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Auto Show:  2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA: Frankfurt Auto Show


author photo by Doug DeMuro September 2015

What Is It?

The Mercedes-Benz concept IAA -- officially the "Mercedes-Benz concept Intelligent Aerodynamic Automobile" -- is a highly futuristic concept car that previews the future of Mercedes-Benz design and technology.

While much of the focus in Frankfurt has been on alternative fuel powertrains, the unique aspect of the concept IAA is its design. Not only does the car offer an otherworldly look and an amazingly aerodynamic shape, but the vehicle actually changes its structure above 50 miles per hour to improve its drag coefficient. Yes, that's right: above 50 mph (or at the push of a button), the concept IAA can stretch out more than a foot to help air flow around it more easily.

Not surprisingly, that isn't the concept IAA's only trick feature. The sedan also boasts an unusual interior with purple and blue accent lighting and a wide array of screens. And then there's the engine: a 276-horsepower plug-in hybrid powertrain that leads to a top speed of more than 150 mph and a fully electric range of 41 miles -- or 38.5 miles if the car is in its "original" form.

Will They Ever Sell It?

Almost surely not. Mercedes-Benz is a leader in creating fantastical, futuristic concept cars, and the concept IAA is no exception. While some of the technology in this car may make production, don't expect to see the concept IAA on the roads any time soon -- or ever.

Why It's Important

Although the Mercedes-Benz concept IAA won't reach production, its design makes an interesting statement. Specifically: Should automakers be looking at shape-shifting technology as a way to improve aerodynamics to increase fuel economy and range? It has never been tried before, but it could be an interesting idea as car brands try to squeeze every last mile of range -- or mile per gallon -- out of their vehicles.

While the concept IAA can't be built in this form, Mercedes concept cars often serve as a test bed for the brand's future technology -- so there's some possibility that such a feature could make it on to the brand's cars in upcoming years. Of course, the same goes for the plug-in hybrid drivetrain and the futuristic interior.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Mercedes-Benz Concept IAA: Frankfurt Auto Show - Autotrader