Mercedes has jumped on the supermini-SUV bandwagon with a new pint-sized concept called the G-Code. Roughly a match in size for the Nissan Juke and Audi’s forthcoming Q1, it’s said to give a strong indication of how the brand’s future SUVs will look.
“The G-Code is both beautiful and intelligent, and interprets our typical Mercedes Coupe design idiom,” said styling chief Gordon Wagener. Officially just a design study at this stage, it also features a number of wild pieces of tech that could appear on Merc’s SUVs in the next decade. The trademark two-blade grille dominates the front end – although it’s not a grille at all.
In fact, it’s a fancy digital display that changes colour according to how the car is driven – pulsating blue at rest, switching to blue moving stars when in motion and fast-moving red stars if the driver selects “Hybrid Sport” mode.
At 4.1 metres long, the car is slightly shorter than a Skoda Yeti, but is closely aligned with the Juke. Its rounded proportions and wraparound glasshouse are a big departure for Merc’s SUV design themes, while a distinctive single-piece light bar wraps around the entire rear section – a design cue that will feature on the forthcoming BMW X6-rivalling GLE Coupe. Openings in the front wings and the bottom of the nose funnel air through to a plug-in hybrid powertrain – which has three driving modes – while there’s an all-wheel-drive system with a “digital propshaft” that switches the new car between front, rear and all-wheel drive.
The G-Code has space for four people, and like a Ford B-MAX, there are no B-pillars, aiding access to the rear seats. But don’t expect acres of space back there – it’s referred to as a 2+2 layout, with only occasional seats in the back.
Up front, the driver switches on the ignition by docking their smartphone into the dash. Images from the rear view cameras are superimposed at the ends of the windscreen, while in the boot, two electric scooters charge up when the car is on the move.
The concept is the work of Mercedes’ new Beijing design studio, and previews a small SUV for the Chinese market in 2016. However, with the styling being overseen by Merc’s design studio in Sindelfingen, Germany, the Juke-sized SUV could also be a good fit for Europe, with a few tweaks – although certainly not before 2017.