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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - G-Code

Audi Q1-fighting baby Benz G-Code SUV revealed

Code blue: The G-Code is powered by a hybrid system that combines a turbocharged hydrogen combustion engine for the front axle and an electric motor that drives the rear wheels.

Mercedes has revealed its G-Code SUV concept that could rival Audi’s proposed Q1

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Mercedes-Benz logo4 Nov 2014

By RICHARD BERRY

MERCEDES-BENZ has unveiled its G-Code hydrogen-powered crossover concept with electricity producing paint at the opening of its new Chinese research and development facility in Beijing.

The G-Code – which is 317mm shorter and 96mm wider than the Benz's current baby SUV the GLA-Class – is a concept for now, but it it gets the green light for production, it will face off with Audi’s recently announced Q1 sub-compact SUV that is due to arrive in 2016.

The G-Code is a vehicle study by the brand’s Advanced Design Centres in Beijing, China and Sindelfingen, Germany with an aim to create an SUV concept with a focus on Chinese trends, drawing inspiration from digital-centric lifestyles of Asian youth culture.

A large twin-blade backlit grille adorned with an oversized three-pointed star dominates the G-Code’s face, while “G-shaped” LED headlights sit above massive air-intakes moulded into the bumper.

Coupe lines, a wraparound-look glass cockpit and muscular arches housing 21-inch aluminum wheels complete the side profile, while an LED strip runs across the hatch’s tailgate to the rear guards for indicators and brake lights.

“Multi-voltaic” paint has been used on the body which acts like a solar cell, generating electricity from sunlight, while also producing electrostatic energy as wind passes over the surface.

The four doors open coach style revealing a minimalist cockpit with 2+2 seating. An aviation style steering wheel automatically folds out of the dash, so does a large display for navigation and smartphone connectivity.

Speaking at the opening of the Beijing facility Daimler AG head of design Gorden Wagener said Benz’s design language is interpreted in the concept.

“The G-Code is both beautiful and intelligent, and interprets our typical Mercedes coupe design idiom,” he said.

Powering the baby SUV is a hybrid system combining a turbocharged hydrogen combustion engine for the front axle and an electric motor that drives the rear wheels.

A “digital prop shaft” lets the driver switch between front or rear drive and all-wheel drive and the transmission is a dual-clutch unit.

Other standout innovations include electricity generation though damper and spring movement, while oxygen produced from hydrogen synthesis is used to provide fresh air for the cabin.

Cameras which slide out of the roof panel do away with rear-vision mirrors, while two collapsible electric scooters are housed under the cargo floor.

Mercedes-Benz Australia senior manager of public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy told GoAuto that while concepts sometimes showcase ambitious technology and design, many elements of the G-Code could make it into production.

“You’ve got to remember that even the original M-Class was a design study,” he said.

“Every designer has to work within limits and a car for production is quite different from a design study. But you’ll always find features from the design study that make it into production.

“Whether the G-Code makes it into production or not – I don’t know, but there will be things from it which will appear in other models.”

Next year Mercedes-Benz will ramp up its SUV range with the arrival of a face-lifted M-Class range including a coupe version, plus a revised GL. The new-generation GLK mid-sizer is also set make its way to Australia, after the current model was a non-starter thanks to left-hand drive only production.

It’s also reported that Benz is planning to change the naming of its SUV range to reflect its sedan line-up with the ML, for example, becoming GLE.

The G-Code concept is expected to debut at the Los Angeles motor show later this month.

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