Mercedes-Benz Previews Radical Concept Sedan at Frankfurt Auto Show

Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA

The Concept IAA previews the design direction of the future S Class.

Mercedes-Benz unveiled a radical concept sedan design Monday ahead of the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany.

The Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile concept is meant to convey the likely design direction of future large Mercedes cars, such as the S Class, and is stylistically related to the F 015 Luxury in Motion driverless electric concept car that Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche unveiled at the 2015 CES International show in January.

The IAA concept is powered by a 270 hp plug-in hybrid power plant. When the car reaches 50 mph an array of flaps and segments automatically deploys to streamline and lengthen the car 15 inches to reduce aerodynamic drag, and louvers in the front bumper shift to improve airflow underneath the car. The resulting 0.19 drag coefficient is lower than even the CLA's 0.22, currently the most aerodynamic Mercedes in production.

The IAA concept's interior previews what Mercedes says its S Class cabin will look like in the near future, incorporating touch-based sensors on the steering wheel that allow the driver to scroll through instrument cluster menus while keeping both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. 

Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Porsche are expected to emphasize technological innovation throughout the Frankfurt Auto Show, which opens to the public Sept. 17, in part to reclaim some of the thunder lost to Tesla Motors, whose Model S and Model X, a highly anticipated SUV that debuts in two weeks, have goaded prestige automakers to speed development of their own electric cars.

On Monday, Porsche and Audi unveiled electric "Tesla killer" concept cars at Frankfurt.

The Frankfurt Auto Show runs Sept. 17-27.



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