the front apron: a fine chrome trim strip runs all round the lower body of the vehicle; at the front, LED fog lamps are set into this strip – turning it into a sparkling piece of jewellery.
Forward-sloping rear with pronounced V-shape
The forward-sloping rear also has a pronounced V-shape and features a spoiler, below which the third brake light is reflected in the rear window. Flat, horizontal LED lights which extend around the back, linking it visually with the sides, emphasise the width. In a styling move which is both clever and extremely harmonious, the undercut surround of the redesigned tail lights flows into the rear wings, serving as yet another example of the painstaking attention to detail by the Mercedes-Benz designers. As at the front, the rear is completed by a small additional wing framed by four exhaust tailpipes.