It's not surprising that Mercedes Benz should begin developing luxury helicopters and luxury yachts. The original meaning of the trademarked Mercedes three pointed star signified mobility on land, on water and in the air, so it is possible that the portfolio will include boats, aircraft, helicopters and other transport products, just as its rivals Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen and BMW have already demonstrated their vision for the future of mobility doesn't necessarily involve conventional automobiles.
Indeed, as the world's roads inevitably grind to a permanent standstill over the next half century, the new Mercedes Benz Style EC145 Luxury Helicopter will enable a surefire way to bypass gridlock. Unveiled in Geneva this week at the European Business Aviation Convention, the EC145 is actually a twin-engine turbine Eurocopter EC145 model with an extensive interior redesign using Mercedes' knowledge of luxury materials, lighting and re-purposing flexibility to offer both luxury ambiance and German practicality. It's all the work of the newly created Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Como, Italy. Oh, and they're also working on a prototype yacht.
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The EC145 is well suited for the application of “Mercedes-Benz Style”, as this turbine-powered aircraft is at the top of its class in the medium-sized, twin-engine helicopter category. It combines the company’s latest developments in cockpit design, avionics and a sophisticated electrical system, and incorporates a hinge-less rotor system and enhanced rotor blades that ensure low noise and vibration levels. More than 315 EC145s have been sold around the globe for a full range of operations and mission applications, and it is the only helicopter of its type that can seat up to eight passengers.
The upholstery in the cockpit and cabin is available in a range of the usual top-shelf materials and colors, while there's a choice of elegant woods to provide luxury underfoot and paneling on the ceiling. Ambient lighting is also available in various colors to complement the interior – tricks of the trade borrowed from the E- and S-Class cars.
The EC145 Mercedes-Benz Style is not just about luxury but the effective and flexible use of space. It is the only helicopter in its class that can seat up to eight passengers. For the cabin layout, Mercedes-Benz opted for a modular approach inspired by its new R-Class range. All seats are mounted on rails and can be quickly and easily reconfigured or removed to make room for luggage. There are also three multi-function boxes with features such as a cool box, cup holder, table, 15-inch monitor and DVD player. The interior offers supreme flexibility for both business and private travel: in the partition wall which separates the cockpit from the cabin, extra storage space is provided by drawers.
Mercedes-Benz has also made multi-purpose storage a feature of the aft-cabin as well, providing a high-capacity luggage compartment with numerous attachment points on the floor and walls for baggage, golf clubs and other outsized articles such as bikes and surfboards.
The partition between the cabin and the cockpit has fully retractable windows. Just like the R-Class car that inspired it, the Eurocopter EC145 Mercedes-Benz Style is the most versatile and spacious model in its class.
New production EC145s “Mercedes-Benz Style” will be available from the fourth quarter of 2011.
Eurocopter is already the leading helicopter supplier for corporate and VIP operators according to Eurocopter’s Senior Vice President for Sales and Customer Relations, Olivier Lambert.
“The EC145 ‘Mercedes-Benz Style’ is our third major creative initiative of this type in seven years, ensuring that Eurocopter will continue as the helicopter manufacturer of choice for corporate and VIP customers,” said Lambert.View gallery - 14 images