You can almost hear the call echoing through the Austrian Alps: “The top speed of mein SL65 AMG is too low! Get to ze choppah!” Assuming the angst-ridden Salzburg billionaire hadn’t removed the 155-mph limiter from his V-12-powered Mercedes-Benz, he would be right — but just barely. The Eurocopter EC145 won't exceed 167 mph, but the point-to-point convenience a helicopter affords means never missing a last-minute lunch in Vienna. Until now, however, one couldn’t purchase an EC145 with an interior spec'd out by the lux-meisters in Stuttgart.
The European rotary-winged aircraft consortium — and sister company of Airbus under the EADS umbrella — has teamed up with Mercedes-Benz to outfit its twin-engine utility helicopter for business-luxury transport. The lead on the project was undertaken by the company’s Advanced Design Studio in Como, Italy, which pulled design cues from the company’s designo roster of interior packages. Not to compare apples to oranges, the EC145 Mercedes-Benz Style is more akin to a S65 than an SL. Or, with its land-darn-near-anywhere capability, a G-Class SUV.
The rail-mounted seats can be configured for up to eight passengers (think capo, consigliere and six gorillas). The wood and ambient lighting draw influence from Benz’ up-level E-Class and S-Class sedans. Unfortunately, the SLS AMG’s gullwing doors aren’t an available option, as they interfere with the operation of the 145’s rotor. On the plus-side, Eurocopter can outfit the whirlybird with an infrared-suppression system, making it difficult for bad guys armed with Stinger missiles to get a lock on you as you and your lady of the evening snack on strudel and sip a nice riesling.
As for the price, Eurocopter EC145s start at $5.5 million, but the Mercedes-Benz version will reportedly go for closer to €6 million (or approximately $8.5 million).