For added visual effect, the grille is backlit in one of three colours – blue, purple or red – depending on the chosen driving mode. The designers have also replaced traditional exterior rear-view mirrors with two cameras mounted on retractable arms within the upper section of the A-pillars. A full-length strip of LEDs is also used at the rear, providing illumination for the indicators, tail-lamps and brake lights.
At 4100mm long, 1900mm wide and 1500mm tall, the G-Code is 317mm shorter, 96mm wider and 6mm taller than Mercedes’ existing entry-level SUV, the GLA. This suggests that the company is looking to extend its line-up into a lower class, where the production version of the G-code would possibly compete against such cars as the upcoming Audi Q1.
Compared to the Audi Crosslane Coupé concept, which previewed the Q1, the G-Code is 110mm shorter, 20mm wider and 10mm higher.
Mercedes has yet to fully detail the powerplant showcased in the G-Code. It has only said that it relies on the combination of a “state-of-the-art turbocharged combustion engine that runs on hydrogen” and an “electric motor that drives the rear axle”.
The new hydrogen-electric driveline is a development of that set to appear in the B-class Fuel Cell slated for launch in 2017. It has been conceived to offer three driving modes: all-electric Hybrid eDrive, hydrogen-electric Hybrid Eco, and hydrogen-electric Hybrid Sport.
Depending on the chosen mode, the G-Code can operate in front-wheel drive powered solely by the combustion engine, in rear-wheel drive propelled by the electric motor or in four-wheel drive with both the combustion engine and electric motor.
Drive is channelled through a dual-clutch gearbox and an electronic propshaft that serves to combine the two power sources.
As well as featuring the latest in kinetic energy regeneration and plug-in technology, the G-Code uses two advanced energy-sourcing technologies currently being investigated by Mercedes as a way to provide power for hydrogen synthesis on the move.
‘Multi-voltaic’ paint covers the body of the G-Code and not only acts like a giant solar cell to produce electrical energy when the sun shines, but also regenerates electrostatic energy as wind is drawn over the surface.
The new concept also employs what Mercedes describes as “power-on-the-move suspension” in which the rebound movement of the springs and dampers is used to drive a generator via hydraulic means to create electricity.
The G-Code’s interior has a clean, uncluttered look with controls – including steering wheel, pedals and head-up display – that automatically extend from their rest positions when the ignition is triggered via a smartphone.
A widescreen monitor spans almost the entire width of the instrument binnacle and houses vehicle information
as well as infotainment functions and images from
the rear-view cameras.
A flat panel runs through the middle of the cabin, providing mounting points for a rotary controller, various switches and aluminium grab handles. Meanwhile, 3D body scanners allow the leather-lined carbonfibre-backed seats to automatically adjust to suit occupants, providing massage, heating and cooling functions.
In a nod to the design of Mercedes’ more recent production models, the G-Code adopts round ventilation units. The air conditioner is envisaged to use oxygen produced during hydrogen synthesis to provide fresh air even in urban stop-and-go traffic in congested Asian cities.