September 12, 2008 The latest design study from Mercedes-Benz is Concept FASCINATION - and it looks pretty swish. Under its skin, the highly-sculpted hatchback coupé is based on E-Class technology with drive provided by a new four-cylinder BlueTEC diesel engine which develops 150 kW/ 204 hp from a displacement of 2.2 liters. It's mostly about the looks though. Designed to pull on the heartstrings of coupé lovers with a healthy dose of practical usability thrown in, the Concept makes extensive use of luxurious hand-crafted materials on the inside including a load compartment made of wood with brushed aluminum protective rails and built-in refrigerator and humidor. From the outside the car's dynamic profile is highlighted by its forward-sloping rear, glass roof, frameless side-windows, an eye-catching front apron and slightly new take on the dual headlight theme.
Mercedes says the study gives a new lease of life to the “shooting brake” vehicle category. The term originally referred to an open open-topped, horse-drawn carriage designed for country use and was later applied to two-door luxury estate cars that became the chariots for gentlemanly sporting pursuits like hunting, golfing and polo. Designers have latched on to the latter in fitting the interior using materials such as dark leather, wood and high-quality woven fabrics that are"inspired by the world of equestrianism" according to the PR.
Passengers are treated to four individual seats and there's still plenty of room for lugging the polo mallets in the one metre square load compartment. Two compartments under the floor house binoculars and a digital camera with interchangeable Leica lenses. A folding smoked glass table that can be raised at the push of a button sits at the center of the compartment above the humidor. For the full picnic experience, the table can also be pulled to the rear and folded up at left and right.
The now rhomboid-shaped LED headlamps feature C-shaped fibre-optic running-lights and flared wheel arches, single-louvre radiator grille and the fine detail of a chrome trim strip which runs all round the lower body of the vehicle are among the other key design elements.
Mercedes puts the main purpose of the project down to "giving designers the opportunity to play around with unconventional topics, to look at things in a new way and to explore new ideas". While it is set for a showing in Paris next month, we're not expecting to see Concept FASCINATION on the showroom floor any time soon, but it is one very nice design - check the gallery for more pics.