After the quadruplet of supercars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and McLaren dominated the first half of 2013, the most dynamic and wild car release came from Mercedes-Benz at the New York Auto Show. In conjunction with the video game Gran Turismo 6, M-B created a stunning concept specifically for the game, sporting a smoothly stretched-out body that looked like it would stick to a track even if it were racing upside down.
Being that it was literally a video game car, there was unfortunately little expectation that it could ever hit production (despite it having a real 585 hp twin-turbo V8 under the hood). And although there is an independent enthusiast trying to build some, the public might actually see pieces of the AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept in another form: future M-B sports cars. We briefly spoke to Hubert Lee, Team Manager at Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of North America in Carlsbad, Calif., to get the scoop.
How did this idea come about?
It was Polyphony that contacted us first, and their idea was to do these concept cars, crazy cars for the new game to celebrate the 15 years of Gran Turismo. So, as a brand, as a company, that’s a great idea. Let’s do something cool and have fun with it, that was the whole start up. The exposure in the game is immense. The game will promote the car itself, so we don’t have to do anything. We all got really excited about the project, because it was a design competition within the design department in Germany and us in California. This is what we ended up with.
What was the evolution of the car?
For the game we wanted to do a racecar or supercar of some sort, but there was a criteria within the company. Our VP of design wanted something really clean and pure, so that was our task. The approach we took was clean and simple, less is more, no gimmicks, no crazy intakes and diffusers everywhere, just try to keep the car pure. So pure, actually, that we wanted to be inspired by pure geometric form like cylinders and spheres.
You can see it in the car. The fenders were inspired by the sphere, like a chrome sphere, being blended into this body that is this long fuselage. But it’s the fenders and the wheels that really make the car. We wanted the curvature that comes off the fenders to continue into the wheel design. That’s why the wheels are bulging out like that. They’re big.
We also wanted the fenders to be higher than the actual body, so that’s why you see this extreme proportion. So, basically, using extreme proportion, long nose, short deck, dropping rear, classic Mercedes sports car proportion, and pure geometric form. That was the whole car.
What Mercedes classics were you using for inspiration?
We have a rich racing heritage. The SLRs, the Silver Arrows from the ‘50s, there was a lot of traditional things that you could look at. But at the same time, we wanted to create something really modern and create a new form language for Mercedes-Benz supercars in the future. It was also a little bit of an experimental design exercise to show the world that Mercedes-Benz design language is going to be going in a new direction for our sports cars.
What direction is that?
It's what you see right now.
How did the rear come about with those eight exhaust pipes?
This being a car for a car enthusiast, it’s all about speed. It has the twin-turbo V8 in there, so we wanted to figure out a way to express that more in the design. How can we express a true car-loving V8 big block? And the best way was to put more exhaust tips. First we had six and we’re like, “no, we should have more,” so we put eight in there. But at the same time, we wanted to create something unique for the rear end. Using the exhaust tips and the light bar and integrating those into the car was the whole task. I think it came out pretty nice. The rear is interesting, I have to say.