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Here's a GST you might like

First look: The Vision GST has been shown only in sketch form so far.

Benz muscles in on the cross-over four-wheel drive action with a six-seater called the Grand Sports Tourer

31 Dec 2001

MERCEDES-BENZ will take the wraps off its six-seat Vision GST concept car at the Detroit auto show in January.

Benz says the GST name, which has unfortunate connotations here, stands for "Grand Sports Tourer" and that the concept represents a new vehicle type, bringing together sedan, wagon, people mover and four-wheel drive.

"Above all, the study is a car with an unprecedented feel which gives new meaning to the concept of long-distance driving pleasure," Benz says. However, it is tipped that you'll have to wait until around 2004 to experience that pleasure in a production car.

The GST's design does away with the traditional B-pillar in the centre of the roof, instead the domed roofline links the A and C-pillar. Huge 22-inch wheels and a pronounced wedge-shaped side profile are other styling highlights.

At roof level, a large area of special electrochromic glass extends from the front windscreen to the rear, and the occupants can alter the tint at the touch of a button according to the intensity of the sun.

Butterfly doors are a further highlight of the car - they open in opposite directions, each at an angle of 90 degrees.

Beneath the bonnet of the GTS is a 265kW 5.5-litre V8 engine from Mercedes-AMG. Other technical highlights of the vehicle include the electronically controlled 4-ETS four-wheel drive system used in the M-Class and G-Class, the AIRMATIC air suspension system and the new high-pressure brake system, Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC). The large brake discs are made from carbon-fibre-reinforced ceramics.

Occupant protection is enhanced by the new safety system, PRE-SAFE, which detects the threat of a collision in advance and activates the belt tensioners before impact.

Naturally, being a show car, the GST's interior is outfitted in wood, leather and aluminium, while a new lighting concept is used, with an illuminated strip in the roof liner, in the door panels and on the centre tunnel.

Passengers get an electrically adjustable individual seat with an integral belt system. A third row of seats for two further passengers is also available in the rear, which means that the Vision GST can comfortably seat a total of six.

Benz says the eye-catching feature of the instrument panel is a centre console that appears to hover in mid-air. It consists of two aluminium panels and tinted glass which house the colour screen, CD player, radio and a large proportion of the controls.

The monitor belongs to the navigation system it is controlled by a new type of software, which projects direction arrows, road maps and the graphic display elements onto the display with a three-dimensional effect.

An entertainment system with a DVD player and video games is available for the rear passengers.

It's unlikely the production version of the GST would appear any earlier than 2004.

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