CES 2020

New Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR concept car inspired by Avatar

Mercedes has created a new concept car that is otherworldly.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

A new concept car from Mercedes-Benz is inspired by the possibility of future modes of transportation as much as it's been influenced by the movie Avatar.

The Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR, revealed at CES, is a result of a partnership with the creative minds behind the movie "Avatar" and the luxury automaker. It was inspired by the world of Pandora, an inhabitable moon with a lush ecosystem where "Avatar" takes place.

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR 

Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz


The entire Vision AVTR structure is designed to be inside-out and emotional. It has a stretched "One Bow" design and organic language. Its exterior is covered in 33 "bionic flaps" that are reminiscent of reptile scales. Mercedes says that the flaps can communicate with the driver through subtle movements.

Instead of traditional controls for various functions in the cockpit and a steering wheel, the concept car has a multifunctional control element in the center console that operates by placing a hand over the control unit. A driver is recognized by their heartbeat and breathing.

By lifting their hand, the user sees a menu selection projected onto their palm. The user can then choose between functionalities. A curved display module separates the passengers from the outside world.

The car's cabin is filled with DINAMICA leather, a vegan microfiber that is sustainable throughout its entire manufacturing process. The floor is covered in Karuun, a rattan wood that grows quickly and is harvested by hand in Indonesia.

Mercedes is showing off a battery made of graphene-based organic cell chemistry in the machine. The battery is free of rare earth metals and is instead made of compostable material, which makes it completely recyclable.

The car has front and rear axles that can operate in the same or opposite direction making the vehicle able to move sideways approximately 30 degrees in the style of a crab movement.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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New performance sedan

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 on the way with F1 tech

The new C 43 gets engine tech straight from Formula 1.

Mercedes-AMG

It's about time we started considering Mercedes-AMG's 43-level cars in some of the same conversations that include the 53- and 63-level monsters. Today, Mercedes-AMG announced the 2023 C 43 Sedan. But even though it's the "entry-level" C-Class performance car, AMG gave it some serious upgrades, including standard rear-wheel steering, a mild-hybrid system, and plenty of power.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanRear-wheel steering is standard, as is adaptive suspension. Mercedes-AMG

The new turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 402 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque - up from last year's 385 ponies. It's paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, a nine-speed automatic transmission, and rear-biased all-wheel drive. Mercedes says the powertrain is strong enough to propel the C43 to 60 mph from a standstill in just 4.6 seconds.

The four-cylinder is the first production engine with an electric exhaust-gas turbocharger. The tech came directly from the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team, who won the 2021 Constructor's Championship. Where traditional turbochargers have to build boost over a short period of time, an electric motor spins the turbo to start before allowing the exhaust gases to take over. The system is driven by the car's 48-volt mild-hybrid system and should reduce turbo lag and improve responsiveness.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 43 SedanThe car's electric turbocharger is a first in a production car. Mercedes-AMG

Five driving modes are available, including Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport +, and Individual. The drive modes alter throttle and steering response, transmission shift points, exhaust sound, and settings for the adaptive dampers. Shockingly, the car comes standard with rear-wheel steering with an angle of up to 2.5 degrees. The system works at speeds of up to 37 mph, and can drastically reduce the C 43's turning radius while improving turn-in and handling.

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