Photos: David Obendorfer via Autocar

The current Mercedes-Benz E-Class is maybe a little too anonymous, blending into an ever-expanding lineup where all of the sedans pretty much look the same. That wasn’t always the case, and this designer’s pet project shows us what we could have with a few retro flourishes.

The Mercedes-Benz Icon E Concept is unfortunately nowhere near official. Instead, it’s designed by David Obendorfer, a guy with a habit of creating super cool retro-inspired concept cars in his spare time that we’ve written about before. Stuff like a Fiat 600 Abarth concept, the BMW CS Vintage concept, and that super cool retro Citroen H van that actually went into production as a kit.

The Icon E Concept isn’t just some computer model, according to Obendorfer via Autocar. Apparently it’s meant to be built on the current E-Class chassis, and nearly matches that car’s dimensions.

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What’s totally different, though, is the exterior and interior design, hinging heavily on Mercedes designs of the past, as pointed out by Autocar:

The interior is similarly refined, with Obendorfer stating a desire to include ‘as few decorative elements as possible’ in the design. The steering wheel is a direct reference to classic Mercedes style with the metal insert, while the dashboard appears to be as minimalist as possible, featuring only a large digital display that also houses the speedometer.

The Icon E Concept is also a tribute to chief designers from Mercedes’ history: Paul Bracq, who styled the original W115, and Bruno Sacco, who served as head of design between 1975 and 1999.

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Obendorfer doesn’t seem to want to attach the “retro” term to his designs, according to Autocar.

“They are interpretations obtained via a creative process, similarly to any new models. From the designer’s point of view, it’s easy to see that ‘retro’ as such does not even exist.”

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Whatever you want to call it, the car isn’t real. I’m not sure there will be too many people out there lining up for a kit conversion on their 2019 E-Class.

While I happen to be someone who likes its current design language, it is a bit of a shame that Mercedes’ current design isn’t a little more adventurous. What would I have to do to get color-matching wheels back on a big Merc sedan?

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