Image credits: © Mercury.
2003 Mercury Messenger Concept news, pictures, and information
MESSENGER: EXPRESSING FUTURE MERCURY DESIGN DNAIn ancient Roman mythology, Mercury was the god of speed and agility and the messenger of the heavens.
At the North American International Auto Show, Mercury is a brand sending a message that modern design will lead its rejuvenation, beginning wîth its new Messenger concept coupe.
Mercury is returning to its roots as a design leader introducing the Messenger concept, a distinctive and energetic high-performance two-seat sports coupe.
The Messenger concept car represents the first expression of Mercury's new design DNA wîth a clean, technical appearance that begins to establish the look of Mercury products still to come. Mercury will introduce four new products over the next four years including a minivan, a small sport utility, and two cars.
'The body surface reflects the car's power and grace, wîth flowing body lines that are accented wîth purposeful air intakes and outlets,' says Gerry McGovern, design director, Lincoln Mercury. 'The dynamic fluidity of the Messenger's lean and taut form is expressed at rest as much as it is in movement.'
The Messenger's proportions are the direct result of the dramatic vehicle architecture—clean and sculpted wîth a tautness and agility that transcends the vehicle's design and handling characteristics.
It is a vehicle designed to be uncompromised in capability and performance. The long hood houses a powerful 4.6-liter modular V-8 engine. The energetic stance and supple appearance of the Messenger are enhanced by 20-inch wheels wîth 305mm wide tires on the rear and 19-inch wheels wîth 275mm wide tires on the front—a tire/wheel combination that allows the car to firmly put down onto the pavement all the power the V-8 can generate.
The spoke wheels have a turbine theme, wîth vanes that reflect the appearance of the Mercury 'flying M' logo. The functional vanes help direct airflow over the vented brake disc and high performance brake calipers, further communicating the car's high performance capabilities.
One aspect of Mercury's future design DNA is embodied by the stacked element theme at the front of the vehicle wîth distinctive front lights and vertical grill elements. The rear lights convey the DNA message wîth sequential taillights that repeat the thémé.
Large, beautifully sculpted front air scoops and outlets at the front and rear of the vehicle provide a purposeful and powerful look.
The compact and efficient exterior package provides a cockpit-like driving environment inside, wîth the cockpit placed directly between the wheels to further emphasize the car's proportions.
The Messenger interior is designed to be taut, innovative, and functional—technologically advanced, yet intuitive to use, providing creative stowage and space within a compact package. The interior is the embodiment of Mercury's new DNA direction.
The design of the door panels echoes the shape of the exterior body side feature, wîth the interior armrest resting upon the shape of the exterior air vent sheet metal on the doors. The design of the doors emphasizes the perception of a protective environment.
All displays in the cockpit emit minimum levels of information to facilitate quick and concise driver response. The instrument panel is designed wîth primary focus zones that have intuitive interfaces to keep the driver constantly informed. Switchgear is minimized to reduce distraction.
'This vehicle is driver-focused, from the commanding seating position to the way the vehicle interfaces wîth the person behind the wheel,' says McGovern. 'Úse of the controls inside the cockpit is intuitive.'
The seats in the Messenger are mounted laterally to the tunnel and rocker panel to further strengthen the lightweight aluminum hydro-formed monocoque, while forming part of the integral occupant safety cell.
The central console incorporates a centrally mounted chronograph. The clock, like all key elements, is in close proximity to the driver to allow split-second comprehension and reaction during high-performance driving.
A Look Back—A Look Ahead
Design inspiration for the Mercury Messenger goes back to Mercury's roots and gives a message of where Mercury is going in the future.
In Roman mythology, Mercury was not only the messenger of the gods. This son of Zeus was also god of commerce and travel. He was accurate, reliable, and swift. Edsel Ford's vision at Mercury's start in 1938 was to produce vehicles that were refined wîth an emphasis on design. Reliability and swiftness were admirable attributes for a new automotive brand. Similarly, Mercury's modern mission is to capture the American driving experience through innovation and design.
McGovern on Messenger and Mercury Design
'Messenger is about taut, dynamic surfaces. It's charismatic and modern,' says McGovern. 'It's about intelligence, connectivity, and it's about distinction. All of these themes will be developed further in Mercury cars and trucks of the near future.
'The Mercury Messenger may be the ultimate dream car—but what it represents is the essence of what Mercury is becoming.
'Mercury is to be a design-driven brand—the Mercury DNA is delivering vehicles that are energetic, distinctive, intelligent, and charismatic,' says McGovern. 'On the outside, its vehicles will feature proportion and package efficiency wîth optimized surface language that is clean and simple, lean and taut, wîth drama of attitude, produced wîth a product design approach.
'The next-generation Mercury products will feature a distinct new front-end appearance wîth vertically stacked elements combined wîth a horizontal grille thémé. They'll have a family resemblance, but be distinct in their own automotive genre. Interiors will provide a contemporary environment that is technically advanced, wîth innovative seating, comfort wîth simplicity, using high-tech materials. Functions that interface wîth the driver and passengers will be logical and storage opportunities will be creative, says McGovern.'
Mercury Messenger Technical Specifications
The Mercury Messenger is a high performance, two-seat sports car powered by a V-8 classically driving the rear wheels.
• Front engine, rear wheel drive.
• All-aluminum 4.6-liter DOHC V-8
• 6-speed automatic sequential gearbox
Body and Chassis
Únique monocoque construction using a composite / aluminum hybrid 'tub' chassis wîth super-formed aluminum panels bonded to it. The result is a body wîth high torsional rigidity providing excellent ride and handling properties. Occupant protection is enhanced and noise/vibration/harshness (NVH) is reduced by this method of construction.
• Rear 18 spoke 20 x 10J cast alloy wheels wîth Goodyear 305/40R20 tires
• Front 18 spoke 19 x 9J cast alloy wheels wîth Goodyear 275/40/R19 tires
• High performance Brembo power assisted brakes, anti-lock brake system using Electronic Brake Force Distribution
• Front—355mm vented discs wîth 4 piston calipers
• Rear—355mm vented discs wîth 4 piston calipers
• Computer active suspension adjusts ride height and dynamics to suit driving style, speed, and road conditions wîth 'intelligent' traction control
• Electronically actuated parking brake
• Power assisted variable ratio rack and pinion
• Length 4533mm / 178.5'
• Width 1938mm / 76.3'
• Height 1304mm / 51.3'
• Wheelbase 2825mm / 111.2'
• Front track 1662mm / 65.4'
• Rear track 1650mm / 65'
• Trunk volume 340 liters
• Legroom 1084mm / 42.6'
• Headroom 943mm / 38'
Safety and Security
• Integral safety cell structure
• Personal Safety System
• Global vehicle theft location system
• Self-leveling high-intensity 'projector' headlamps
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