Apple design ethos inspires Mercedes-Benz

Apple design gets a nod from Mercedes Benz as it shows off its brand new SLS AMG supercar and F800 Style concept car to a select group of assembled automotive hacks – and THINQ.

Mercedes Benz has cited Apple as a major influence on its design philosophy, as the car company showed off its spanking new gull-winged, £160,000, SLS AMG supercar and its F800 Style concept car at an exclusive presentation at its Surrey showroom.

At the event, Gordon Wagener, Mercedes vice president of design, likened his car company directly to the iPad manufacturer. “Take Apple for instance. They are at the very top of design brands and the very top of computer brands - through design - and we at Mercedes also think we are a very innovative company,” he said.

Wagender also used Apple to praise the look of the 200mph vehicle. “It’s [appearance is] clean and self-assured. It’s not just a supercar, it’s the supercar. It’s the iPhone of all supercars.” Slightly ironic then the Apple’s lead designer Jonathan Ive is known to drive an Aston Martin, but we’ll let that slide.

The new SLS AMG is notable for its eye catching gull-wing doors design that, as all car buffs will know, pays homage to the Mercedes classic 1954 SLS 300, an example of which Mercedes obligingly had on show as well. A case of wanting to go Back to the Future perhaps? The immediate selling point of the SLS AMG’ is its gull wing doors, and when we saw them we immediately hunted inside for the Flux Capacitor, only to be disappointed. Instead, owners will have to make do with a 6.3 litre Supercharged V8, delivering 571hp and a 0-62 time of 3.8 seconds. For Nissan Micra owners that translates to very big, and very fast.

If it all sounds Just-Too-Tempting, (and you’ve got the required 160K loose change down the back of the sofa) you’ll be disappointed to learn that the first two year’s production allocation has already been accounted for. How fortunate then that you can drive the SLS AMG, at least in virtual form, on the forthcoming PS3 game Grand Turismo 5, with the car even appearing on the box cover.

As with all motor manufacturers these days, Mercedes has to be seen to be serious in pursuing a green agenda, and to address that it also had the futuristic and ‘green’ F800 Style concept on show. This four-door coupe mock-up is one we should see on the roads in the next five years, complete with aerodynamic tweaks and stylings.

Wagener told THINQ that the extra wide design was to accommodate both a ‘conventional’ hybrid petrol/electric powertrain and a space-age hydrogen fuel-cell design. As such the outlets at the rear were designed specifically to vent the main by-product of fuel-cell engines – water.

Finally, Wagener revealed the Mercedes Benz Style project, where the company would lend its design expertise to products other than cars. As such it had partnered with EuroCopter to create the interior of a helicopter, which presumably would go very nicely with your SLS AMG. Sketches for a powerboat, and furniture we also on show.

Could we one day then see a Mercedes designed laptop or smartphone? It would be intriguing, and at the very least would put an end to those blatant Apple comparisons.