Yorgo Tloupas, 30 April 2009, 09:41 AM
I just spent 2 days in Tuscany for the launch of the new E-Class Coupé from Mercedes-Benz. There was a slight feeling of déja-vu, not from the car itself, but from the magnificent hilltop converted farmhouse in which we stayed. Coincidentally I had already been there a few years ago for the press launch of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. In these untroubled economic times, our welcome present on arrival was a limited edition Nokia phone with the Aston Martin logo engraved into the back. To be honest I much preferred the path taken by Mercedes this year: instead of showering journalists with flashy gadgets, they gave a donation to charity. No guilt on either side, no heavy box to bring back on the plane, and full attention paid to the car.
So the new E-Class follows Mercedes’ new direction towards a more angular design, especially in the front, with aggressive edges and a muscular stance. The roof line stays smooth and curvy, reminiscent of the ground-breaking CLS. I’m no aerodynamics expert but I have to give respect to Mercedes for designing the supposedly most aerodynamic production car today (0.24 drag coefficient), and not making it look like a big melted pebble (although I wouldn’t mind seeing a pebble-shaped car from time to time).
Although the E-Class Coupe replaces the CLK model, Mercedes went deeper into their archives and had a classic Ponton model on display. I wish they could at least bring back the flat, non-metallic colors of their old ranges (but stop short of color-coding the rims).
The hotel was more than pleasant, although the pools were not yet open:
They built modern display structures in the dining room, one of them made to look like a photography lightbox. It reminded me of how few photographers I work with use these nowadays. I miss the gentle heat of the table, the loupe to check the sharpness, and the flickering neon tubes…
Look for our article in the next issue of Intersection….