Idea automobiles, by definition, are typically fairly rad. However some are radder than others; particularly, those designed to do extra than simply look good. The Mercedes-Benz C111 is in that elite group of ideas. The tangerine Bruno Sacco-penned wedge was not solely otherworldly in its design method again in 1970; it additionally served because the German automaker’s testbed to push its rotary and diesel engine applied sciences so far as the time would permit.
Mercedes constructed 16 of those prototypes in complete, and so they stay among the many firm’s proudest achievements. This week it honored the sequence with a recent take, known as the Imaginative and prescient One-Eleven.
As you’d count on from a contemporary examine supposed to foretell the place the trade’s headed fairly than revisit the place it’s been, the Imaginative and prescient One-Eleven isn’t powered by a diesel inline-five or a Wankel rotary — regrettably — however as a substitute an axial-flux motor developed by a British subsidiary of Mercedes, known as Yasa. That motor is equipped with power from a “liquid-cooled cylindrical-cell battery with Method-1 impressed cell chemistry,” per Merc’s know-how boss Markus Schäfer.
Axial-flux motors are unusual in manufacturing automobiles, however a number of — like the brand new McLaren Artura — incorporate them to save lots of on weight and area. A majority of these motors generate an electromagnetic stream that runs parallel to the motor’s rotational axis, fairly than perpendicular. The online efficiency good points: improved energy density and lowered warmth emissions.
However in fact what’s beneath the One-Eleven’s sinuous shell is just half the story, and the brand new idea elegantly pays respect to its predecessors whereas additionally incorporating forward-looking cues. The low-slung entrance finish with black intakes and the oversize Silver Arrows badge are direct callbacks, as are the headlight and taillight designs, repurposing the C111’s rear-end graphic.
In profile, nonetheless, the One-Eleven carves its personal path, with a extra rounded, much less wedge-like silhouette. It’s an evolution that additionally displays Mercedes’ fashionable design tendencies with automobiles just like the EQS, and the convergence truly works fairly effectively ultimately.
The C111’s inside wasn’t precisely a precedence both, which is one other method through which the Imaginative and prescient One-Eleven differs. The metallic leather-based seats sit upright or retract to a “Lounge” mode, relying on whether or not the particular person within the driver’s seat is definitely driving the car or being pushed themselves. Look — it wouldn’t be a futuristic idea with out a component of autonomy, would it not?
I can forgive that, although. The One-Eleven is recollects a time when designers and engineers not solely dreamed, however examined their desires to appreciate the long run. It doesn’t seize the C111’s function, however it does honor its spirit, and that’s sufficient for me.