Mercedes-Benz One-Eleven Concept: the design

Concept Cars 12 Feb 2024

Inspired by the iconic C 111 experimental vehicles from the 1960s and 70s, the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven Concept combines a highly dynamic design language with innovative all-electric powertrain technology.


Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Design Sketch Render

The One-Eleven Concept takes inspiration from the series of C 111 experimental vehicles from the 60s and the 70s. which were used to test revolutionary Wankel and turbodiesel engines.

1970 Mercedes-Benz C 111 Experimental Vehicles

1970 Mercedes-Benz C 111 Experimental Vehicles

They were also prototypes for testing polymer-based bodyshells. The mid-engine sports cars are considered design icons of their era, not least due to their distinctive gullwing doors and eye-catching orange-and-black paintwork.

From the official Press Release:

Exterior Design

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Design Sketch Render

The body of the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven centres on the execution of the One-Bow design. From the low-slung front end to the muscular hind quarters, it runs in a smooth bow that endows the just 1,170 mm-high vehicle silhouette with an extremely sculptural feel.

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Design Sketch Render

This harmonises  with the copper-orange alubeam paintwork and provides an unmistakeable reference to the distinctive colour of the C 111.

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Exterior Design

Further notable features of the side view include the flush-fit gullwing doors and the side windows, which are opaque from the outside and camouflaged by a pixelated pattern.

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Design Detail Wheel and Pattern

Another is the large-diameter wheels inserted seamlessly into the wheel arches beneath voluminous flared wings. The wheel design incorporates elements evocative of electric motor windings.

They stand in spirited contrast to the vehicle’s minimalist and smooth surface design, which is more akin to a sculptural art piece. This contrast is typical of the X-factors the brand applies to its design thinking and a distinctive feature of the Vision One-Eleven.

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Exterior Design

Another striking contrast arises through the very low-slung front and rear skirts finished in matte black. The two deeply scooped aerodynamic elements are visually connected by two blade profiles in the same colour running along the flanks beneath the sills.

These profiles feature piercings that are backlit in blue. The functional aerodynamic elements also serve as a further design reference to the C 111, which is painted black on the lower portion of its bodyshell.

The dark “keel line” of the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven generates an impression of seamless transition between the vehicle and the ground beneath it that is even more powerful than that of the C 111. The form of the car appears fused with the road surface.

The front-end design

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Exterior Design

From the frontal aspect, too, the  Vision One-Eleven is  evocative of the C 111. In detail, however, there are  differences.

1970 Mercedes-Benz C 111 II with four rotor Wankel engine

On both vehicles the front end consists of a low-lying rectangular element with rounded ends left and right. On the C 111, this is a closed plastic element with a honeycomb structure, fitted with round foglamps.

In the corresponding part on the Vision One-Eleven the panel is a flexible external display with a 3D pixelated look, which interprets the C 111’s characteristic round lights in digitised form and can also convey messages to other road users.

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Design Detail Headlight

In contrast to the C 111, the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven bears a U-shaped and strongly profiled front apron. Above the slender light band, both forefather and descendant show further similarities, most notably the black air intakes on the bonnet.

The rear-end design

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Exterior Design

The rear-end of the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven is likewise dominated by a diffuser. Spanning the breadth above it is a display that echoes the shape of its counterpart at the front end and features the same pixelated structure in the red taillights. Similar to the blade profiles along the sides, blue lighting effects are also visible at the rear. The inner face of the wheels is fitted with circular lighting elements.

Interior design

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Interior

Inside, the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven presents the first sports car interior with a lounge concept. It reflects the paradigm shift from self-driven sports car to autonomous electric vehicle within the super sportscar segment and unites two completely different states of being.

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Interior Design Sketch Render

In race mode with the backrest upright and the compact driver-oriented touchscreen, the interior becomes that of a minimalist driving machine. Conversely, in lounge mode, the seats are fully integrated into the interior sculpture, which merges sills, centre tunnel and luggage compartment into a single unit.

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Interior

This creates a whole new, exceptionally airy spatial concept. In contrast to previous mid-engine sports cars, it takes advantage of the compact proportions of electric motors to extend the interior rearwards. Consequently, the lounge-like interior invites occupants to take their time and relax – a completely new approach for the sports car of the future.

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Interior Design Sketch Render

The large surfaces such as the dashboard are upholstered in white fabric displaying a tech-look honeycomb structure. The material is made from 100-percent recycled polyester. Other elements such as the armrests on the sills and centre console, as well as the rear parcel shelf beneath the expansive rear windscreen, are clad in bright orange leather. This creates a smooth transition from interior to luggage compartment. The sustainably processed leather was tanned using coffee bean husks. Polished aluminium in the steering-wheel spokes and inlaid as straps across the armrests underscore the tech look and feel. The same applies to the brake and accelerator pedals, both of which are made from polished aluminium and floor mounted.

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Interior Seat and safety belt

Otherwise, the interior equipment in the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven has been reduced to a minimum. Like the exterior, the task here too was to keep the number of add-on features to a bare minimum. The seats are good examples as they don’t follow the classic format. Instead, the seat cushions are integrated flush-fit into the floor. This creates the initial impression of the bucket seat in a Formula 1 race car. The orange four‑point harness and its high-gloss polished buckle further reinforce the sporting character.

Nevertheless, the innovative seats combine this sporting feel with luxurious comfort because, unlike in a Formula 1 race car, the angle of the backrest can be adjusted. The silver shimmer of their diamond-quilted upholstery underscores the first-class interior ambience. Between the seats is a compact centre console, freestanding in space.

Mercedes-Benz One Eleven Concept Interior Steering Wheel

The only highly complex feature in the interior is the leather-clad steering wheel, which is fitted with various functional controls and state-of-the-art touch elements. This is complemented by a compact touchscreen with high-resolution display mounted to the side of the steering wheel and angled towards the driver. It shows all relevant vehicle information as required.

UI/UX Technology

The contrast to the modern interior is provided by the slender pixel display spanning the entire breadth of the dashboard, picking up on the form of the front and rear light bands. Here too, the pixel structure is intentionally coarse, which gives the information displayed – such as the current speed – a strikingly bold appearance. Moreover, the 3D pixel display shows digital art pieces as a coarsely rasterised stream of QR codes in the style of “early digital” news tickers. This is done with the help of glass pixels that show a changing colour gradient depending on the viewing angle. The corresponding real image then appears razor sharp on the high-resolution screen next to the steering wheel.

This combination of vastly differing representations of the same image embodies a further interpretation of the MBUX Hyperscreen with a focus on flexible interfaces. The retro-futuristic, 8-bit look thus creates an additional X-factor. The development in the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven reinforces the increasing fusion of physical and digital.

For the premiere of the Vision One-Eleven, Mercedes-Benz designers have created a visionary user experience with the aid of augmented reality (AR), setting it inside a virtual prototype of the Vision One‑Eleven interior. As soon as the driver dons the Magic Leap 2 augmented reality headset, their experience is enriched with high-definition digital content that is contextually integrated into their surroundings. It creates a seamless spatial blend of physical interior and digital user interface beyond the screen. In effect, the entire car becomes the user interface.

Mercedes-Benz has been exploring the benefits of AR since the launch of the F015 concept car in 2015. The AR UI in this new car presents a vision of the future that works on two levels: the information attached to the dashboard and information placed in the environment inside and outside the car. This marks the next step from screen-based UI with Mercedes-Benz intuitive zero-layer technology to an AR UI that arranges zero‑layer elements around the user in space. Elements include modules, 3D icons and the navigation map. The control interface around the dashboard and steering wheel is also augmented with additional contextualised information attached to actual objects such as buttons or switches.

The 180-degree AR view incorporates the world outside the virtual prototype – fusing the car effortlessly with its surroundings and placing the driver at the centre. Map elements are projected into the environment, which is enriched with further information such as places of interests or hidden hazards such as roadworks beyond a bend. With this X-ray view, the system enhances situational awareness by blending out unimportant details to create an uncluttered image of relevant input. Elements that obstruct the driver’s line of sight – such as the A-pillar, doors or even the bonnet – then appear “transparent”. Mercedes-Benz designers and experts worked with the technical specialists at Magic Leap to develop and refine the AR experience showcased in the Vision One-Eleven using the highly advanced Magic Leap 2 AR glasses.

The spatial user interface is a beacon for a Mercedes-Benz user experience that is unencumbered by technology. It is part of a wider vision that looks towards extended reality, whereby technology and hardware cease to be the focal point; instead becoming fully integrated and seamless facilitators of user needs and wishes.

Electric powertrain

Technology highlights include a new battery concept featuring high-performance liquid-cooled cylindrical cells with a novel cell chemistry. Once more, the extensive knowledge of the motorsport experts from Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrain in Brixworth found its way into this promising concept for future performance-oriented batteries. Aside from that, the Vision One-Eleven features two exceptionally powerful and advanced axial-flux motors from YASA. Mercedes-Benz is developing this technology together with YASA to large scale production maturity for its next-generation electric drives. YASA is a British electric-motor specialist based in Oxford and has been a 100-percent subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz AG since July 2021. The company has thus secured access to a unique future technology that has the potential to take electric mobility to a new level of performance.

Alongside its power and torque density, another major benefit is the narrow package, which reduces both its weight and dimensions. The weight of an axial-flux motor is just one third of that of current electric motors with the same power output. At the same time, it requires just one-third of the space occupied by a radial-flux motor. This opens up completely new options for engineers as well as new freedoms in the design of an electric vehicle as demonstrated by the Vision One-Eleven.

The future generation of YASA axial-flux motors will be produced at the Mercedes-Benz Berlin-Marienfelde plant. The motors manufactured there will be at the heart of the forthcoming powertrain for the performance segment.

(Source: Mercedes-Benz)

Image Gallery

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