Mercedes finds a sweet spot with Golf Car

Larry Edsall
Special to The Detroit News

Mercedes-Benz has designs on updating the golf cart.

As if the pre-war Silver Arrows, the historic 300SL with its gullwing doors and the current AMG GT R weren’t sporty enough, Mercedes-Benz is designing a vehicle it terms a “real sports car.”

The Garia Golf Car is an example of Mercedes-Benz extending its designs beyond the automobile.

Two notes: That’s “sports” as in stick-and-ball sports and it is interesting that the automaker uses the term “car” instead of “cart,” because most of us might consider the Mercedes-Benz Style Edition Garia Golf Car to be more of a golf cart than a golf car.

“We have reinvented the world of the golf cart with our Mercedes-Benz golf car,” Gorden Wagener, head of design at Daimler AG, said in a news release about the project.

“Mercedes-Benz stands for modern luxury, and golf is an authentic part of that theme,” Wagener added. “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.”

Three years ago, and noting that while other golf equipment featured contemporary technology, golf carts had been pretty much unchanged for decades, Mercedes sought input from car and golf enthusiasts on the ultimate club carrier. That input went to Daimler’s Think & Act Tank Business Innovation unit, which worked with golf car manufacturer Garia to design a vehicle worthy of the Mercedes-Benz style label, signifying a product created by Mercedes designers for “aspects of life beyond the automobile.”

The effort already has produced items from lamps and boats to aircraft and apartment interiors.

The new cart — err, car — has what appears to be a Smart car sort of stance. The car even has a curved windshield, though a dark-colored carbon fiber roof shortens the vehicle’s visual height. The rear-mounted bag carrier is shaped like a car’s aerodynamic “spoiler,” and is designed so the bags are slanted toward the rear to ease egress to the clubs.

Behind the windshield is a sculpted bench seat above a built-in refrigerator. In addition to cup holders and storage for golf balls, the dashboard has a 10.1-inch touchscreen that not only displays whether the vehicle is in Sport or Eco mode, speed, remaining charge in the lithium-ion electric battery that provides power, etc., but also such things as a golf-course map and electronic scorecard. The system is Bluetooth enabled for keeping an eye on the weather or for listening to music or ordering refreshments to be delivered to the next green.

The car has head and tail lights and turn signals, a top speed of 19 mph, and a range of 50 miles for those who live in places where they can drive cars or carts to the course.

Like a sports car, the 970-pound golf car rides on double-wishbone suspension.

Two driving prototypes are being built by Garia for testing and evaluation. Partners Mercedes and Garia want additional input from potential customers before series production begins and soon plan a “3D experience” to be added to the car’s website (

Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at