Could the Mercedes Vision One-Eleven concept be the electric successor to the AMG GT?

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Mercedes is already thinking about the sports car of the future and has developed a concept based on the retro design of the experimental Mercedes C 111 models from the 1960s and 70s. Called the Mercedes Vision One-Eleven, it is powered by a Yasa axial-flow engine.

Photo: Mercedes-Benz

Unlike BMW, Mercedes has always wanted a supercar at the top of its model range. There was the Mercedes 300 SL, then the Mercedes SLR McLaren, the Mercedes SLS AMG, the AMG GT, and most recently the AMG One.

Mercedes C111 experimental vehicles with Wankel and diesel engines

In 1969, Mercedes introduced the first version of the experimental C111 with a fiberglass body and centrally mounted three-rotor direct-injection Wankel engine. In 1970 an evolution of the C111 with a four-rotor Wankel engine was presented. 13 experimental Wankel engine models were produced.

Mercedes later dropped the Wankel engine and adopted a diesel engine. The first diesel prototype had 188 hp and the second 228 hp, with which the Mercedes C111 broke the speed record on the Nardo circuit with 322 km/h. Eventually, a one-off was also produced with a 4.8 liter 507 PS (500 HP) V8 petrol engine.

In 1991, Mercedes unveiled the C112 concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show with a 6-liter V12 engine with 408 hp, mid-mounted, and gullwing doors. Although it received 700 orders, Mercedes never produced it.

Now Mercedes is trying to revive the experimental C111 with a modern interpretation of a possible electric successor to the Mercedes-AMG GT.

Mercedes C111

First attempt of an electric sports car: Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive

Mercedes has tried once before to launch an electric sports car. It was first the Mercedes SLS AMG E-Cell concept shown at the Detroit Motor Show in 2011 powered by four electric motors with a total output of 533 PS (526 HP). The 400V battery had a capacity of 48 kWh.

Later, at the Paris Motor Show in the fall of 2012, Mercedes unveiled the production version of the SLS AMG Electric Drive powered by four electric motors with a total output of 751 PS (740 HP). The 60 kWh battery weighed 548 kg (1,208 lb) and gave a range of 250 km (160 miles). With an exorbitant price tag of €416,500, only nine customers ordered it.

Mercedes SLS AMG Coupé Electric Drive-

New technology: YASA axial flux motors 

Now, however, electric propulsion technology has come a long way and in July 2021 Mercedes acquired British axial-flow electric motor manufacturer YASA. In axial flux motors, the electromagnetic field develops parallel to the axis of rotation, rather than perpendicular, as is the case in radial flux electric motors used in 99% of today’s electric cars.

Axial flux motors are therefore significantly more compact, lighter, and more powerful than radial flux electric motors. An axial-flow motor is three times lighter than a radial-flow motor and takes up three times less space. This opens up new perspectives in sports model design. The YASA engines will be produced at Mercedes’ Berlin-Marienfelde plant and will form the basis of all sports models used on the future AMG.EA platform.

YASA axial flow engine

Mercedes Vision One-Eleven: Gullwing doors

But now let’s come back to the Mercedes Vision One-Eleven. Like the C111, C112, or 300 SL, Mercedes has kept the gullwing doors which in this case have a much wider opening than on the 300 SL, and access is much better because the door sill is much lower. Also, the side windows of the gullwing doors are opaque from the outside and camouflaged by a pixelated pattern.

The second eye-catcher is the extremely low height of only 1,170 mm. By comparison, the Mercedes C111 was 1120 mm, 50 mm less tall, while the C112 was 1200 mm tall. Even though the copper-orange alubeam color is not identical to the C111, it reminds us of the yellow-orange hue of the C111.
In the case of the Mercedes Vision One-Eleven, the paint is more intense and changes according to the light.

The third thing that catches the eye is the extremely low and short front end and the very flared wheel arches that are higher than the front bonnet line reminding us somewhat of the VW W12 concept.

The fourth highlight is the radiator grille which is a modern interpretation of the one on the C111. On the C111 it is a closed plastic element with a honeycomb structure, fitted with round foglamps. In the case of the Mercedes Vision One-Eleven, the grille is a flexible external display with a 3D pixelated look. It interprets the C 111’s characteristic round lights in digitized form and can also convey messages to other road users.

At the rear, we find a display similar to the one at the front with the same pixelated structure integrating the taillights. But the main element is the extremely generous diffuser.

Mercedes Vision One-Eleven

Revolutionary interior with AR

Mercedes says the Vision One-Eleven is the first sports car with a lounge-like interior. As with self-driving concepts, the interior can take two forms: race mode and lounge mode. In race mode with the backrest upright and the compact driver-oriented touchscreen, the interior becomes that of a minimalist driving machine.
In lounge mode, the seats are fully integrated into the interior sculpture which merges sills, center tunnel, and luggage compartment into a single unit.

The aluminum pedals are floor-mounted and polished aluminum inserts are found in the steering wheel rim and center armrest. The seats are mounted directly on the floor and are similar to Formula 1 bucket seats with orange 4-point safety belts. But unlike Formula 1, the backrest can be adjusted.

The flattened steering wheel includes all the necessary controls and has a driver-facing display attached. Above the steering wheel is a slender pixel display that spans the entire width of the dashboard. This could be an evolution of the MBUX Hyperscreen with a focus on flexible interfaces.

Mercedes Vision One-Eleven

When the driver puts on the Magic Leap 2 augmented reality headset, their experience is enriched with high-definition digital content that is contextually integrated into the environment.
Mercedes-Benz explored the benefits of augmented reality (AR) in the F015 concept launched in 2015. The AR user interface presents a vision of the future that works on two levels: information attached to the dashboard and information placed inside and outside the car. It marks the next step from the user interface based on intuitive zero-layer technology to an AR user interface that arranges zero-layer elements around the user in space. Elements include modules, 3D icons, and navigation maps.

The 180-degree AR view shows the outside around the car. Map elements are projected into the environment, which is enriched with additional information such as places of interest or hidden hazards such as roadworks beyond a curve. Elements that block visibility – such as the front pillar, doors, or even the bonnet – then appear ‘transparent’. Mercedes-Benz designers and experts worked with the specialists at Magic Leap to develop and refine the AR experience presented in Vision One-Eleven using the highly advanced Magic Leap 2 AR glasses.