► Official Mercedes golf cart concept
► 18mph top speed, 50-mile range
► Part carbonfibre, excess all areas
This may look like the sort of thing a ’70s Bond baddie would use to move minions around in their underground lair, or perhaps a Smart Fortwo’s anorexic cousin, but it is in fact the Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car. Yep, Mercedes has built a golf buggy.
And you thought every niche was already filled...
You cannot be serious?
Wrong sport. Sorry – it would appear that we are. In addition to building a pair of prototypes, Mercedes has issued a 1700-word press release about this Golf Car (no, that’s not a typo), claiming that it has ‘created a product that is both sensual and pure’ in the process.
The whole thing started in 2013, when Mercedes asked for public submissions to a ‘golf cart of the future’ design competition. Taking the best of these efforts as the starting point, Mercedes then turned to golf cart manufacturer to Garia to see about making its fairway dreams come true.
So is Mercedes actually planning to sell a golf cart?
It seems to be thinking about it. To the extent that it’s having Garia knock-up two drivable prototypes, in order to gauge potential customer reaction. And we do mean driveable; they’re apparently going to be road-legal in the USA.
The plan would be for any future sales to be done digitally. According to head of Daimler business innovation, Susanne Hahn, the plan would be this: ‘Wherever customers are, in a dealership or on a golf course, they can look at the vehicle on a tablet and order it with three clicks.’ How terribly modern.
What’s under the hood?
A pair of blokes with dubious fabric coordination chops and their trousers tucked into their socks? Oh – sorry – you don’t mean the (carbonfibre) roof, you mean the engine compartment. Well, brace yourself: the Mercedes Golf Cart is powered by a 3kW electric motor. That’s around 4bhp.
But this wouldn’t be a modern Merc without some kind of booster technology, so you’ll be relieved to know you can ramp up to 11kW for short periods using the Sport mode. That’s nearly 15bhp.
Top speed is 30km/h (18.6mph), maximum range is 80km (50 miles), the turning circle is 5.2m, it weighs 440kg and can carry up to 460kg. Recharging the lithium ion battery pack takes six hours. It also features sporty sounding double-wishbone suspension and front disc brakes.
Aside from the looks, what else is radical about the Mercedes Golf Car?
Well, let’s deal with the looks first – complementing the carbonfibre roof is the carbonfibre diffuser. No, honestly. And at the front, riffing on Mercedes’ latest spangling grilles, the Golf Car has its very own alternative, styled after the dimpled surface of a golf ball. There also a rear spoiler that doubles as a golf bag holder. Fly.
There’s more carbon alongside wood and leather on what counts as the inside, while a 10.1-inch touchscreen not only functions as the instrument panel and control surface for items like the wipers and all-LED headlights, it can also display the current golf course, your location on it and how far you are over-par. Built in Bluetooth speakers complete the on-green hoonage, which is presumably promoted by whatever it is you’re storing in the built-in fridge.