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To celebrate the opening of a new product engineering centre in Beijing, China, Mercedes-Benz has unveiled a new concept car, the Mercedes-Benz Vision G-Code.

Measuring just 4.1 metres from front to back, 1.9m wide and 1.5 tall, the G-Code concept is petite — it’s some 30 centimetres shorter end-to-end than the GLA-Class SUV.

While the grilles on a growing number of modern vehicles serve more of an ornamental function than any role in cooling down the powertrain, the G-Code takes that trend to its logical conclusion.

Mercedes-Benz G-Code

Instead of engine-cooling apertures, the concept car’s grille acts like a giant display screen, changing to reflect the state of the plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

At a standstill the grille softly pulses in blue. Move off in all-electric mode and the blue “stars” on the grille move in towards the centre. When operating in hybrid economy mode the stars shift to purple, while in sports mode the grille’s stars become red move outwards from the middle.

This feature, according to Mercedes-Benz, was inspired by the warp drive from the Starship Enterprise, star of so many Star Trek films and TV episodes.

Mercedes-Benz G-Code

As for the drivetrain itself, it combines a turbocharged hydrogen-fuelled engine driving the front wheels and an electric motor for the rear wheels. As you’d expect in a plug-in hybrid, the car’s battery pack is recharged via mains power and regenerative braking.

In addition, the concept car’s multi-voltaic silver paint not only acts like a solar panel, but is also electrostatically excited by the wind and aerodynamic friction. Through compression and expansion, the G-Code’s hydraulic springs and dampers also play their part in recharging the batteries.

Mercedes-Benz G-Code

Inside, the G-Code features a 2+2 layout with individual bucket seats for all passengers. The concept’s seats are supposedly equipped with body scanners that monitor each occupant’s wellbeing, and automatically adjust the massaging function and temperature accordingly.

Other interior design features include a smartphone docking station in the centre console, ambient lighting that works in much the same way as the Star Trek-inspired grille, and electric stand-up scooters under the boot floor.