At the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the Mercedes Concept IAA to preview its future production models. IAA stands for Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile, reflecting the car’s radical design that takes the science of aerodynamics to new lengths.
Believe it or not but the Concept IAA can actually changes its physical shape based on speed in order to move through the air as efficiently as possible. At 50 mph (80 km/h), it automatically deploys several flaps installed in the front bumper and extends eight segments at its rear, increasing in overall length by 390mm. Even the wheels change shape to cut through the wind.
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At lower speeds, the Concept IAA remains in “design mode,” closely resembling a normal four-door coupe rather than an outwardly sci-fi vehicle.
The interior is visually less farfetched than the exterior and is said to preview the future design direction of the next-gen S-Class. It boasts new Optical Finger Navigation (OFN) buttons on the steering wheel that, similar to the central touchpad used in Mercedes-Benz’s current vehicles, rely on a touchpad rather than the physical button to interact with the vehicle’s controls. The left side of the steering wheel controls the left-hand side display, while the right set controls the LCD screen closest to the passenger.
Powering the Mercedes Concept IAA is a gas-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain that generates a combined output 279 horsepower. It can achieve an all-electric driving range of around 40 miles (64 km) and returns 194mpg in aerodynamic mode.
According to the German automaker, efficiency gains are most pronounced in highway driving because the aero tweaks don’t help much at lower city speeds.
“Captivatingly sporty lines, fascinating technical solutions: the ‘Concept IAA’ symbolizes the emotional core of Mercedes-Benz: The best or nothing,” Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales, said in a statement. “It shows in a host of details what our customers can look forward to in future production models,” said.
Expect elements of the radical Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA to make their way into future Mercedes vehicles, especially the next CLS and S-Class.