Mercedes-Benz shows its is up to the design challenge

The Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force concept car.
The Mercedes-Benz Ener-G-Force concept car. Daimler AG - Global Communicatio

MERCEDES-Benz will take public a plan for a new range of rugged SUV models at the 2012 Los Angeles motor show next week with the unveiling of its new Ener-G-Force concept car - an imposing seven-seater that, in kitted-up Highway Patrol Vehicle guise, also provides the centrepiece for the German car maker's entry into this year's Los Angeles Design Challenge.

Mercedes-Benz officials won't be drawn on specifics just yet, but high-placed company sources suggest the Ener-G-Force is the forerunner to a new three-strong line-up of Land Rover-rivalling off-roaders likely to join the German car maker's line-up in coming years, based around existing platforms and driveline combinations, including a long-awaited replacement for the iconic G-Class in production since 1979.

"The Ener-G-Force invokes the genes of the G-class. It could also be a clue about a new beginning for the off-road design idiom of Mercedes-Benz," says Gorden Wagener, head of Mercedes-Benz design, in tacit reference to the new line-up, which would compliment next year's new price-leading GLA along with the existing GLK, M-class and GL-class as well as a sporting version of the M-class flaunting a uniquely designed body due out in 2014.

Styled at Mercedes-Benz's advanced design studio in Carlsbad, California, the Ener-G-Force updates the functional go-anywhere appearance of the 33-year-old G-class with a bold new look that provides clues to how the company's new SUV line-up, which has been conceived to include compact, mid-size and luxury variants in a move aimed at providing broad customer appeal, may appear if current proposals being mulled over by chairman Dieter Zetsche and the rest of the Mercedes-Benz board receive the thumbs up.

Among the styling elements that distinguish the modern-day G-class is a soft front mask similar in concept to that adorning original. It houses a broad four-slate grille dominated by a three-pointed star emblem and distinctive LED headlamps whose slim-line horizontal design combines with a highly technical wing-shaped bumper assembly with integral winch to widen the concept visually.

As on the first-ever Mercedes-Benz off-roader, the indicators are mounted atop the front wings to provide positioning reference in tricky conditions away from the bitumen. They bookmark a raised bonnet that uses a letterbox-like opening along its leading edge for added engine cooling.

Further back, there are pumped-up wing panels providing for plenty of wheel travel, an upright windscreen, high waistline, shallow glass house with recessed side windows, one-piece tailgate hinged within the roof and a rear bumper that mirrors the look of that up front.

As Mercedes-Benz's entry for this year's Los Angeles Design Challenge, which imagines a Highway Patrol Vehicle for the year 2025, the Ener-G-Force proposed driveline consists of four wheel-mounted hydrogen-powered electric motors. Water held in containers on the roof and a so-called Hydro-Tech Converter provide electricity stored in batteries within the concept car's broad sills, which also act as tread plates. Mercedes-Benz projects a range of up to 800 kilometres.

Also included is an off-road application of Mercedes-Benz's new magic ride system called Terra Scan. It uses a camera to detect the surrounding terrain and alter the spring, damper and traction control parameters accordingly in a process aimed at providing optimal levels of traction, both on- and off-road.

Topics:  cars cars news mercedes-benz motoring

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Students fire questions at Mr Trump

YOUR TRUMPED: Noosa District High Year 11 social and community studies students put the hard question to a man who would be president.

Noosa High has a shot at US politics

Community rallying after teen's shock diagnosis

IN OUR HEARTS: Marcus Maxwell-Jones desperately needs a kidney transplant at just 16.

A 16-year-old boy has been diagnosed with end stage kidney disease

Call for sign of smart planning

SIGN CALL: Tiffany, Ron and Marcus Logan run a local industrial estate business and want a more flexible approach to council signage regulations.

Signage needs to be 'flexible'

Local Partners

Coast arts website strikes a chord in Germany

Rene Bahloo, Jandamarra and Nunyara Cadd with Christine Nabobbob at the official opening of the Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2016 at Caloundra Regional Gallery. P

How a little-known website has boosted Sunshine Coast tourism

Steve Irwin's final days through dad's eyes

Bob Irwin with his son Steve.

'You never expect that’s the last time you’re going to see your son'

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Woolies announces closure of Ipswich store

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June