Mercedes-Benz is unveiling the EQ Silver Arrow show car at Monterey Car Week, the annual event in California that attracts car aficionados and collectors from all over the world. The one-seater EQ Silver Arrow is an homage to the successful record-breaking W 125 car from 1937. The Alubeam Silver paintwork is reminiscent of the historic Silver Arrows which, for weight reasons, did not have a white paint layer. The interior is adorned with traditional, high-quality materials such as genuine leather, brushed aluminum and solid walnut. The highly-futuristic digital cockpit includes a curved panoramic screen that projects from behind and a touchscreen integrated into the steering wheel.
“Over 80 years ago, the historic Silver Arrows demonstrated that Mercedes-Benz was a pioneer when it came to speed, thanks, among other things, to their streamlined shape,” says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Daimler AG. “The EQ Silver Arrow show car draws on that legacy. Intended for acceleration and driving pleasure, it embodies progressive luxury and provides an insight into the future of our design. As a result, the show car drives the design idiom of our new EQ product and technology brand to the top.”
The EQ brand is shaped by the avant-garde, distinct aesthetic of Progressive Luxury, which arises from the combination of a previously unknown beauty, the conscious clash of digital and analogue elements, as well as the seamless merging of intuitive and physical design.
The Exterior: Sporty Silhouette
With its clear, seamless design idiom, the EQ Silver Arrow is a brand-specific embodiment of the Sensual Purity design philosophy. The streamlined silhouette of the 5.3-meter long and one-meter shallow one-seater vehicle is slender yet sensuous.
The show car’s body structure is made of carbon fiber. The multiple layers of paintwork in Alubeam Silver appear like liquid metal on the surface, representing the polar opposites of design: hot and cold. Functional attachment parts made of carbon fiber such as the front splitter epitomize the cool and rational aspect of the philosophy. The same applies to the front trim designed as a display, including the continuous lighting strip. The side skirts also feature a lighting strip and the large, recessed EQ lettering in front of the rear wheels is illuminated in blue, as is characteristic of the EQ brand.
Other highlights include the driver’s cockpit, which can be folded forwards, and the partially free-standing multi-spoke wheels. The non-rotating hub caps and the partial trim on the wheels are other stylish highlights. The 168 spokes per wheel are made of lightweight aluminum and painted a rose gold color, which is also a signature of the EQ brand.
Offering exceptional traction and correspondingly fast acceleration, the EQ Silver Arrow has slick 255/25 R 24 tires at the front and 305/25 R 26 tires at the rear. Attesting the attention to detail, tire partner Pirelli embossed a star pattern on the tread.
The rear diffuser is reminiscent of motorsports with two extendible rear spoilers that act as an air brake by increasing the wind resistance when deceleration is desired.
Interior: Between Tradition and Modernity
The interior of the EQ Silver Arrow represents the values of Progressive Luxury with a design idiom that combines timeless aesthetic appeal with a futuristic vision.
When the driver’s cockpit is folded forward, it provides a view of the surprisingly wide interior. A contrast brings it to life: on the one hand, it uses traditional, high-quality materials. These include Saddle Brown genuine leather on the seat and steering wheel, brushed aluminum throughout the interior and solid walnut with darker coniferous wood pinstripes on the floor. A bridge is formed between the EQ Silver Arrow and its historic racing predecessors. On the other hand, modern, high-tech solutions such as the large projection surface for the panoramic screen and innovative user experience solutions such as the virtual race option represent the EQ’s visionary character. The overall contrast is the intentional merger of past and future.
The seat surface and backrest have a unique pattern aligned with the seat contour; stars are etched with laser engraving. AIRSCARF neck-level heating is integrated into the seat. A four-point seatbelt inspired by motorsports holds the driver securely in place. The pedals can be adapted to the driver’s specific stature, with a controller located on the seat for adjusting the pedals.
To match the exterior paint finish in Alubeam Silver, the side walls of the interior are covered in a luxurious, grey suede.
Double Screen and Virtual Racing
The driver of the EQ Silver Arrow is encompassed by a large panoramic screen on which a 3D image of the surroundings is projected from behind. As an indicator of future possible charging technologies, the lane of the roadway on which inductive charging is possible is superimposed onto the screen.
With the help of artificial intelligence, it is possible to engage in a virtual race against historic or present Silver Arrow racing cars. A virtual racetrack is superimposed onto the real roadway via the panoramic screen and the driver sees their opponent either ahead of them or behind them as a “ghost.” The Virtual Race Coach assistance function helps one improve driving skills by giving instructions during the race.
The driver can use the touchscreen on the steering wheel to select programs such as Comfort, Sport and Sport+, which offer different driving characteristics. Sound settings can also be configured here: choices include the sound of a current Formula 1 Silver Arrow or a Mercedes-AMG V8 engine.
Emission-Free Drive System
The EQ Silver Arrow is conceived as an electric vehicle with an output of 738 hp. The thin rechargeable battery in the underbody has a useable capacity of approximately 80 kWh and enables an approximate range of over 250 mph. Side air vents help to cool the battery.
The EQ Concept Vehicles: Outlook for Electric Cars in all Segments
At the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz demonstrated how the EQ strategy can be translated to the compact class with the introduction of the Concept EQA. Featuring one electric motor on the front axle and one at the rear, this electric athlete has a system output of over 268 hp. The drive characteristics can be altered by varying the permanent all-wheel drive’s front to rear torque distribution. The Concept EQA then displays which drive program has been selected on a unique virtual radiator grille.
smart also presented the smart vision EQ fortwo at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show – an electric and autonomous vision for highly efficient and flexible local public transport. Autonomous and electric-powered, the smart vision EQ presents a consistent concept for the future of urban mobility and the future of car sharing. The vehicle picks up its passengers directly from their chosen location and has no steering wheel or pedals.
The Concept EQ, unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, heralded the new EQ product and technology brand – a concept vehicle with the aesthetic of a sporty SUV coupe that pre-empted many elements of the Mercedes-Benz EQC.
The Inspiration: The World Record-Breaking Vehicle from 1937
The role model for the EQ Silver Arrow is the W 125 twelve-cylinder, record-breaking car built by Mercedes-Benz in 1937 as a Grand Prix racing car.
For the W 125’s new body in 1937, Mercedes-Benz was greatly inspired by the aviation industry. Examples include the recommendation from the development departments of the aircraft factories of Ernst Heinkel and Willy Messerschmitt to shorten the front overhang and to make the front rounderd. The front was also extended further down and the tip veered off at a steeper angle. As desired, this reduced lift on the front axle. A longer and more robustly raised rear reduced lift on the rear axle. One striking feature and inspiration for the designers of the EQ Silver Arrow was the round cockpit glazing, which was modeled on a drop of water for its outline and cross-section.
Rudolf Caracciola achieved 432.7 km/h (268.9 mph) on the A5 autobahn with the W 125 between Frankfurt and Darmstadt based on the average speed travelling there and back. This speed remained the record on public roads until November 2017.