Car news

27 August 2018

The Mercedes EQ Silver Arrow is a stunning EV speedster

Plug-in power and eSports tech, but the looks of an old land-speed record car

Ollie Kew
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You’ll have already spotted this year’s Pebble Beach car-luxe-festival has lit the touchpaper on a series of all-electric super-concepts from Audi and Infiniti, among others. Unbowed, Mercedes has been busy with its own entry.

The EQ Silver Arrow plunders real heritage (not Infiniti’s wish-we-were-there wistfulness) and applies an electrified spin to the record-breaking Benz single-seaters of the Thirties. Imagine, if you will, this design study as a fantasy future for Formula E. Oof. Yes please.

Now dismiss that mouth-watering notion. Sorry. This is merely the design department getting demob-happy over the summer holidays, but it does include some design traits we’ll see in the upcoming Tesla-fighting EQ electric offshoot, imminent from the Mercedes mothership.

Blue detailing, wraparound lights and rose-gold wheel spokes, for example. Just don’t expect said wheels to be these 26-inch, 168-spoke monsters. Driving them is a 750bhp powertrain juiced by an 80kWh battery good for a 397km range, but unlike Audi’s Pebble Beach limelight thief, the EQ Silver Arrow is light on propulsion details.

Mercedes isn’t worried with quoting 0–100kph times or top-speed calculations. Instead, it’s busied itself with solving the awkward issue of electric racing cars not making enough noise.

Delve into the steering-wheel-mounted touchscreen and first, choose between Comfort, Sport and Sport+ modes – yep, this is a 750bhp streamliner with a Comfort setting. Then decide on a sound output to be piped from the car’s on-board jukebox. Choices include the turbo V6 whoosh of Lewis Hamilton’s current F1 W09 EQ Power+ (erm, no thanks) or the cacophonous rumble of Mercedes-AMG’s thundering 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8. That’s better.

This future-tech-meets-old-fashioned-larking-about vein runs deep through the fully carbon-fibre EQ Silver Arrow (its slippery hue is a multi-layer silver paint evoking the polished metal bodies of pre-WWII racers).

Take the digital cockpit as an example. Virtual racing lines and even a ‘ghost’ opponent car are overlaid onto the front aero screen, like the early, crashy forays through Gran Turismo or Forza. A built-in Virtual Race Coach relays tips for scoring faster lap times as you speed along, too. Didn’t Need for Speed offer a similar function?

If you’re uninterested in eSports, perhaps antiques are more your thing. Good, because Mercedes has outfitted the cockpit of the EQ Silver Arrow like a land-speed record-breaking drawing room. There’s saddle brown leather upholstery, aluminium fittings and solid walnut trim. Not even Lewis gets walnut in his whip.

Nor does Hamilton’s weekend ride offer central heating. Two-nil to the reborn Silver Arrow, then, which features Mercedes’ patented Airscarf gadget, which has been wafting soothing warm gusts from headrest vents onto the napes of chilly SLK and SL drivers for yonks. Jokes about racing drivers already spewing enough hot air on a postcard, please.


Tags: concept, mercedes benz, pebble beach, ev, electric, eq, silver arrow

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