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From Gullwings To Rotary Wings: Helo Takes Mercedes Brand To New Heights

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On: Tue, May 17, 2011 at 11:50AM | By: Andrew W Davis

From Gullwings To Rotary Wings: Helo Takes Mercedes Brand To New Heights

Yes, you read that right: Mercedes-Benz is getting into the helicopter business and I enjoy using terrible puns.

Unveiled at last year’s European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva—and delivered to its first customer today—the EC145 “Mercedes-Benz Style" helicopter is a joint venture with Eurocopter (want to guess where they are and what they build?).

[That odd “Mercedes-Benz Style” bit is THEIR idea. I know how to use quotation marks properly.]

Right. That odd “Mercedes-Benz Style" bit refers to the fact that designing Benzes apparently isn’t a full-time job anymore, so they had to start up a side project wherein Mercedes’ designers design “not only transport-related products, but also furniture and lifestyle products, as well as industrial design.”

And what did they choose as their first extra-car-ricular project? [I warned you…] Yup, a helo.

No, it DOES make (a certain amount of) sense. When captive black-arts tuning brand AMG introduced its Cigarette racing boat project, overlord Mercedes was left with few options. Sure, a submarine would be cool, but they already rule the sea creature demographic. And the low number of active—and rich—telescope owners meant a low-Earth-orbit satellite wouldn’t work, either.

Then when you consider the fact that Honda beat them to the bizjet business—and how the world reacted the last time the Germans went into the mass-produced tank business—a helicopter is the natural choice.

Eurocopter was too, seeing as how they’re the go-to company for choppers on that side of the pond. Here’s how they describe their EC145 pre-M-B:

“The Ultimate, Multi-Role Helicopter
In operations on land and at sea, the EC145 is at the top of its class in the medium-sized, twin-engine helicopter category. With up to 12 seats for pilots and passengers, this multi-mission helicopter combines Eurocopter’s latest developments such as an advanced cockpit design, avionics and a sophisticated electrical system. The EC145 offers a proven hingeless rotor system with a monolithic titanium hub and enhanced rotor blades which ensure low noise and vibration levels.”

Sexy, no?

As you might have expected, of course, even a company as gigundomundo as Daimler isn’t in the helicopter re-engineering business, so the “Mercedes-Benz Style” part is basically limited to snazzing-up the interior.

Sell it, Professor guy:

“We are very pleased to have realized the first product of ‘Mercedes-Benz Style’ with Eurocopter,” said Prof. H.C. Dr. Gorden Wagener, head of design at Mercedes-Benz. “The interior design of the EC145 ‘Mercedes-Benz Style’ helicopter represents the classic passion of the Mercedes-Benz design language and fulfils the very highest expectations in terms of elegance, luxury and comfort.”

“The luxurious interior design was created in the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in the Italian city of Como and is inspired by the luxury-class saloons created by the brand with the three-pointed star. The EC145 “Mercedes-Benz Style” offers deluxe materials, elegant woods, and ambient lighting familiar from the S and E-Class that can be adjusted to a number of different colour and brightness settings, as well as spacious multi-function boxes with various equipment options.

“Moreover, the designers have placed a great deal of emphasis on variability. The passenger cabin is incredibly versatile, making the EC145 “Mercedes-Benz Style” ideal for a diverse range of travel needs—from business or family travel, to leisure and sporting trips. All seats are fixed to rails and can be rearranged very easily in a number of different arrangements for four to eight passengers, or removed altogether in order to create space for luggage. The spacious load area also offers a high degree of flexibility with an extensive range of anchoring options on the floor and walls.”

So there you go. If you’re F.U.-money rich, yet have held back from purchasing a helicopter because you couldn’t get one with a tasty Mercedes interior, your time—and whirlybird—has arrived.

Would you like to know what one costs? HA! That was a trick question! You aren’t rich enough to have one so I’m not telling you. OK, I’ll be honest with you: When they heard me say the word “journalist” they knew I wasn’t rich enough either, so they didn’t tell me.

Maybe the folks over at BMW’s Doomsday Moon Laser division will be more accommodating…

[Visit the Eurocopter link in "Source" for a flight simulator, brochure and other helicopter-related goodies. A girl can dream...]

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