Mercedes-Benz Concept FASCINATION study showcases new design idiom | AutoUnleashed PR Section

Sense and sensibility – a compelling interpretation of a coupé concept

• Designed-in passion with a high utility value • High-grade materials hand-crafted to the highest standard • Dynamic arrow-shape and new twin-headlamp face

• Technology based on the E-Class

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 Concept FASCINATION 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 Concept FASCINATION – 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.

Concept FASCINATION 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, Concept FASCINATION offers a completely new interpretation of the coupé with
a highly practical dimension, too. Its aesthetic, dynamic looks and painstakingly crafted details ensure that this study meets the highest design standards.”

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. The continuous line of the side windows, which is embellished by a discreet chrome surround, makes the car seem poised for a leap forward.

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. The undercut character line echoes the curve of the bonnet edge, which continues this arched contour further forward. 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. They rise out electrically at the touch of a button.

The design study is shod with 20-inch light-alloy wheels in an interesting and youthful multi-spoke design (tire width 245 at the front and 275 at the rear).

A self-assured front section with a new take on the twin-headlamp face

The distinctive front section of this gracefully built athlete is a picture of self-assurance. It remains loyal to the twin-headlamp face, but interprets it in a more contemporary way. The now rhomboid clear-lens headlamps which are set against a grey background reveal the fascinating technical details of the light units which feature the latest LED technology – for example, the high-grade aluminium housing of the light units and a cooling fan. C-shaped fibre-optic elements float freely behind the headlamp lenses, serving as striking marker lights. C shaped lighting elements are also found in the rear lights and as indicators in the exterior mirrors. The front indicators appear to float freely inside the inner headlamps. With its new, sharper eyes and the surrounding lines and surfaces, the “face” of the Concept FASCINATION 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. A line flows from the roof and continues forward via the A-pillars before powerfully framing the radiator grille. 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 and louvres in the air intakes gives this design gem a wide, confident stance. The two vertical struts in the front apron appear to support the radiator grille as a solid visual base.

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, the LED daytime running lights are inserted into this strip, turning it into a sparkling piece of jewellery. The lighting power of these embedded lighting elements can be increased, so that they also act as fog lamps.

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. The edge of the wing extends around the rear to link the sides with the rear end as if cast from a single mould. As at the front, the rear is completed by a small additional wing framed by two twin exhaust tailpipes.

Exquisite range of materials from the world of equestrianism

A large panoramic glass roof and the arc described by the uninterrupted side-window line bring a sense of visual lightness to the interior, too, and help it to merge with the exterior. Fine materials, such as leather, wood and aluminium, as well as high-quality woven fabrics and many carefully crafted details ensure that the sporty and stylish character of the design study is also underlined by the interior.

The exquisite range of materials is inspired by the world of equestrianism and satisfies the most discerning tastes. Recalling the look and feel of a saddle, thick, dark leather covers the aluminium centre console which, like a bridge extending from the front to the rear, spans the space between the four sporty individual seats and translates the taut lines of the exterior to the interior of the vehicle with minimalist elements. Strong and natural, this leather also covers the upper section of the dashboard while its supple, flowing character means that it also lends itself to enhancing the look and feel of the door armrests. Burr walnut trim with a fine chrome strip rounds off the materials concept. A contrast is provided by thick-fibred deep-pile carpeting and light-coloured, high-grade nubuck leather for the other surfaces and the four sporty single seats with free-floating backrests and attractive topstitching.

The seat faces are upholstered in high-quality, wear-resistant linen fabric. The contoured backrests of the single seats in the rear can be folded down, creating more load capacity. Elegant, harmoniously integrated head restraints with integral Airscarf lend a stylish touch to the front seats, which also feature the familiar Easy-Entry function. The rear surfaces of the front seat backrests are framed in burr walnut, and embellished with a brushed metal panel in the centre.

The dashboard continues the characteristic V-shape theme of the exterior, and gives the impression of a dynamic wing. It features an instrument cluster with five tubular shrouds, next to which is a separate shroud for the central display of the COMAND system. The rotary push-control for this is conveniently located on the centre console.

The driver sits at a extremely sporty, three-spoke multifunction steering wheel with a wooden rim, whose gripping areas are lined in leather.

Luxurious load compartment with stylish details

Painstakingly crafted details give the load compartment a particularly luxurious and surprising character. The floor of the load compartment, which measures approximately one metre square, is made of wood with brushed aluminium protective rails. Folding up the floor at the left and right sides reveals two compartments containing two sets of binoculars as well as a high-quality digital camera with interchangeable Leica lenses – the perfect equipment for a day at the races, for example.

The centre of the load compartment is occupied by a folding smoked glass table which rises out of the floor at the touch of a button to reveal a compartment housing a humidor. The table can also be pulled to the rear for easier access from outside. Doing so provides access to a refrigerated compartment for drinks and champagne flutes. The smoked glass can then be folded up at left and right to allow the vehicle occupants to enjoy a picnic in a stylish and refined ambience.

Driven by new, powerful and economical four-cylinder diesel engine

With the Concept FASCINATION design icon, Mercedes-Benz is not merely demonstrating its great design expertise, for naturally the technology also reflects the high standards of the world’s oldest car manufacturer. The sensually appealing Concept FASCINATION is technically based on the E-Class. It is powered by the new four-cylinder diesel engine, which features BlueTEC technology and develops 150 kW/204 hp from a displacement of 2.2 litres.

This engine is one of a newly designed four-cylinder diesel generation, which betters all previous best marks in this segment with respect to output, torque, exhaust emissions and above all fuel economy. This is thanks to the implementation of a whole package of innovative technologies.

These include: • a maximum ignition pressure of 200 bar, • fourth-generation common-rail technology with a rail pressure increased by 400 bar to 2000 bar, as well as a new piezo-injector concept with direct nozzle needle control for greater flexibility in injection timing, leading to smoother running of the engine, • larger, variable oil spray nozzles and variable water pump,

• dual-stage supercharging.

Power transfer is by the well-proven five-speed automatic transmission.

The running gear, with a three-link suspension at the front and independent multi-link suspension at the rear, provides safe, agile handling characteristics with the refinement typical of a Mercedes. The technical highlights also include the AGILITY CONTROL package with variable shock absorber control, as well as the PRE-SAFE® system with anticipatory occupant protection measures. Dr Thomas Weber, the member of the Daimler AG Board of Management with responsibility for corporate research and development at Mercedes-Benz Cars: “The study not only shows an exciting new design idiom, but also features our new, powerful and yet economical diesel engine with BlueTEC technology to provide an outlook on how vehicles from Mercedes-Benz will continue to set standards in the future – whether in sustainability and emotionality, driving pleasure or comfort.”