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Heritage with technology: Mercedes Vision EQ Silver Arrow concept

Not to be outdone by the siblings from Volkswagen Group, Mercedes had their own jewel that made its world premiere at Pebble Beach during Monterey Car Week in California – the EQ Silver Arrow Concept.

Unlike the wishful Infiniti Prototype 9 or Prototype 10 concepts, Mercedes has some actual heritage to honour and celebrate with this show car. This silver electric speedster pays homage to their single-seater record-breaking W125 car from 1937 and has fitted it with a lot of modern goodies. Mercedes built this show car’s body structure out of carbon fibre with multiple layers of alubeam silver to achieve the liquid metal appearance.

Showcar feiert bei der Monterey Car Week in Kalifornien Weltpremiere: Vision EQ Silver Arrow: Ein emotionaler Wegweiser in die Zukunft des Designs

It may only be a show car but there are a lot of functional details like the front splitter and rear diffuser which are also made from carbon fibre. All the exterior classic elements have been infused with characteristics of Mercedes’ upcoming EQ line of electric cars – the continuous lighting strip, the front trim designed as a display, and the EQ lettering with light strips on the side skirts as well. Other visual highlights include the ‘partially free-standing’ multi-spoke wheels with the non-rotating hubcaps and partial covers. Not sure if that one is also a functional detail or a bit more indulgence from the design team as part of the 168 spokes per aluminium wheel that are painted in rose gold. Tyre partner Pirelli was kind enough to make the Merc star pattern on the tread of the show car’s tyres – 255/25 R 24 at the front and 305/25 R 26 at the rear. The Vision EQ Silver Arrow concept also features two extendible rear spoilers that can also act as an airbrake if needed.

While it appears to be purpose-built for the track from the outside, the interiors are quite accommodating with plenty of luxury comforts. The saddle-brown leather seats and steering wheel, the polished aluminium with strips of solid walnut and wood highlight Mercedes EQ’s idea of ‘progressive luxury’.

Showcar feiert bei der Monterey Car Week in Kalifornien Weltpremiere: Vision EQ Silver Arrow: Ein emotionaler Wegweiser in die Zukunft des Designs

There is nothing nostalgic about the tech though as the driver display is more of a large projection surface for the panoramic screen with some clever UI for a special kind of experience. In the concept car dimension, the driver of this Vision EQ Silver Arrow could engage in a virtual race against classic or modern-day Silver Arrow racing cars. For this, a virtual racetrack is superimposed onto the real tarmac on the panoramic screen and the driver then sees their opponent on it as a ‘ghost’. Gaming 101 to beat the target time then. A ‘Virtual Race Coach’ assistance function will also help the person become a better driver by giving instructions during the race. Imagine being yelled at in your ear by the AI voice of Toto Wolff and hearing him slam the desk when you make an error. Yikes.

Another cool feature on this show car is the sound setting. Electric cars are silent and it will take a lot of getting used to by both drivers and pedestrians. But it’s even more of a mental adjustment to drive a racing electric car and not hear the performance. So, from the touchscreen on the steering wheel of the Vision EQ Silver Arrow, you can select different driving modes and also different sounds, wherein the choices include: Merc-AMG V8’s throaty rumble or the aspirational scream from the current Merc F1 car. The V8’s a better option than the turbo-hybrid V6 in my book, just saying.

Mercedes Benz Showcar Vision EQ Silver Arrow, 2018

Unlike Audi’s treat of a concept car, Mercedes hasn’t talked in too much detail about the performance prowess of their own show car. What we do know is that it has an output of 737bhp from a battery in the underbody with a usable capacity of about 80kWh and 400km of estimated range.

Going back into Merc’s historic W125 speedster, the car that is the inspiration for this Vision EQ Silver Arrow concept, one realises just how impressive its record had been. With a body design inspired by aviation and Rudolf Caracciola at the wheel, the W125 managed to achieve an average top speed of 432.7kph on the A5 Autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt. This speed record on public roads remained unbeaten till November 2017 when Koenigsegg made their record-setting runs in the Agera RS. A lot changed in those 80 years, but in terms of outright speed, Mercedes had shown off their prowess early enough.

Mercedes Benz Showcar Vision EQ Silver Arrow, 2018
The record-breaking Mercedes-Benz W125 Speedster at the world premiere of the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQ Silver Arrow show car at Pebble Beach 2018

For now, this show car isn’t going after any speed records. It’s unlikely that Mercedes will ever put something like this into production or even have a fully-functional one-off as a high-ranking member’s weekend car. But to reiterate a recurring theory — concepts like these remind the public what the brand is capable of in terms of design and engineering.

What do you think of the Mercedes Vision EQ Silver Arrow concept car? How does it compare to Infiniti’s concept cars? Share your thoughts in the comments below the gallery and don’t forget to subscribe for plenty more to come.

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