Mercedes-Benz 2040 W196R Streamliner is an autonomous high-speed GT design study

Article by Christian A., on February 8, 2017

The Mercedes-Benz W196 is considered as one of the most iconic racing cars. As a Formula One entry, it dominated the event in two full seasons. Such success prompted Mercedes-Benz to produce a “Type Monza” streamliner closed-wheel aluminum version of the W196.

Such a valuable icon is worthy of praises and commendations. In fact, the Mercedes W196 was so valuable that its most coveted form – the one driven by world champion Juan Manuel Fangio at two F1 championships – was sold for a whopping $30 million at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale in 2013. This earned the Mercedes W196 the title of the most valuable motor vehicle ever sold at an auction.

Thus, it wouldn’t be surprising if a design study or a concept of a futuristic Mercedes W196 suddenly appears. And it did appear -- in the guise of a project work by young automotive designer from South Korea, Minwoong Im. Mingwoong dubbed his design project as the Mercedes-Benz 2040 W196R Streamliner.

As you could have guessed, this Mercedes-Benz 2040 W196R Streamliner is heavily inspired by the streamliner version of the 1950’s W196. Even at a glance, it is fairly easy to tell that Mingwoon’s work borrows big time from the original W196 Streamliner. The 2040 W196R Streamliner features a futuristic interpretation of a number of design cues found on the 1954-1955 W196 Type Monza Streamliner. These design cues include: a curvaceous body with clean surfaces; an elegant hood with high wheel-arches; the prominent positioning of the large Mercedes-Benz star on the front end; and the vertical slats on the sleek horizontal opening on the upper end of the bonnet.

Tagged by Minwoong as Mercedes’ futuristic hypercar (as indicated by the R suffix on the W196), this Mercedes 2040 W196R Streamliner comes fully loaded with futuristic technologies, some of which are being developed now. Minwoong’s premise for this design study is that by 2040, there will be a high-speed superhighway network across the United States. This will be an exclusive road network for autonomous driving cars in which the speed limit is around 500 km/h. Minwoong's design project suggests that going from one place to another (even in longer distances) using high-speed GT cars -- like the Mercedes 2040 W196R Streamliner -- would be a simpler proposition than travelling in planes. Moreover, GT cars could be used in any weather condition unlike planes.

Measuring 4,875 mm in length, 2,040 mm in width and 1,080 mm in height, the Mercedes 2040 W196R Streamliner would be a high-speed autonomous GT car equipped with a lot of concealed sensors and camera. The design study seems to be fully covered with no transparent windshield. Power is also futuristic. To travel as fast as 500 km/h on the autonomous superhighway network, the Mercedes 2040 W196R Streamliner would be powered by a futuristic smart jet engine system.

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