Mercedes-Benz Vision G-Code Concept -- urban chic gets a new edge
Unveiled at the opening of its new Product Engineering Center in Beijing, the Mercedes-Benz Vision G-Code Concept is the automaker's latest take on a Sport Utility Coupe (SUC) with distinctly Asian flavor and futuristic flair. A collaborative effort between M-B advanced designers in Germany and China, the G-Code was inspired by "the modern lifestyle and digital affinity of the younger Asian society," according to Gorden Wagener, Head of Design of Daimler AG. Whatever its muse, this compact, 2+2 plug-in hybrid melds cool visual character with hot new technology while maintaining all of the classic craftsmanship expected in a Mercedes.
Visually, the G-Code Concept embodies a bolder take on the conventional mini-crossover theme. Shorter but wider than a GLA-Class with abbreviated overhangs, it jettisons the conventional B-pillar in favor of coach-style rear doors to ease access and boasts enough ground clearance to handle light-duty off-roading. Scaled to take on would-be rivals like the Mini Countryman and upcoming Audi Q1, this distinctive one-off also has full LED lighting, relies on retractable video cameras instead of outside mirrors and rides on 21-inch aluminum wheels with carbon fiber spokes. The G-Code is finished in yet-to-be-perfected "multi-voltaic silver" paint intended to extract radiant energy from the sun and electrostatic charge from wind to replenish its battery pack. Even more current actually can be generated by this SUC's advanced "power on the move" suspension that uses natural over-the-road motion of the springs and shocks to drive a compact generator.
A connected cabin and electric scooters, too
Inside, the G-Code features a stylish design that matches outstanding flexibility with advanced technology that includes V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle) and V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) communications as well as full 360-degree monitoring. Its articulated steering wheel/column and oversize center display neatly retract into the dash when the G-Code is parked while its rear seats fold flat to create a generous load floor and an extended split console offers docking ports for a smartphone that serves to bring the vehicle to life as well as various other devices. For short treks in the city, there's even a pair of stand-up electric scooters that stow away under the rear cargo floor.
Motivation for the all-wheel drive G-Code Concept comes from a hydrogen-burning turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels linked by a computer controlled "digital driveshaft" with an electric motor at the rear axle that can selectively vector its torque from left to right as dynamic conditions warrant. M-B's new SUC can operate in three driver-selectable modes using its engine, motor or a combination of the two. Trick illumination in the G-Code's grille pulses and changes color to indicate which of the modes it's in at any given moment.
No word on if or when we'll see a tone-down version of the G-Code on the streets in China or anywhere else. Despite M-B's caveat that its technical visions "clearly incorporate quite fantastical aspects" that aren't intended for mass production, don't be surprised to see at least some of its innovative elements be adopted at some point.
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