Fail of the Century
Case for the defence: it was a concept car! Concept cars aren’t meant to be taken seriously! Concept cars are about pushing boundaries, about dipping toes in water, about running mad ideas up flagpoles to see who salutes and who starts making quiet retching noises while weeping gently to themselves.
Yes, as any racing driver will attest, you must go beyond the limit to learn where the limit is. So discovering that the sight of a five metre long, 740bhp limo-cum-whoopee-cushion causes mild panic attacks in most right-thinking humans, well, that’s valuable consumer research right there for Mercedes.
Case for the prosecution: it was a concept car! Concept cars are a chance to explore just how exciting, how glorious the automotive form can be when not stymied by the practicalities of production tooling and Euro NCAP and numberplates and all those boring constraints.
In other words, when the only limit is your own imagination, how – please, dear lord, how – do you start with a blank sheet of paper, and end up with a split-window CLA-on-stilts that’s been overdoing the protein shakes? That’s not a rhetorical question, Mercedes. We need answers, if only to prevent this sort of thing ever happening again.