The Smart Fortwo has developed a reputation as a glorified golf cart and Mercedes is not doing the brand any favours with the recent introduction of the Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car.
The Mercedes-Benz Style label designates products beyond the world of the automobile that are worthy in intent and presentation of carrying the 3-pointed star.
Bearing a striking resemblance in size and presentation to the Fortwo, the premium Garia golf cart receives a healthy dose of Mercedes-Benz looks and luxury style, with the automaker affectionately referring to it as a “real sports car.” Two versions of the show car will be produced to gauge customer opinion.
“Mercedes-Benz stands for modern luxury, and golf is an authentic part of that theme,” said Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Daimler AG. “Transferring our automotive design idiom to the Golf Car is therefore something quite natural, and in doing so, we have created a product that is both sensual and pure.”
Back in 2013, Mercedes-Benz called on golf and automobile enthusiasts to submit ideas for a potential future Mercedes-Benz golf cart. The reasoning was that the technology of golf has accelerated in a manner similar to the rest of the technological world, but the golf cart has remained virtually unchanged for decades. The parameters were that the design had to get into modern design trends, with the emphasis on luxury, and it had to tend to the needs of modern golfers.
The business model was then developed by Daimler’s Think & Act Tank Business Innovation, which enlisted Garia to contribute the technical basis for the project.
Building a golf cart requires a different set of specs, needing particular characteristics such as the overall footprint — they’re narrower and shorter in their base, but have a taller cabin, and the front and rear overhangs need to be virtually non-existent. However, Mercedes-Benz did fit in a double wishbone suspension for light, precise handling on all surfaces.
Weighing in at 440 kg (with a max payload rating of 960 kg), the new Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car immediately appears distinctly different from today’s conventional golf carts. The driver and passenger have a view through a large, curved windscreen, with a carbon fibre roof presenting the appearance of a sporty baseball cap. The bench seat has the look and feel of a lounge chair, and under its cushion resides a refrigerated compartment that can house refreshments and snacks, while the dashboard has room and holders for golf balls, cups and bottles. The pedals have the traditional cart designation of a plus sign on the accelerator pedal and a minus sign on the brake
Attempting to create a low-riding sporty-car look, designers worked in a rear spoiler positioned in such a way to house the golf-bag holder, which conveniently allows easy and quick access to clubs. The bottom part of the bag compartment is a diffuser (because underbody aerodynamics are important on a golf cart).
The cart is equipped with LED headlights, taillights and turn indicators, making it suitable for closed communities that allow golf-cars on their roads. Power is supplied by a 3-kW motor that can make up to 11 kW available for short periods, though top vehicle speed is governed to 30 km/h. The lithium ion battery takes six hours to fully charge.
Inside the cabin, the dash houses an integrated 10.1-inch high-resolution touchpad that displays the range of the electric vehicle (up to 80 km), as well as vehicle speed and power consumption, plus controls for the headlights, and windshield wipers and heater and, of course, the course layout with the cart’s GPS position, as well as an electronic score card. And there’s even a 2-mode drive selector — Sport or Eco.
Bluetooth connectivity allows for synching up smartphones for hands-free operation of mobile phones and to stream music through rear high-mounted speakers. Golfers can also order up refreshments from the beverage cart, or look at what weather conditions may be rolling in. Future possibilities include connectivity to a smartphone to download apps and other content to the on-board touchpad.
Cabin materials include leather, wood and metallic trim, and carbon fibre panels.