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A healthy respect for the past may be de rigeur for Monterey Car Week, but Mercedes-Benz is pairing its latest, retro-themed concept car with a thoroughly modern electric drivetrain. The Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow is the latest of the automaker’s EQ line-up of electrified concepts, a single-seater EV racer that apparently “embodies progressive luxury.”
In this case, “progressive luxury” is the ability to leave everyone else at home – along with most of your luggage, for that matter – and go out to play with a 738 horsepower electric drivetrain. The EQ Silver Arrow may look small, but even with a thin rechargeable battery sandwiched into the underbody, it’s still good for 80 kWh and over 250 miles of range.
It’s not the only electric single-seater concept we’ve seen this past week. Infiniti started things off, with its Prototype 10 speedster, then Audi picked up the reins with its thoroughly modern PB18 e-tron. Mercedes’ design study falls somewhere in-between.
The exterior certainly isn’t lacking in retro themes, but – unliked the pared-back cabin of the Prototype 10 – the interior is just as modern as the PB18 e-tron. The cockpit folds forward, revealing saddle brown leather seats and steering wheel trim, brushed aluminum, and solid walnut with coniferous wood pinstripes.
However, there’s also a panoramic screen onto which 3D graphics can be projected. Mercedes envisages a future world where roads have embedded charging strips running through them, with the transparent display guiding drivers along the most efficient line. When you’re trying to use electrons rather than refuel on them, meanwhile, the display could be used as a virtual race.
Historic and present Silver Arrow racing cars could be overlaid, with your opponent visible either ahead or behind as a “ghost” car. It wouldn’t just be for fun, either. The system could be used to tutor drivers in better techniques on the track.
A touchscreen on the steering wheel, meanwhile, is used to navigate through various vehicle settings. That includes switching between the Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ drive modes. It’s also where various different soundtracks can be picked: Mercedes suggests a Formula 1 Silver Arrow sound, or a Mercedes-AMG V8 engine.
On the outside, the inspiration is clear. Mercedes is looking back to the classic W 125 twelve-cylinder, the record-breaking Grand Prix racing car from 1937. That borrowed liberally from the aviation industry, and set a 268.9 mph average speed record on public roads that went unbroken until November of last year.
For the EQ Silver Arrow show car, the 5.3 meter long body is only exaggerated by the car’s relative low stance. The body is made of carbon fiber, with multiple layers of Alubeam Silver on top, and LED lighting strips and embedded EQ logos around the car. Partially free-standing multi-spoke wheels have non-rotating hub caps and 168 spokes per wheel. Each spoke is made of aluminum and painted rose gold.
They’re shod in 255/25 R 24 rubber at the front and 305/25 R 26 at the back, with partner Pirelli making custom tires with embossed star patterns in the tread, just for the EQ Silver Arrow. At the rear, meanwhile, the diffuser has two extendible rear spoilers. These can deploy as an air brake.
It’ll come as little surprise to hear that Mercedes-Benz isn’t talking about production plans for the concept. Instead, it’s being positioned as “an insight into the future of our design,” Gorden Wagener, chief design officer at Daimler AG, says.