The coupé is an exclusive body design. This was true even in the days of the horse-drawn carriage, when the coupé – 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 of style and individuality.
“Coupés from Mercedes-Benz have always been the embodiment of elegance on four wheels,” says Michael Bock, Managing Director of the Mercedes-Benz Museum and Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic. “Whether today, 40 years ago or 100 years ago – our coupés are legends of the eras in which they were built.”
The early automobiles borrowed heavily from various styles of horse-drawn carriage. The coupé retained a strong focus essentially on two persons traveling in style. 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 coupés are also driver-oriented. So would it be entirely wrong to suggest that one decides upon a coupé rather as one might choose an elegant coat – with the aim of wearing it for comfort and self-confidence?
Throughout its history Mercedes-Benz has offered coupés in a variety of designs. The 10 hp Benz Mylord coupé 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 coupé’s appearance.
Flowing lines for a dynamic appearance
The term coupé has evolved and grown over the decades. Early coupés, 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 coupé 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 coupé and enjoying utility value are no longer mutually exclusive aspirations. Although many coupé enthusiasts would contest the fact, even in a coupé a spacious trunk, folding rear seat bench and ski bag are popular equipment features. After all, the body does not reveal outwardly all the other things that need transportation in addition to the passengers.
Coupés by Mercedes-Benz and predecessor brands carry the self-image of this exceptional vehicle type in every detail – whether in the E-Class Coupé from the C 207 series or the CL-Class from the C 216 series. In addition, the CLC from the CL 203 series has been available in the C-Class as a sports coupé version since 2008. In this way the various coupés have smoothly been taking up their place in the Mercedes-Benz product range and adding a touch of sporting elegance to the brand image.
Source: Daimler AG