The F015 Luxury in Motion concept is Mercedes-Benz’s vision for an autonomous car at the luxury end of the market, an S-Class of the future that will have chauffeurs feeling nervous about long-term employment prospects.
It is a concept car in the truest sense and a radical design that embraces and exploits new technology in its powertrain, construction and, most importantly, the interior design and layout to rethink how we’ll use a car when we’re not concerning ourselves with driving it.
Indeed, as Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche himself said at the F015’s unveiling earlier this year: “Anyone who focuses solely on the technology has not yet grasped how autonomous driving will change our society. The car is growing beyond its role as a mere means of transport and will ultimately become a mobile living space.”
To give an idea of its size, the F015 is slightly shorter than a long-wheelbase S-Class, but is a fair bit wider and also a touch taller. But the most radical difference is in the proportions; the F015 is a vast, streamlined monobox design instead of the three-box silhouette of an S-Class, all designed to maximise space in an interior that is all about being lounge-like rather than a cocooning driver’s car.
The F015 can be such a shape as there is no conventional engine in the bonnet, so the overhangs are ultra-short and the front and rear windscreens upright, allowing the bulk of the car’s footprint to be taken up with cabin space thanks to the 3610mm-long wheelbase, which is some 445mm longer than that of an S-Class LWB.
It’s only really recognisable as a Mercedes-Benz from the outside by the shape of the front grille and the three-pointed star in the middle of it, again living up to its out-there concept car brief. But the most interesting part of this car is not as a purveyor of some future exterior design language, but that interior.