It's one of Mercedes' most spectacular concept cars.
The Mercedes Vision AVTR Concept blew us away when it was unveiled earlier this year. It looks otherworldly, which is appropriate since it was inspired by the film Avatar which takes place on the fictional exoplanetary moon known as Pandora. AVTR also stands for Advanced Vehicle Transformation, and the technology inside (and outside) the Vision AVTR lives up to that description.
In a new video, Mercedes shares some of the innovations that have been incorporated into the AVTR's design. TV host Felix Smith also got the opportunity to take the concept for a drive, if it can be described as driving at all considering that there are no pedals and no steering wheel, unlike the latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
"We wanted to create a vehicle that is not alien to its environment, that is almost a part of the ecosystem of the environment," explained Gorden Wagener, Daimler's Chief Design Officer.
Wagener goes on to point out the various recycled materials used inside, but that's not what first captures your attention - it's the absence of a steering wheel. Instead, a central pulsating control unit is used to steer and power the AVTR, which can also move sideways by up to 30 degrees, giving it a distinct "crab movement."
While Mercedes immediately conjures up images of luxury vehicles like the flagship S-Class and fire-breathing Mercedes-AMG E63 Sedan, Wagener says that he sees the company as not merely a car brand, but a leading luxury brand that can be fused with other industries like entertainment.
On the road, the AVTR's sideways movements are unlike anything else with four wheels and, because of the position of the central controller, the passenger can easily take over driving duties. This all happens in silence, of course, thanks to the AVTR's fully electric drivetrain with a total power output of 469 horsepower.
Back outside, designer Alexander Dang details one of the AVTR's most notable exterior features - a series of 33 "bionic flaps" on the back that are movable in multiple directions. They give the car a uniquely expressive look, have aerodynamic benefits, and change their movements based on braking and other driver actions.
The rounded lines remind of the stunning Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS, but the AVTR is even more dramatic. For Dang, the AVTR's design began with a few sketches when the team watched the film together as a source of inspiration.
Undoubtedly one of Mercedes' most impressive concepts, it remains to be seen how many of the Vision AVTR Concept's innovations filter through to the brand's production models.