Kamis, 07 Januari 2010

2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe

2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe – Click above for high-res image gallery

Marketing does funny things. Recently the word "coupe" has been rendered null and void of meaning by crafty marketing types behind cars like the Mercedes-Benz CLS, BMW X6 and Volkswagen CC, while the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo has sucked every last ounce of truth, honesty and passion from the term "Gran Turismo." It's now just advertising flim-flam. The BMW 8 Series was a grand tourer. The 535i Gran Turismo? We hear it's very practical...

We mention co-opting of the terms "coupe" and "Gran Turismo" because marketers pulled a similar stunt back in the early '70s with the phrase "Personal Luxury Car." Some cars did fit the definition well (roughly, a luxury coupe exists where practicality and efficiency are traded in favor of style, plush and image), others did not. For example, in the U.S. where we like our luxury by the yard, a 1971 Buick Riviera is a perfect example of a personal luxury car. An AMC Matador Brougham complete with Oleg Cassini interior isn't. Regardless of reality, by 1973 every car with two doors and faux-vinyl seats got tagged with the PLC label. As such, the phrase "personal luxury car" became meaningless.

Apropos of all that, Mercedes-Benz was kind enough to let us test its two-door version of its new W212 E-Class, the 2010 E350 Coupe. The new model marks the first time in three generations that Mercedes has offered a coupe version of what's generally considered to be its sauerbraten und spätzle. You'd have to go back to Bill Clinton's first term (that's pre-Lewinsky) to find the two-door W124 E-Class. Obviously, the B-pillarless two-door qualifies as a coupe, but a personal luxury car? Or, dare we say it, a GT?

2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 Coupe

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