What would the automotive world be without its concepts, design studies and research cars? Truth is, without the need to innovate and the desire to change the game we would be still driving today vehicles like the Benz Patent Motor Car developed by Carl Benz in 1885. That’s why we browsed through the archives and compiled a list of the most influential concepts ever designed by Mercedes-Benz.
Some of them were jumped on by critics, while some of them were acclaimed for their ambition and level of innovation added to the automotive industry. Whether they materialised or not into a production model, the concepts developed by the engineers and designers working for Mercedes-Benz had a vital role in the brand’s development until this day, as many new features introduced by these research cars are used today as standard equipment on a wide range of production models.
Research is a motor of progress. This is the principle that motivated Carl Benz to design his famous Patent Motor Car back in 1886. Since then, Mercedes went to the path of innovation and has presented on a regular basis exciting research vehicles, design studies and concepts which change the car industry.
Mercedes-Benz is a technology, design and innovation trendsetter in the car industry.
The research vehicles and the design studies create trends and development directions which were followed by other carmakers.
Since 1969, with C111, Mercedes has started to test different propulsion systems. And Mercedes has a leading role in research of new propulsion systems. Concept BlueZero became B-Class F-Cell and F125! demonstrate that hydrogen is the best and the most clean source of energy for the future. On the other side, Mercedes show that there is a future for big saloons also. Vision S 500 Plug-In Hybrid clearly show that a luxury saloon could be very economical and need only 3 l for 100 km.
In 1978, Mercedes has presented the first research car, named Auto 2000 followed by NAFA in 1981. NAFA was not itself a spectacular concept but opened the path to the small and compact Mercedes-Benz cars of the future. NAFA is the real ancestor of the smart and A-Class.
Another line-up of research cars start in 1991 with F 100, where F came from the german word forschung (research).
In the beginning of ’90, Mercedes has started to present concept cars which are near production, ready to drive vehicles studies. The examples are Studie A transformed in A-Class, Vision GST, GST 2 and Vision R which became R-Class, Vision B is the forerunner of B-Class, Vision CLS previewed the well-known trendsetter CLS which inaugurated a new car segment and Concept Shooting Brake opened a new niche. And the list can be completed with the three concept cars which change the perception of the premium compact class: Concept A-Class, Concept Coupe Style and GLA Concept SUV.
This year, Concept Coupe SUV define the first SUV coupe from Mercedes history which we will see next year under the name GLE Coupe after the new name logistic adopted by Mercedes.
And Mercedes G-Code concept car presented in China also this year, give a first glimpse about a future small brother of GLA.
All these concept cars have a double role. They launched new technologies which were introduced in series production on future models and with their design philosophy they opened new segments. This is the case of Studie A, Vision CLS, Concept Shooting Brake or Concept Style Coupe.
Since we are talking about a quite long list of concepts, we wanted to make things easier for you and sort them out. For that, we arranged the concepts on a chronological timeline which connects the past to the present time.
Each concept received a separate, fully-dedicated article on MercedesBlog.com in the last few weeks and you will be able to access any particular article about each concept in the list by clicking on the desired concept’s name. Without any further comments, here are the most important concepts ever commisioned by Mercedes-Benz:
1969 – Mercedes-Benz C 111
1981 – Mercedes-Benz Auto 2000
1991 – Mercedes-Benz C 112
1991 – Mercedes F 100
1993 – Mercedes-Benz Coupe Concept (went into production as the 1997 CLK Coupe)
1993 – Mercedes-Benz Vision A 93 and Mercedes Studie A (went into production as the 1997 A-Class)
1994 – Eco-Sprinter and Eco-Speedster (went into production as the 1998 smart fortwo)
1994 – Mercedes-Benz SLK Concept I & II (went into production as the 1996 SLK)
1996 – Mercedes-Benz AA Vision (went into production as the 1997 M-Class)
1996 – Mercedes-Benz F 200
1997 – Maybach Concept (went into production as the 2002 Maybach)
1997 – Mercedes-Benz F 300 Life Jet
1999 – Mercedes-Benz Vision SLR (went into production as the 2003 Mercedes SLR McLaren)
2000 – Mercedes Vision SLA Roadster
2001 – Mercedes F 400 Carving
2002 – Mercedes Vision GST
2003 – Mercedes-Benz F 500 Mind
2004- Mercedes-Benz Vision R
2004 – Mercedes Vision GST 2 (went into production as the 2004 Mercedes R-Class, along with the 2002 Vision GST concept and Vision R)
2004 – Mercedes-Benz Vision B (went into production as the 2005 B-Class)
2005 – Maybach Exelero
2005 – Mercedes-Benz F 600 Hygenius
2005 – Mercedes-Benz Bionic Car
2007 – Mercedes Concept Ocean Drive
2007 – Mercedes-Benz F 700
2008 – Mercedes Vision GLK Freeside (went into production as the 2008 Mercedes GLK)
2009 – Mercedes Vision S 500 Plug-In (went into production as the 2014 Mecedes S 500 Plug-In Hybrid)
2010 – Mercedes Concept Shooting Brake (went into production as the 2012 CLS Shooting Brake)
2010 – Mercedes-Benz F 800 Style
2011 – Mercedes Concept A-Class (went into production as the 2012 A-Class)
2011 – Mercedes-Benz F 125!
2012 – Mercedes Concept Style Coupe (went into production as the 2013 Mercedes CLA)
2013 – Mercedes Concept GLA (went into production as the 2014 Mercedes GLA)
2014 – Mercedes Concept Coupe SUV (will go into production as the 2015 Mercedes MLC, final name Mercedes GLE Coupe)
2014 – Mercedes G-Code (might go into production, according to rumours, as the 2018 Mercedes X-Class)
2014 – Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo (virtual concept car)