The Coupé in Detroit, the Cabriolet in Geneva: now the new E-class has its own sports versions too. We are not talking about any old cars: they both occupy a new step in the evolution of the Mercedes design idiom. They are not yet the new departure announced by Gorden Wagener with the “Aesthetics A” sculpture, but they do give us a preview of some of the features. “They embody our sensual and pure design language perfectly and represent the next step in the ongoing development of our design idiom. Boasting perfect proportions, they embody a purist design featuring an emphasis on surfaces, reduced lines and sensual forms. This reduced design idiom is hot and cool at the same time”.
The dream that Wagener, head of Daimler design, has succeeded in instilling in his team, namely to cut character lines to the limit, comes to fruition in these two cars, but is particularly evident in the Coupe, where even the last line has disappeared, replaced by a shoulder area that is a play of light and shade. “We are not changing our philosophy but entering the next stage”, explains Robert Lesnik, head of exteriors: “As we say, the time of creases is over. It means we will work more with pure sensual surfaces. In a bigger car such extreme solutions, like a completely clean body-style, might look heavy. But in a car like our E-Coupé, with its balanced proportions, narrow greenhouse and wide track and wheel arches, it was possible to take every crease-line out of the shoulder area and concentrate on the pure surfaces.”
“With our design philosophy of Sensual Purity”, Wagener comments, “we have restyled the product range with great success. In applying this design philosophy to our current A-Class, launched in 2012, we have actually sparked a transformation in design. The upcoming compact class generation marks the dawn of an even more rigorous implementation of the design idiom of Sensual Purity”. The “Aesthetics A” sculpture gives a clear indication, but the E-class Coupé and Cabrio, whose 4.82 metres are not so compact, offer a first taste.
The initial input came from Hubert Lee, who now heads the Beijing studio, and Wini Camacho. The two cars, explains Lesnik, were born in parallel: “You cannot just take the Coupé and cut the roof off, nor can you compromise the shape of the Cabrio when the roof is closed, because our E-Coupé and the E-Cabrio are and must remain a granturismo, a well-balanced four seater. For instance, the different shutlines of the rear trunk are the limitation for the rear lights that are the same for both cars. Certainly it was a challenge to find a line that works for both”
Although the interiors broadly copy those of the saloon, as Mercedes interiors manager Hartmut Sinkwitz explains, it was necessary to be sportier. So here are the turbine optics air vents, already seen years ago on an S-Class coupé concept, but which now debut in production, fine-tuned by the team of his number two Hans-Peter Wunderlich.
Full article in Auto&Design no. 223