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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - E-class - ConceptFascination

First look: Merc's E-class Coupe returns

Bold Benz: Two-door Paris concept could herald the return of the E-class Coupe.

Mercedes previews its all-new E-class family via the sleek ConceptFascination coupe

12 Sep 2008

MERCEDES-BENZ will test the waters at next month’s Paris motor show with its snappily named ConceptFascination.

In German car company-speak, the oft-used term ‘Fascination’ is a byword for ‘new direction’, and true to form the ConceptFascination should herald a two-door four-seater E-class-based coupe of identical style and proportion sometime within the next three years.

Flushed with the unexpected global success of the CLS four-door coupe (itself derived from the existing W211 E-class sedan), Mercedes-Benz is keen to replicate this with a two-door version of the next-generation model.

A full-sized four-seater conveyance with a hatch big enough to match, the E-class Coupe would be a sort of modern-day Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake, Volvo P1800 ES or Reliant Scimitar GTE.

“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,” said the company press blurb.

4 center imageIt also appears that there is a sound historical precedent for a proper two-door E-class, as Mercedes-Benz has not offered once since the demise of the highly regarded W124-based C124 after the four-eyed W210 came on stream in 1995.

The W202 C-class-derived CLK took over in 1997, but that smaller car also denied Mercedes-Benz the chance to charge the sort of money that it could with the old C124 E-class Coupe.

Whether an E-class convertible based on this vehicle is on the drawing board remains to be seen.

If the world takes to the E-class Coupe-previewing ConceptFascination, we can expect the production model – looking almost exactly like the show car – to arrive in around 2011.

In the meantime, from it we can glean the nosecone of the W212 E-class sedan due to be unveiled in the first quarter of next year, ahead of its Geneva motor show debut.

There are probably also elements of the next E-class wagon around the posterior of the ConceptFascination, although it not a next-generation CLS with the W212 Estate rear tacked on.

We know that underneath the show-car’s bonnet is a new-generation 152kW 2.2-litre four-cylinder Bluetec turbo-diesel engine with emissions-cutting AdBlue technology, but other mechanical details for this rear-wheel drive vehicle are sketchy.

Mercedes-Benz is trying to woo the horseracing fraternity by describing the ConceptFascination’s leather, chrome, aluminium and American walnut interior trim as “... inspired by the world of equestrianism... recalling the look and feel of a saddle, thick dark leather covers the aluminium centre console.” Images of Ascot are further evoked by a smoked glass table that rises from the wooded load area floor at a push of a button and can be pushed to the rear for easier access from outside as well as to a refrigerated compartment “... for drinks and champagne flutes”.

Furthermore, the load floor contains a secret compartment that houses two sets of binoculars and a digital camera with interchangeable Leica lenses that are “the perfect equipment for a day at the races” (with the irony of the Marx Brothers association firmly lost in translation here).

Mercedes-Benz clearly isn’t horsing around with the ConceptFascination, however, with speculation rife that the green light is already lit for this new model to sit alongside the closely related next-generation CLS four-door coupe within the wider W212 E-class family.

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