Mercedes, once the standard-bearer for the traditional three-box sedan, has been slowly phasing them out of its lineup for more swoopy sedans. And that’s intentional, says Gorden Wagener, the automaker’s head of design.
“Aero is one. Secondly, with a six-inch battery pack a three-box sedan simply doesn’t look good, it looks shit. You have to do something that visually digests the height,” Wagener told the outlet. “That’s why we came up with that bold design with the EQ models because it looks stretched, it looks stylish. So that [electrification] will change the proportions of cars.”
The new Mercedes-AMG EQS (photo credits Stefan Baldauf / Guido ten Brink for CarScoops)The seeming ascendency of EVs and the move towards ever more technologically advanced vehicles will also have wider implications, he said. Designers’ mood boards may have to rid themselves of the aggressive animals of old in favor of more techy design inspirations.
“What you see with electrification is that the grille is moving away. All these new startups, they don’t have a grille—they’re faceless front ends, a bit anonymous,” said Wagener. “They’re all very much alike. Do they look aggressive? No. They want to look more like a supercomputer on wheels.”
That said, no matter how futuristic cars start looking, humans will also want to see faces in things, so the move may never be complete.
The Mercedes-Maybach EQS SUV concept that debuted at the Munich Motor Show this week“However, you do need a certain amount of wedge in the headlights, and so on,” said Wagener. “It’s a lot of physiognomics, you know—facial expressions, or body sculpture in the car that makes it similar to humans. And that’s something that doesn’t change.”
All of which excites Wagener, rather than scaring him. He does not mourn the passing of the three-box design.
“I always like it when there’s something more futuristic coming. That’s why electrification is a great chance to change stuff, and change is always good.”
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