At the Frankfurt International Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled a new concept plug-in hybrid that emphasizes aerodynamics.
Concept IAA, short for Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile, has the ability to alter its exterior to improve the flow of air over the four-door sedan which foreshadows in dimensions and profile the third-generation CLS expected in 2017.
The for this design study change from one mode to the other can be activated by the driver, or is switched on its own when the car reaches 80 km/h (49.7 mph).
“The study … switches automatically from design mode to aerodynamic mode when the vehicle reaches a speed of 80 km/h, whereby numerous aerodynamics measures alter the shape of the vehicle,” Mercedes said.
As it transforms in motion, the Concept IAA extends a segmented tail from the rear fascia, pushes the front bumper forward and alters the shape of its active rims. In its aerodynamic form, the Concept IAA becomes 390 millimeters (15.4 inches) longer.
As a result of these alterations, the coefficient of drag reduces from the car’s normal 0.25, down to 0.19, which is “a new world record for a four-door four-seater,” said Mercedes.
Mercedes said the Concept IAA is a plug-in hybrid, but gave few details. As it stands now, the car’s gasoline-electric setup has an overall output of 279 horsepower and a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). Mercedes didn’t elaborate further on the powertrain or battery specifications.
Fuel efficiency and battery range vary depending on which mode the car is in, said Mercedes. The maximum range of 66 kilometers (41 miles) is achieved in aerodynamic mode. Switching to design mode lowers the expected range to 62 kilometers (38.5 miles). It should be noted that range estimates are based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which publishes more generous ratings that the EPA in the U.S.