Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Vision EQ Silver Arrow show car during Monterey Car Week at Pebble Beach in California. The one-seater vehicle is an homage to the successful record-breaking W 125 car from 1937 as well as an emotive signpost to the future of design.
The paintwork in alubeam silver is reminiscent of the historic Silver Arrows which, for weight reasons, did not have a white paint layer. Traditional, high-quality materials such as genuine leather, polished aluminium and solid walnut dominate the interior. The digital cockpit, meanwhile, points directly into the future. It includes a curved panoramic screen with back projection, as well as a touchscreen integrated into the steering wheel.
“Over 80 years ago, the historic Silver Arrows demonstrated that Mercedes-Benz was a pioneer when it came to speed thanks, among other things, to their streamlined shape,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. “The Vision EQ Silver Arrow draws on that legacy. Intended for acceleration and driving pleasure, it embodies progressive luxury and provides an insight into the future of our design. As a result, the show car drives the design idiom of our new EQ product and technology brand to the top.”
The avant-garde, distinct aesthetic of Progressive Luxury shapes the EQ brand. This arises from the combination of a previously unknown beauty, the conscious clash of digital and analogue elements as well as the seamless merging of intuitive and physical design.
The exterior: sporty silhouette
With its clear, seamless design, the design idiom of the Vision EQ Silver Arrow is a brand-specific embodiment of the design philosophy of Sensual Purity. The streamlined silhouette of the approximately 5.3-metre long and approximately one-metre shallow one-seater vehicle is slender yet sensuous.
The show car’s body structure is of carbon fibre. The multiple layers of paintwork in alubeam silver appear like liquid metal over the top. This concept represents the design polar opposites of “hot” and “cold”. Functional attachment parts made of carbon fibre such as the front splitter epitomise the cool and rational aspect of this philosophy. The same applies to the front trim designed as a display, as well as the continuous lighting strip at the front. The side skirts also feature a lighting strip.
Other highlights include the driver’s cockpit, which can fold forwards, and the partially free-standing multi-spoke wheels. The non-rotating hub caps and the partial trim on the wheels are other stylish and innovative highlights. The 168 spokes per wheel are made of lightweight aluminium. They are in a rose gold colour as is typical for EQ.
Offering exceptional traction and correspondingly fast acceleration, the Vision EQ Silver Arrow has slick 255/25 R 24 tyres at the front and 305/25 R 26 tyres at the rear. Attesting to the attention to detail, tyre partner Pirelli has helped to realise a star pattern on the tread.
The rear diffuser is reminiscent of motorsport. Two extendible rear spoilers act as an air brake by increasing the wind resistance when there’s need of deceleration.
Interior: between tradition and modernity
The interior of the Vision EQ Silver Arrow represents the values of Progressive Luxury. The design idiom combines timeless aesthetic appeal with futuristic visions.
When the driver’s cockpit folds forwards, it provides a view of the surprisingly wide interior. A contrast brings it to life: On the one hand, it uses traditional, high-quality materials. These include saddle brown genuine leather on the seat and steering wheel, polished aluminium throughout the interior and solid walnut with darker coniferous wood pinstripes on the floor. This creates a bridge back to the historic racing cars of the Silver Arrow era. On the other hand, modern, high-tech solutions such as the large projection surface for the panoramic screen and innovative user experience solutions such as the virtual race option represent the EQ’s typically visionary character. This contrast is an intentional merging of past and future.
The sitting surface and backrest have an unusual pattern which is aligning the seat contour. Stars have been stitched in with the help of laser engraving. AIRSCARF neck-level heating is integrated into the seat. A four-point seatbelt holds the driver securely in place. The driver can adapt the pedals to specific stature, with a controller on the seat for adjusting the pedals.
To match the exterior paint finish in alubeam silver, the side walls of the interior are covered in a luxurious, grey suede.
Double screen and virtual racing
A large panoramic screen encompasses the driver of the Vision EQ Silver Arrow. On that screen, a 3D image of the surroundings is projected from behind.
With the help of artificial intelligence, it is possible to engage in a virtual race against historic or present Silver Arrow racing cars. For this, a virtual racetrack is superimposed onto the real roadway on the panoramic screen. The driver sees their opponent either ahead of them or behind them as a “ghost”. The Virtual Race Coach assistance function helps you become a better driver by giving instructions during the race.
There is also a touchscreen on the steering wheel. The driver can use it to select programs such as Comfort, Sport and Sport+, which offer different driving characteristics. The driver can also configure sound settings here. Choices include the sound of a current Formula 1 Silver Arrow or a Mercedes-AMG V8 engine.
Emission-free drive system
The Vision EQ Silver Arrow is conceived as an electric vehicle. This soundless Silver Arrow has an output of550 kW (750 hp). The thin rechargeable battery in the underbody has a usable capacity of approx. 80 kWh and enables a calculated range of over 400 km according to the WLTP. Side air vents help to cool the battery.
The EQ concept vehicles: outlook for electric cars in all segments
With the Concept EQA, Mercedes-Benz demonstrated how the EQ strategy can make a transition to the compact class at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. This electric athlete has a system output of over 200 kW. It features one electric motor on the front axle and one at the rear. The driver can alter the drive characteristics by varying the permanent all-wheel drive’s front to rear torque distribution. The Concept EQA shows which drive program has been selected on a unique virtual radiator grille.
At the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, smart presented the smart vision EQ fortwo. That is an electric and autonomous vision for highly efficient and flexible local public transport. The car has autonomous and electric power. The smart vision EQ presents a consistent concept for the future of urban mobility and the future of car sharing. The vehicle picks up its passengers directly from their chosen location and has no steering wheel or pedals.
The Concept EQ’s launch was at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. It heralded the new EQ product and technology brand – a concept vehicle with the looks of a sporty SUV coupé that pre-empted many elements of the Mercedes-Benz EQC, which comes onto the market in 2019.
The inspiration: the world record-breaking vehicle from 1937
The role model for the Vision EQ Silver Arrow is the W 125 twelve-cylinder. That was a record-breaking car which Mercedes-Benz built in 1937 on the basis of the Grand Prix racing car.
For the new body in 1937, Mercedes-Benz got inspiration greatly by the aviation industry. Examples include the recommendation from the development departments of the aircraft factories of Ernst Heinkel and Willy Messerschmitt to shorten the front overhang and to make the front more rounded. The front also got an extention further down and ended more steeply at the tip. As desired, this reduced lift on the front axle. A longer and more strongly raised rear reduced lift on the rear axle. One striking feature was as well an inspiration for the designers of the Vision EQ Silver Arrow. That was the round cockpit glazing modelled on a drop of water in terms of outline and cross-section.
With it, Rudolf Caracciola achieved 432.7 km/h on the A5 autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt based on the average speed travelling there and back. This speed record on public roads stood until November 2017.
#MercedesBenz is flipping the switch: On September 4th, we will present our first all-electric Mercedes-Benz model of our new #EQ brand. Here’s the very first design detail. #switchtoEQ pic.twitter.com/ENjyf89IFE
— Mercedes-Benz (@MercedesBenz) August 26, 2018