When we happened across some images of the 2010 E-Class last month, it wasn't clear if the photos were entirely accurate.
Mercedes-Benz has given some credence to the speculation however, having just released images of its ConceptFASCINATION (CF) shooting-brake concept vehicle destined for this year's Paris Motor Show.
The front-end treatment is all-too familiar now, and with Mercedes itself confirming the CF is based on the E-Class' architecture, it's safe to say this is a clear sign of things to come. Mercedes' traditional round headlights are 'MIA', having been swapped out in favour of fibre-optic units boasting some serious angles, while the front end features much more pronounced lines than we've seen in the past.
The concept vehicle will be powered by Mercedes' new 2.2-litre, 152kW BlueTEC (with AdBlue) 4-cylinder diesel engine, while we expect the E-Class to remain true to form and offer various engine options in 6 and 8 cylinder flavours.
On the inside, the ConceptFASCINATION will be pure decadence with an 'equestrian' inspired interior featuring a centre console, upper-dashboard, and armrests trimmed in dark leather to recall the look and feel of a saddle. Lighter-coloured nubuck leather, aluminum, and American walnut woodgrain adorn various other surfaces to provide contrast and uphold the interior's elegance.
The cargo bay on the ConceptFASCINATION is something else. The wooden floor features aluminum protective rails and can be folded up - to the right and left - to reveal two compartments beneath, containing binoculars and a high-end digital camera. In the centre is a folding smoked-glass table that can be raised electronically and pulled to the rear for easier access. In this position there is access to the chilled storage compartment and a cigar humidor. Finally, the glass table can be folded up to provide a private place to enjoy cigars and chilled drinks with friends.
While many of the ConceptFASCINATION's features are clearly 'concept' only, it does show that Mercedes-Benz is working hard to ensure the marque continues to set the pace in luxury driving. Meanwhile, the idea that the E-Class could be this pleasing to the eye when it hits dealers in 2010, is somewhat tantalising.