Car design among mainstream manufacturers is unlikely to fundamentally alter, even with advances such as in-wheel electric motors, according to Mercedes' head of design Gorden Wagener.
It has been suggested that advancing battery technology and the packaging of motors in tighter spaces could radically alter how cars look, in particular at the front end. However, Wagener cautioned that such a change would be unlikely even when technology makes it possible.
“Classic proportions will remain classic,” he said. “For Mercedes, I think the rear-wheel drive look of a long bonnet, a cabin hunched over the rear wheels and so on defines us. It is key to our brand and something I think that we would want to keep.”
Wagener also admitted he couldn’t imagine a Mercedes that wasn’t sold with a steering wheel, despite advances in autonomous driving technology.
“I can’t imagine why we’d want to remove the pleasure of driving and ownership,” he said. “Once the steering wheel is gone you might as well take the train. Autonomous functions should only be there for the times they can make life better. At other times, Mercedes drivers will want to drive.”