Mercedes-Benz has announced plans the 2-door wagon conceptFASCINATION at the Paris auto show next month. Fortunately, Mercedes has no intention of ever pushing the fugly wagon into production, instead wisely opting to keep it as part of their traditional “design study” program. Ordinarily I’d dismiss the conceptFAIL as merely another piece of couture engineering that missed the mark, but Mercedes-Benz’s delusional public promotion of the concept wagon has me frightened.
According to Autopia, Daimler head Dr. Dieter Zetsche said of the conceptFASCINATION, “This design study continues the long tradition of exciting coupés from Mercedes-Benz in impressive style. With its emotionally appealing lines, ConceptFASCINATION offers a completely new interpretation of the coupé. Its aesthetic, dynamic looks and painstakingly crafted details ensure that this study meets the highest design standards.”
Were this description applied to any other Mercedes model, I’d raise my glass with a hearty “hear, hear,” but the conceptFASCINATION is, no exaggeration, one of the ugliest things I have ever seen Mercedes-Benz concieve. What vexes me is that I appear to be the only person who thinks so, or at least the only person who has said so, and I’m concerned that I’m witnessing an Emperor’s-New-Clothes phenomena occur here. Mercedes-Benz has always been the forerunner in luxury and innovation, and although I do derive a small measure of comfort in the fact that the conceptFASCINATION will never see development, I worry about its possible influence over future design. If memory serves me correctly, concept vehicles usually serve as unofficial previews of future models, and in their official press release, Mercedes-Benz mentioned that the concept’s basic structure was a direct derivation of the future E-Class coupe. Seriously, is this not a horrifying prospect to anyone else?