Mercedes-Benz Coupe Concept (1993)
Officially, the Coupe Studie was called an experiment, a trial balloon to study the public’s reaction to the new Mercedes style. It really was brand new. More muscular fenders, a thinner grille that seems to be glued into the front of the body, and, of course, a completely different look. Two pairs of round, or rather elliptical headlights – one larger, the other smaller – showed the world a completely unfamiliar face of Mercedes-Benz.
The “studio” concept was built on the chassis of the 124 series coupe – with a 5-liter V8 under the hood! – at the same time, the strict three-volume body of the C124 was replaced by an unprecedented fastback form factor in Stuttgart. It was hard to believe that such a radical departure from the previous design canons was the work of the team of the legendary Bruno Sacco.
Perhaps this is where the rumors began, they say, the design of the Mercedes-Benz Coupe Studie was ordered by Giorgetto Giugiaro. This is wrong. The authorship of the “Studio coupe”, as well as the subsequent serial CLK, actually belongs to the young American designer of Mercedes-Benz Michael Fink. Back in 1991, he was the first to propose a radically new look for a sports coupe, which did not leave a stone on the concept of “Horizontal uniformity and vertical proximity” by Bruno Sacco.
What else is homogeneity and closeness? You could say it’s an old-school Mercedes design mantra. By horizontal uniformity, Sacco meant similarity, family continuity in the features of the models of the entire brand line. Vertical Proximity is an evolutionary approach to design in which a new car does not, by the very fact of its debut, turn the previous generation model into a mossy junk.
Agree, Concept Studie, like the serial CLK, does not follow this paradigm. Rather the opposite. But how could a real design revolution be carried out inside Mercedes-Benz without the knowledge of Bruno himself? In the end, the Italian will leave the post of chief designer of the company only in 1999 …
There is an explanation for this. Much earlier, back in the early 1990s, after the overwhelmed withdrawal deadlines and the indecently increased budget for the creation of the W140, power in Stuttgart passed from engineers to accountants.
The same S-Class was created without regard to the budget: the developers clearly had the task of making the best car in the world, regardless of time and money – now the rules of the game have changed. No timing violations, no unexpected expenses. The leadership of Mercedes-Benz, as best they could, denied the heritage of the fallen flagship. Even, imagine, in design.
If the W140 stood out in the crowd with generous dimensions and large forms, then the next “eska” looked like an anorexic. New design trends have affected not only the S-Class, but the entire model range. It is here that the round headlights, so unlike everything that was previously called the brand name of Mercedes-Benz, fell into the suit.
Michael Fink’s Concept Studie was as far from the classic Mercedes-Benz as possible. And this was considered a great idea in the early nineties. Despite the protests of Bruno Sacco.
It would seem that the concept is for that and the concept. It was created in order to test how warm the reaction of public opinion will be. Then, if anything, you can pull the necessary levers – remove, add, change …
Just not this time. Yes, officially the Mercedes-Benz Coupe Studie debuted in March 1993 – a couple of years before the serial big-eyed W210 and as much as four years before the serial version of the CLK. That’s just the design of a physiognomy with round optics for both the concept and the future “yeshki”, the Germans patented even before the start of Geneva-1993.
All the talk that the company’s management made the decision to launch serial models with a new branded physiognomy following the stunning success of the “Studio Coupe” with the public is nothing more than talk. Everything was decided before the opening of the exhibition.