Mercedes’ Avatar Concept Car is Something From the Movies

‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ will soon hit theatres, and Mercedes have gotten in the mood by building a concept car that is directly inspired by the world of Pandora.

The Mercedes Vision AVTR parked in California
The Way of Water tie-in no one expected © Credit to The Verge

Major movie studios collaborating with car brands is no new phenomenon — you need only look at the relationship between Aston Martin and the James Bond franchise to see that.

That said, it’s not often you see car brands show off something truly unique — something that adapts so well to the movie and its marketing that it blurs the lines between the two completely.

Case and point:

Mercedes’ Avatar-themed concept car.

This neon-infused spaceship is the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR, a concept car that was first revealed at CES 2020 to honour/celebrate James Cameron’s ever-expanding Avatar franchise.

The sequel is now upon us, and so Mercedes got together with the film’s producers to showcase the vehicle once again, this time to a handful of journalists at The Verge, Bloomberg, and ars Technica, all of whom were allowed to drive it.

To start the vehicle, the driver must place their hand on the centre console, this is said to pay homage to how the Na’va in the movies must make symbolic connections with the creatures of Pandora by interfacing with them directly.

The car will then start up and play the thump of a heartbeat, the seats will also vibrate as ambient lighting grows around the cabin.

An oval-shaped joystick will then rise up from the centre console and begin to pulse. This joystick is how the AVTR is controlled, there’s no steering wheel or pedals.

Drivers can push this stick forward or back to accelerate or brake. They can also tilt it side to side to do something known as ‘crabwalk‘ which allows the car to move sideways in a very unique way.

The position of the driver is very different from other concept cars we’ve seen in recent years.

It seats the driver in more of a horizontal position to fully appreciate the cocoon-like cabin that wants you to take full advantage of how expansive the windshield is.

According to those who tested the Vision AVTR, the vehicle was capable of reaching 35mph total, which doesn’t seem that quick on paper, just remember that this is a concept car and was likely built by hand, making it very fragile.

Daniel Golson of The Verge even says as much:

“On the move, it’s rickety and noisy and cold, with basically zero suspension or interior insulation, and a couple of the interior trim pieces are broken.”

When asked why Avatar was chosen for this project, Gorden Wagener, chief design officer of Mercedes, replied by making parallels between the world of Pandora and the car brand’s signature design language.

“Whatever we do is going to be beautiful.”
— Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer at Mercedes Benz

Tech-wise, there aren’t many differences separating the AVTR from some of the other vehicles in the Mercedes lineup. For example, the crabwalking is a standard feature of the Hummer EV.

The lighting on the Vision AVTR isn’t exclusive to that vehicle alone either (despite being hella impressive). The EQS also has wild ambient lighting and gesture-based controls.

We doubt that this concept car will see a full-scale release anytime soon. That said, we’d say the AVTR has more than done its job.

Not only does it look good, but it’s also done an outstanding job of showcasing a range of Mercedes-specific features that people might only be discovering now (and we have Avatar to thank for it).

The Vision AVTR made another appearance yesterday on the blue carpet for The Way of Water’s Hollywood premiere, where it once again caught the eye of everyone in attendance.

Below we’ve included a video showcasing the Vision AVTR in much finer detail:

Unfortunately, the Mercedes Vision AVTR won’t be in the movie, but maybe it could feature in the third movie, even if it’s just a cameo? What do you think of this vehicle and the Avatar films, in general?

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