OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Stuttgart, Germany, Mar 03, 2008
Individual and stylish: Coupes by Mercedes-Benz
* Coupes make an unambiguous statement about a lifestyle characterized by beauty and elegance
* The Mercedes-Benz CLC demonstrates new class while revealing its roots in a rich coupe history
* Classics in their own lifetime
The coupe is an exclusive body design. This was true even in the days of the horse-drawn carriage, when the coupe – presumably so-called because it resembled a four-seater carriage with its front end cut-off (French: “coupé”) – offered two seats in the comfort of the cab with the coachman seated up front on the open box seat. People who chose this mode of travel clearly liked to demonstrate a sense style and individuality.
The early automobiles borrowed heavily from various styles of horse-drawn carriage. The coupe retained a strong focus essentially on two persons traveling in style, and to this day it typifies an exclusive form of transportation. Use of a coachman eventually gave way to owners who preferred to take control of their vehicle themselves; today’s coupes are also driver-oriented. So would it be entirely wrong to suggest that one decides upon a coupe rather as one might choose an elegant coat – with the aim of wearing it for comfort and self-confidence?
Flowing lines for a dynamic appearance
The term coupe has evolved and grown over the decades. Early coupes, for example, generally only had room for two people; since the 1950s, however, they have more usually had four seats. But the body incorporates a number of basic features that persist to this day. A coupe generally has very low, flowing lines which create a stretched silhouette. It often dispenses with the B pillar altogether, and the C pillar slopes gently into the tail. The roof is generally shorter than in the case of a sedan, and curved at the rear. The side windows are usually frameless.
Nowadays, owning a coupe and enjoying utility value are no longer mutually exclusive aspirations. Although many coupe enthusiasts would contest the fact, even in a coupe a spacious trunk, folding rear seat bench and ski bag are popular equipment features. After all, the body does not reveal externally the paraphernalia of modern leisure activities that now also vie for space alongside the passengers.
Coupes by Mercedes-Benz and predecessor brands carry the self-image of this exceptional vehicle type in every detail – right through to the new Mercedes-Benz CLC, which makes its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2008. Although a member of the compact class, the vehicle demonstrates the size and spaciousness befitting a coupe. It fits comfortably into the family of other Mercedes-Benz coupes and perfectly rounds off the brand range. The CLC demonstrates new class. At the same time it is rooted in the brand’s rich coupe heritage, even though it has “only” one direct sports coupe predecessor.
Throughout its history Mercedes-Benz has offered coupes in a variety of designs. The 10 hp Benz Mylord coupe of 1901, for example, still bore close resemblance to the horse-drawn carriage, with a seat for the driver open to the elements. One not uncommon feature for the day was the folding roof above the passenger seats, which could be opened in good weather to enhance enjoyment of the journey – and which at a top speed of 35 to 40 km/h detracted only minimally from the elegance of the Mylord coupe’s appearance.
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