Mercedes-Benz Icon E Concept: The classic W115 sedan reimagined by David Obendorfer

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The Mercedes-Benz W115 is one of the most recognizable sedans of the German brand. To honor that icon, the designer David Obendorfer presented the (digital) Icon E Concept, which combines modernity and past as a tribute to the ancestor of the E-Class.

Although the styling  is reminiscent of the W115 model, the mechanical part is based on the latest E-Class. Obendorfer reports that length, width, height and wheelbase are practically unchanged. The Icon E Concept was imagined as a totally new vehicle both inside and outside, and recovers some design elements characteristics of the W115. The designer refers to this car as a ‘modest’ luxury version inspired by the E-Class of the 1960s.

The Mercedes-Benz W114 and W115 models were built from 1968 to 1976, with the design signed by Paul Bracq. The W114 featured V6 engines, while the W115 used four-cylinder engines. The bodywork was the same for both, and they were a novelty not only for the engines, but also for the use of a new modern chassis since the postwar period. Positioned in the E segment, their elegance and reliability turned them into timeless icons.

Therefore, when imagining the Icon E Concept, some of the most recognizable elements of the W115 have been incorporated into the current Mercedes-Benz design language. We find the large chrome front grille and of course, the characteristic vertical headlights. The chrome dominates the style of the car, as in the original, which gives it an air of elegance that takes us back to the past.

The rear of the car also follows the master lines of the car by which it is inspired, but with slight differences, such as larger tallights and slightly higher than in the original.

The interior of this Mercedes Icon E Concept is quite refined because the designer has decided to include very few decorative elements. The steering wheel is a direct reference to the classic Mercedes style with the metal insert while the dashboard looks really minimalist with just one large digital display. Luxury, of course, is still present, with a harmonious chromatic range that can echo the exterior color.

In the words of David Obendorfer, this concept is also a tribute to Paul Bracq, responsible for the original ‘W115’ E-Class design. The designer does not forget Bruno Sacco, head of the same department, from 1975 to 1999, also extending the tribute to him.

In any case, Mercedes-Benz Icon E Concept differs radically from an E-Class, but the most interesting aspect of Obendorfer’s design is that it shows that a tribute version of the W115 is perfectly viable, and interesting as well. Of course, to do it would require money and a good coachman capable of giving life to the Icon E Concept. It would be worth the effort.