Mercedes-Benz Bionic

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Mercedes-Benz Bionic
ProductionConcept car (2005)
Engine1.9-liter four-cylinder direct-injection turbodiesel. 138 hp (103 kW)
TransmissionAutotronic CVT transmission
Wheelbase101 in (2,565 mm)
Length167 in (4,242 mm)
Width71.5 in (1,816 mm)
Height62.8 in (1,595 mm)
Curb weight2,425 lb (1,100 kg)
Comparison to a streamlined half-body with Cd of 0.12.
The yellow boxfish, Ostracion cubicus

The Mercedes-Benz Bionic is a concept car created by DaimlerChrysler AG under the Mercedes Group. It was first introduced in 2005 at the DaimlerChrysler Innovation Symposium in Washington, D. C. The Bionic is modeled after a type of fish, the yellow boxfish, Ostracion cubicus,[1] and also has 80% lower nitrogen oxide emissions with its selective catalytic reduction technology.

Engine and performance[edit]

The Bionic is powered by a 103 kW direct-injection diesel engine with an average fuel economy of 54.7 MPG (US) (~4.3 L/100 km).[2] This engine also outputs around 140 hp (104 kW) and a little over 221 ft⋅lbf (300 N⋅m) of torque at around 1,600 rpm. The Bionic can go from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in about eight seconds and has a top speed of a little over 190 km/h (118 mph).


The exterior design was modeled after the yellow boxfish (Ostracion cubicus), a marine fish that lives in coral reefs. Mercedes-Benz decided to model the Bionic after this fish due to the supposed low coefficient of drag of its body shape[3] and the rigidity of its exoskeleton; this influenced the car's unusual looks. It was believed that the shape of the boxfish would improve aerodynamics and stability.[4] However, in 2015, a paper in Journal of the Royal Society Interface claimed that "The drag-reduction performance of the two boxfish species studied was relatively low compared with more generalized body shapes of fish".[5][6] Other parts of the design include the fact that the rear wheels are partially fitted with plastic and that it's considered as a lightweight vehicle. Mercedes-Benz reported a drag coefficient of 0.19;[7] for comparison, the production vehicle with the lowest ever Cd value was the GM EV1, at 0.195. While the Bionic had a much larger internal volume than the EV1, the Bionic's larger frontal area made the EV1 more aerodynamic overall, as drag is a product of the area and the drag coefficient.

The vehicle was capable of seating four people.[2]


  1. ^ ""Bionic" Car Fueled by Fishy Ideas". National Geographic. 15 June 2005. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b Padeanu, Adrian (2 January 2019). "2005 Mercedes Bionic: Concept We Forgot". Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  3. ^ Kozlov, Andrei; Chowdhury, Harun; Mustary, Israt; Loganathan, Bavin; Alam, Firoz (2015). "Bio-Inspired Design: Aerodynamics of Boxfish". Procedia Engineering. 105: 323–328. doi:10.1016/j.proeng.2015.05.007. ISSN 1877-7058.
  4. ^ "The Energy-Efficient Boxfish". Awake!. Vol. 90, no. 7. Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York. July 2009. p. 10. ISSN 0005-237X. Retrieved 22 January 2019. Engineers believe that the boxfish provides the secret to producing a safer, more fuel-efficient, yet lightweight, vehicle. "Quite frankly," says research and development chief Dr. Thomas Weber, "we were surprised when this clumsy-looking fish, of all things, became our model for designing an aerodynamic and fuel-efficient car."
  5. ^ Jake, Buehler (11 March 2015). "A Real Drag. Mercedes-Benz modeled a car on the boxfish. Only it completely misunderstood the boxfish". Slate. Retrieved 22 April 2020. The boxfish does not lament the absence of a course correction mechanism, as its instability is one of its greatest assets on the reef, permitting it to swiftly whirl wherever it pleases, which, much to my aggravation, always seems to be as far away from me as possible. The boxfish carapace may still find utility in bionics, but based on what we now know about its instability, perhaps a better place to start would be with spinning, vomit-soaked amusement park rides.
  6. ^ S., Van Wassenbergh; van Manen, K. (6 February 2015). "Boxfish swimming paradox resolved: forces by the flow of water around the body promote manoeuvrability". Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Retrieved 22 April 2020. Firstly, despite serving as a model system in aerodynamic design, drag-reduction performance was relatively low compared with more generalized fish morphologies. Secondly, the current theory of course stabilization owing to flow over the boxfish carapace was rejected, as destabilizing moments were found consistently. This solves the boxfish swimming paradox: destabilizing moments enhance manoeuvrability, which is in accordance with the ecological demands for efficient turning and tilting.
  7. ^ Mercedes' fish-inspired car CNN (retrieved 2008-08-12)

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