Mercedes-Benz at the North American International Auto Show 2004 – Well set for series production: Mercedes-Benz unveils a new interpretation of the Vision Grand Sports Tourer
Mercedes-Benz will pave the way for a new vehicle category when it unveils the Vision Grand Sports Tourer – a new take on the groundbreaking touring saloon concept – at the North American International Auto Show in January 2004. Series production development of this Mercedes model has already reached an extremely advanced stage. “The new Vision Grand Sports Tourer from Mercedes-Benz is a highly appealing and versatile touring car that offers space, comfort and power. This latest trend-setter will enable us to gain a firm foothold in what is a new and exciting market segment in early 2005. We believe that the concept offers enormous potential for the launch of a new Mercedes model family”, says Professor Jürgen Hubbert, member of the DaimlerChrysler AG Board of Management and head of the Mercedes Car Group.
Thanks to its intelligent use of space, the Mercedes concept offers first-class comfort for up to six occupants. Featuring comfortable individual seats and high-grade appointments, the luxurious interior has everything it takes to ensure exemplary driving enjoyment whilst touring. Further innovative features of the Vision Grand Sports Tourer include a newly developed diesel hybrid powerplant which develops 234 kW.
The new SLR McLaren high-performance sports car celebrates its American premiere at the Auto Show in Detroit. In addition, the powerful E 320 CDI becomes the latest diesel model to be unveiled by Mercedes-Benz in the US. Delivering highly impressive performance and fuel consumption, it is set to open up a lucrative new segment in the American passenger car market.
Grand Sports Tourer: saloon, van, estate and SUV all in one
First unveiled by Mercedes-Benz in 2002, the Grand Sports Tourer idea combines the best features of familiar vehicle concepts such as the touring saloon, van, estate and Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) to create a new and unique entity. This Mercedes concept thus offers comfort, space and practicality as well as meeting extremely high stan-dards in terms of performance and driving dynamics. It also provides outstanding long-distance comfort. In other words, it is an all-new interpretation of the “touring car”.
Mercedes-Benz created this concept in response to the desire among modern-day drivers for a versatile car which, as well as being ideal for the family, recreation, travel and work, also features elegant design and the leading-edge technology for which the brand is renowned. The concept of the Grand Sports Tourer is the result of intensive dialogue between the Stuttgart-based manufacturer and customers from all around the world. These discussions form the basis of new and exciting vehicle concepts such as the Vision Grand Sports Tourer and the recently unveiled Vision CLS.
Design: the perfect blend of elegance, dynamism and supremacy
The new Mercedes-Benz show car is concrete proof that the Grand Sports Tourer has evolved from a design study and is ready to be phased into series production. It features a host of exciting details that are sure to arouse great interest. One of the main features that contributes to the dynamic appearance is the arc-shaped contour of the roof line which forms a powerfully smooth link between the A-pillar and C-pillar, thus projecting the desired “coupé-like” image. These lines lend the concept car a sporty elegance that belies its impressive size. Other prominent characteristics of the Grand Sports Tourer, such as assurance and high performance, are highlighted by the design of the radiator grille with its wide aluminium louvers as well as the powerful contours of the bonnet and the prominent bumper. The pronounced wedge shape of the front end adds further emphasis to this design language.
Interior: relaxed touring for up to six occupants
A large panoramic glass roof stretches practically the entire distance between the windscreen and the rear end, bathing the interior in light. Up to six occupants can enjoy the relaxing ride in the luxurious individual seats. In terms of interior space, meanwhile, the distance of 920 mm between the first and second seat rows makes for first-class travel comfort. The centre consoles between the individual rear seats feature extra stowage compartments as well as large drinks holders for cups or bottles.
Furthermore, separate DVD/CD players for the second and third seat rows, complete with headphones, allow the rear passengers to enjoy their own chosen brand of entertainment. The colour displays are built into the rear of the front head restraints and the rear centre console.
This new vehicle concept, developed by Mercedes-Benz in its own inimitable style, is a response to a desire for a versatile car that can be quickly and easily adapted to perform a wide range of transport tasks. A desire expressed by families for whom sport and recreation are priorities. Hence the four rear seats can be folded individually to create up to 2030 litres of luggage space (according to the VDA measuring method), which is substantially more than a conventional luxury estate can offer. In addition, the flat load compartment floor and the large tailgate make loading and unloading a great deal easier.
The dashboard features a sophisticated design as well as an aluminium and fine-wood trim to further enhance appeal, whilst the aluminium surrounds for the COMAND display and air conditioning controls on the centre console provide another eye-catching interior detail.
By incorporating the very latest in transmission electronics, the Mercedes engineers were able to dispense with the conventional automatic selector lever on the centre console, replacing it with a lever on the steering column and control buttons on the steering wheel. This configuration gives the driver the ability to change gear manually – Formula-1-style – and thus make optimal use of the vehicle’s highly impressive performance characteristics in any situation on the road.
Another benefit of this sophisticated shift-by-wire technology is that the driver’s hands always remain exactly where they belong – on the steering wheel.
Hybrid drive: From zero to 100 km/h in only 6.6 seconds
A powerful diesel/electric hybrid drive system is further proof of the innovation at the heart of the Vision Grand Sports Tourer concept. In models such as the Grand Sports Tourer, the electric motor is set to become an indispensable companion to the diesel engine, since it helps to further reduce fuel consumption and emissions without compromising on agility, comfort and driving enjoyment.
This powerful hybrid consists of the state-of-the-art V8 diesel engine with 184 kW/250 hp from the S-Class and an electric motor (50 kW). As a result, the vehicle has 234 kW of total power and 860 Nm of torque available — top performance levels for this drive technology, which guarantees dynamic driving enjoyment. The Vision Grand Sports Tourer, for example, has the acceleration of a sports car — it can sprint from zero to 100 km/h in just 6.6 seconds. The car’s top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h.
The diesel hybrid system’s fuel consumption is equally exemplary, delivering 30 mpg (miles per gallon) according to the American measurement method. With future engine generations, the drive concept of the Vision Grand Sports Tourer will offer the potential for even more impressive fuel efficiency, at 33 mpg. In the European driving cycle, the Vision Grand Sports Tourer with a hybrid drive uses about 20 percent less fuel than a comparable diesel model. Electronically controlled distribution of the workload between the diesel engine and the electric motor enables the benefits of both drive concepts to be used to the full: the electric motor kicks in when starting off, parking, driving in stop-and-go traffic or crawling in heavy traffic when less power is required, thus ensuring zero-emission motoring. Only when more engine power is required does the eight-cylinder CDI powerplant spring into life to provide powerful acceleration. During braking, the electric motor acts as a generator and produces current for recharging the drive battery. The Vision Grand Sports Tourer breaks new ground by featuring a hybrid drive system in conjunction with permanent all-wheel drive – a combination which offers further proof of the concept’s immense potential. Additional technical highlights of this Grand Sports Tourer concept include a set of 21-inch wheels as well as large, perforated brake discs, AIRMATIC air suspension and sophisticated axle assemblies, all of which are designed to ensure optimal long-distance comfort and an outstanding level of active safety.