USA TODAY US Edition
Mercedes streamlines its concept car,
IAA switches from ‘design mode’ to ‘aerodynamic mode’
For sheer beauty, there’s no beating MercedesBenz’s Concept IAA.
The goal was to create the most stunning and aerodynamic car possible. The four-door coupe was thus given a super-low coefficient of drag — and made even more slick by a trick up its fender.
The trick is at about 50 miles per hour, it converts from its “design mode,” which is basically looking its best, to “aerodynamic mode,” in which it becomes as windswept as possible.
To do it, the rear extends, adding to the car’s length to improve airflow. Flaps extend around the front bumper. There are active rims in the wheels to change their look and a louver in the front bumper moves to the rear.
“Concept IAA applies intelligent innovations to resolve the conflicting aims of functionality and aesthetics and shows that we still have plenty of ideas on how to achieve further improvements in efficiency,” Thomas Weber, head of research on the Daimler Board of Management, said in a statement.
Daimler chairman and Mercedes chief Dieter Zetsche said at the Frankfurt Motor Show that the “Concept IAA” only took 10 months to develop — down from 18 months, typically — because “digitization” was “speeding up the entire value chain.”
During his presentation Tuesday in a cavernous exhibition hall fitted out in muted gray and black tones, he said that rapid advances in technology were even allowing carmakers to surpass Moore’s Law — the observation that computing power doubles approximately every two years.
Zetsche’s address was preceded by a rousing performance from a DJ, saxophone player and dancers.
In a sign of Mercedes’ heavyweight status here, the press conference lasted 45 minutes. Others at the show lasted about 15 minutes.
Remarking on Mercedes’ new range of Cabriolet convertibles, Zetsche said: “The last time we had a convertible like this, I was still at university.”