Daimler AG's (DDAIF) racy new Mercedes-Benz E400 coupe heralds the first full-fledged expression of a new design language for the German luxury brand, which is being called "sensual purity" by its chief designer.
Gorden Wagener, vice president of design since 2008, explained to reporters at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in January that the new language means that sharp metal creases and lines will fade and eventually vanish from future Mercedes-Benz models. Instead, vehicle exteriors will be rounded, smoother and simpler.
What appears to be a character line or bulge along the side of the new E400 was actually a "bone," Wagener explained. That bone, he said, "structures the side of the car and goes into this beautiful rear coke bottle shape -- sexy shape."
According to the automaker, "sensual purity" expresses "bipolarity -- the essence of beauty and intelligence," which makes the cars "irresistible." In short, "they are hot." Well, the cars do represent adult entertainment insofar as they require a driver's license to operate and about $70,000 or more to buy, in the case of the latest E400 coupe equipped with popular options.
During a test drive of several hundred miles through British Columbia, the E400 turned quite a few heads and managed to navigate narrow mountain passes with assurance. The 3.0-liter biturbo V6 generates 329 horsepower and 354 ft-lbs of torque, distributed by a nine-speed automatic transmission.
As has become the custom, the newest Mercedes-Benz features a multitude of elegant touches from a chrome "diamond block" grille to intricately designed metal air vents on the instrument panels. The stitching, scoops, bars, panels and switches show devotion to detail and a spare-no-cost attitude consistent with the company's motto, "the best or nothing."