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Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven : progressive interpretation of a 70s brand icon

Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven : interprétation progressive d'une icône de la marque des années 70
Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven : progressive interpretation of a 70s brand icon

Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven : progressive interpretation of a 70s brand icon

  • Pioneer of design and technology in the lineage of the legendary C 111 experimental vehicles

  • Exterior: sporty interpretation of the One-Bow design with high-tech references

  • Interior: Fuses a living room feel with the minimalism of a super sports car

  • YASA axial flux motor signals the future of high-performance electric drive

  • Battery with high-performance liquid-cooled cylindrical cells

Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven : interprétation progressive d'une icône de la marque des années 70

Mercedes-Benz presents a new sports car study. The Vision One-Eleven combines a highly dynamic design language with innovative all-electric powertrain technology. The supercar’s silhouette features a skillful execution of the iconic Mercedes-Benz One-Bow design that is a marker of its 21st century style. The development of this design underlines the positioning of the Mercedes-Benz brand, which stands for ICONIC LUXURY. Its technical highlights include the extremely powerful and highly efficient axial flux motor developed by electric motor specialist YASA. The British company has been a 100% subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz AG since July 2021.

The Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven draws on the tradition of the legendary C 111 experimental vehicles of the 1960s and 1970s, which were used to test the revolutionary Wankel and turbodiesel engines. These were also prototypes for testing polymer-based bodies. The extremely (aero)dynamic mid-engined sports cars are considered design icons of their era, not least because of their distinctive gullwing doors and eye-catching orange and black paintwork.

“Our goal at Mercedes-Benz is not to do style – our goal is to create icons. For me, that makes the difference between mainstream design and luxury. Design icons like the Type 300 SL and the C 111 – both equipped with gullwing doors – are part of our DNA. These legendary vehicles were major sources of inspiration for the iconic design of the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven. It is beauty and extraordinary united in a single vision of the future. Our all-electric vision show car is the modern interpretation of the C 111, avant-garde at the time. The element of surprise comes from its exceptionally clean, purist and, at the same time, extremely muscular. This iconic clarity is also reflected in the interior. The equally sensual yet minimalist design language represents ICONIC LUXURY by Mercedes-Benz.

Gorden Wagener, Head of Design, Mercedes-Benz Group AG

“The Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven combines stunning design with revolutionary powertrain technology. Like its historic namesake, it explores new avenues for the future of sports performance. At the heart of the compact and highly efficient powertrain is the innovative high-tech YASA axial-flux electric motor. It delivers motorsport-like power output from a considerably smaller package. This makes the YASA axial flux motor ideal for high-performance electric vehicles. Combined with the liquid-cooled cylindrical cell battery with Formula 1-inspired cell chemistry, the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven is another proof point of the broad performance spectrum encompassed by our four-pronged development strategy for electric propulsion.

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer

Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven : interprétation progressive d'une icône de la marque des années 70

The exterior – One-Bow design in its most athletic form

The body of the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven is focused on the skillful execution of the One-Bow design. From the low-slung front to the muscular rear, it unfolds into a smooth bow that gives the silhouette of the vehicle, just 1,170 mm high, an extremely sculptural feel. This matches perfectly with the alubeam copper-orange paint. It provides an unmistakable reference to the distinctive color of the C 111 without adopting it head-to-head. The color of the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven is considerably more powerful than that of the C 111 and also changes with light. It conveys not only a sense of quality but also a certain extravagance.

Other notable features of the side view include the flush gullwing doors and side windows, which are opaque from the outside and camouflaged by a pixelated pattern. Yet another is the large-diameter wheels fitted seamlessly into the wheel arches beneath voluminous flared fenders. This reinforces the impression of an uncompromising and aerodynamically refined sports driving machine. The wheel design incorporates powerfully structured elements reminiscent of electric motor windings – a clear indicator of the cutting-edge all-electric powertrain that underpins the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven. They contrast sharply with the vehicle’s iconic, minimalist and smooth surface design, which is more akin to a sculptural work of art. This contrast is typical of the X-factors the brand applies to its design thinking and a distinctive feature of the One-Eleven Vision.

Another striking contrast appears through the very low front and rear aprons, finished in matte black. The two deeply hollowed out aerodynamic elements are visually connected by two blade profiles of the same color running along the flanks under the rocker panels. These profiles feature piercings backlit in blue. The functional aerodynamic elements also serve as an additional design reference for the C 111, which is painted black on the lower part of its body. The dark “keel line” of the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven creates an impression of a smooth transition between the vehicle and the ground below, even more powerful than that of the C 111. The shape of the car seems merged with the road surface.

The front-end design – iconic high-tech look with historical reference

Also from the front, the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven is powerfully reminiscent of the C 111. In detail, however, there are striking differences: a notable example is the distinctive front, which on both vehicles consists of a low rectangular element with rounded ends on the left and right. On the C 111, it is a closed plastic element with a honeycomb structure, equipped with round fog lights. The corresponding part on the Vision One-Eleven looks very similar at first glance. However, upon closer inspection, it turns out to be a high-tech feature. The panel is a flexible external display with a 3D pixelated look. It interprets the characteristic round lights of the C 111 in digital form and can also transmit messages to other road users.

Unlike the C 111, the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven sports a U-shaped, heavily contoured front apron. Above the slender light strip, the ancestor and descendant have further similarities, including the black air intakes on the hood.

Rear design – aerodynamic features and digital elements

The rear of the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven is also dominated by a diffuser with a powerful profile. Spanning the width above is a screen that echoes the shape of its counterpart up front and features the same pixelated structure in the red taillights. Similar to the blade profiles on the sides, blue lighting effects are also visible on the rear. The inner side of the wheels is equipped with circular light elements.

Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven : interprétation progressive d'une icône de la marque des années 70

Interior design – first sports car interior with a salon concept

Inside, the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven features the first sports car interior with a lounge concept. It reflects the paradigm shift from autonomous sports car to autonomous electric vehicle in the super sports car segment and unites two completely different states of being. In racing mode with the backrest raised and the compact driver-oriented touch screen, the interior becomes that of a minimalist driving machine. Conversely, in lounge mode, the seats are fully integrated into the interior sculpture, which merges the sills, the central tunnel and the luggage compartment into a single whole.

This creates a completely new, exceptionally airy spatial concept. Unlike previous mid-engine sports cars, it takes advantage of the electric motors’ compact proportions to extend the interior rearward. Therefore, the lounge-like interior invites occupants to take their time and relax – a completely new approach for the sports car of the future.

Futuristic and luxurious atmosphere with contrasting colors

The interior design of Vision One-Eleven reflects future luxury based on a progressive color concept and extraordinary material combinations. The contrasting colors and materials catch the eye at first glance: large areas such as the dashboard are covered in white fabric with a honeycomb structure in a technical look. The material is made from 100% recycled polyester. Other elements such as the armrests on the sills and the center console, as well as the rear shelf under the expansive rear window, are covered in bright orange leather. This creates a smooth transition from the interior to the luggage compartment. The sustainably treated leather has been tanned using coffee bean husks. Polished aluminum in the steering wheel spokes and inlaid straps on the armrests emphasize the technical look and feel. The same goes for the brake and accelerator pedals, both made of polished aluminum and mounted on the floor.

Otherwise, the interior equipment of the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven has been kept to a minimum. As with the exterior, the task here too was to keep the number of additional features to an absolute minimum. Seats are good examples of this because they do not follow the classic format. Instead, the seat cushions are built in flush to the floor. This creates the initial impression of the bucket seat in a Formula 1 racing car. The orange four-point harness and its shiny polished buckle further enhance the sporty character.

Nevertheless, the innovative seats combine this sporty feel with luxurious comfort because, unlike a Formula 1 racing car, the backrest angle can be adjusted. The silver shimmer of their diamond-quilted upholstery is another eye-catcher that underlines the first-class interior ambience. Between the seats is a compact center console, freestanding in space like a work of art.

The only very complex feature of the interior is the leather-wrapped steering wheel, which is equipped with various functional controls and state-of-the-art touch elements. This is complemented by a compact touchscreen with high-resolution display mounted on the side of the steering wheel and angled towards the driver. It displays all relevant vehicle information as needed.

Fusion of analog and digital – UI/UX with a retro-futuristic pixel look

Contrast with the modern interior is provided by the slim pixel display spanning the entire width of the dashboard, mirroring the shape of the front and rear light strips. Here too, the pixel structure is deliberately coarse, which makes the displayed information – such as the current speed – appear surprisingly bold. Additionally, the 3D pixel display shows digital artwork as a crudely pixelated stream of QR codes in the style of “early digital” news tickers. This is done using glass pixels that display a changing color gradient depending on the viewing angle. The corresponding real image then appears razor-sharp on the high-resolution screen next to the steering wheel.

This combination of very different representations of the same image embodies another interpretation of the MBUX hyperscreen with an emphasis on flexible interfaces. The 8-bit retro-futuristic look thus creates an additional X factor. The development of the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven reinforces the growing fusion of physical and digital.

Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven : interprétation progressive d'une icône de la marque des années 70

Creating an experimental spatial user interface – augmented reality takes user experience to a new level

For the Vision One-Eleven premiere, Mercedes-Benz designers created a visionary user experience using augmented reality (AR), placing it in a virtual prototype of the Vision One-Eleven interior. As soon as the driver puts on the Magic Leap 2 augmented reality headset, their experience is enriched with high-definition digital content contextually integrated into their environment. It creates a seamless spatial blend of physical interior and digital user interface beyond the screen. In effect, the entire car becomes the user interface.

Mercedes-Benz has been exploring the benefits of AR since the launch of the F015 concept car in 2015. The AR user interface of this new car presents a vision of the future that works on two levels: information attached to the dashboard and information placed in the environment inside and outside the car. This marks the next step from screen-based user interface with Mercedes-Benz’s intuitive layer-zero technology to an AR user interface that organizes layer-zero elements around the user in space. Elements include modules, 3D icons and navigation map. The control interface around the dashboard and steering wheel is also complemented by additional contextual information attached to real objects such as buttons or switches.

The 180-degree AR view integrates the outside world into the virtual prototype, effortlessly merging the car with its surroundings and placing the driver at the center. The map elements are projected into the environment, which is enriched with additional information such as places of interest or hidden dangers such as roadworks beyond a bend. With this x-ray view, the system improves situational awareness by blurring unimportant details to create a clean image of the relevant input. Elements that obstruct the driver’s field of vision – such as the A pillar, the doors or the bonnet – then appear “transparent”. Mercedes-Benz designers and experts worked with Magic Leap technical specialists to develop and refine the AR experience featured in the Vision One-Eleven using the highly advanced Magic Leap 2 AR glasses.

The spatial user interface is a beacon for a Mercedes-Benz user experience that is unencumbered by technology. This is part of a broader vision that looks toward extended reality, where technology and hardware cease to be the focal point; instead, become fully integrated and transparent facilitators of user needs and wants.

Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven : interprétation progressive d'une icône de la marque des années 70

Innovative electric powertrain – high-performance axial flow motor and all-new battery technology

Technology highlights include a new battery concept featuring high-performance liquid-cooled cylindrical cells with new cell chemistry. Once again, the extensive knowledge of the motorsport experts at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrain in Brixworth has found its way into this promising concept for future performance-oriented batteries. In addition to this, the Vision One-Eleven is equipped with two exceptionally powerful and advanced axial flux motors from YASA. Mercedes-Benz is developing this technology together with YASA to full-scale production maturity for its next-generation electric drives. YASA is a British electric motor specialist based in Oxford and has been a 100% subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz AG since July 2021. The company has thus gained access to a unique future technology which has the potential to take mobility electric to a new level of performance.

“Axial flux motors are significantly lighter and more compact, yet more powerful than comparable radial flux motors currently used in 99% of all electric cars. In an axial flux motor, the electromagnetic flux is parallel to the axis of rotation of the motor, which is very efficient. In a radial flux motor, the flow is perpendicular to the axis of rotation. Compared to radial flow motors, they have significantly higher and longer-lasting power reserves, which provides a whole new level of performance.

Tim Woolmer, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of YASA

Besides its power and torque density, another major advantage is the narrow body, which reduces both its weight and dimensions. The weight of an axial flux motor is only a third of that of current electric motors of the same power. At the same time, it requires only one third of the space occupied by a radial flux motor. This opens up entirely new options for engineers as well as new freedoms in designing an electric vehicle, as evidenced by the Vision One-Eleven.

The future generation of YASA axial flux motors will be produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Berlin-Marienfelde. The engines manufactured there will be at the heart of the future powertrain for the performance segment.

Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven : interprétation progressive d'une icône de la marque des années 70

High-quality products from the Mercedes-Benz collection: the “LIMITED EDITION 1 OF 111”

In parallel with the presentation of the sports car study, Mercedes-Benz is launching the “LIMITED EDITION 1 OF 111” collection. For the first time, an iconic design study is accompanied by an exclusive lifestyle collection. This translates the zeitgeist of the 1970s into the here and now, and combines casual sportiness with careful attention to detail. In addition to the distinctive color of the Vision One Eleven, the individual accessories also evoke the vehicle’s characteristic design elements. The five items are each limited to 111 pieces and thus offer admirers of this fascinating study an exclusive opportunity to take its style home with them. All products bear the lettering “LIMITED EDITION 1 OF 111” – either embossed, printed or engraved. The high-quality packaging, also in orange, is embossed on the top with the Mercedes star and the lettering “LIMITED EDITION 1 OF 111”.

The weekend bag in silver, orange and black is a luxurious tote made from high-quality cowhide leather with a striking diamond pattern. The two embossed leather badges on the left and right show the Mercedes-Benz logo on one side and the Limited Edition label on the other. Additionally, there is a black leather pendant embossed with “Vision One-Eleven”. In addition to the two leather carrying handles, the travel bag has a shoulder strap with leather padding. The weekend bag (dimensions: approx. 50 x 30 x 28.5 cm) can hold approx. 40 liters.

In addition to the Carl Zeiss Vision N2020 lenses in orange, the sunglasses’ eye-catching design features include the striking double bridge, slightly offset upwards. Classic 19 gram aviator sunglasses with retro style are “made by ic!” Berlin for Mercedes-Benz. “Limited Edition” is engraved on the inside of the side piece, the star motif on the outside. Another highlight of the highly polished stainless steel frame is the well-known ic screwless joint system! Berlin.

The modern cut hoodie in orange and gray has a hood, a pocket and a drawstring with a black flat belt cord, printed in white with the label “LIMITED EDITION 1 OF 111”. The back features an embossed 3D star with a diameter of approx. 20 cm, and the raglan sleeves have a gray yoke with a tone-on-tone diamond pattern.

The orange cotton cap with a metal buckle has a tone-on-tone embroidered star in the center front, and the “Limited Edition” label is printed in white on the left side. Mercedes-Benz lettering can be found on the interior straps, which are also orange.

The iPhone 14 Pro case, orange on the outside, gray microfiber lining on the inside, is made of liquid silicone with a soft-touch rubber finish. The “LIMITED EDITION 1 OF 111” lettering is printed in white on the front, tone-on-tone gray on the inside, and the Mercedes-Benz star is printed in tone-on-tone orange on the front and tone-on-tone gray on the inside. ‘interior.

Items from the “LIMITED EDITION 1 OF 111” collection will be available from August 2023 on