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Gen Z gets High Tech Wheels

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It wasn’t all that long ago that the concept of a wireless mobile phone with access to the web was completely foreign to people, and yet now smartphones are as ubiquitous as McDonald's franchises. So, Mercedes-Benz's new concept car might look a little far-out to you right now, but you can bet that some version of this futuristic vehicle will be hitting a street near you soon.

More 'hip lounge' than automobile, the new spacious show car, which has been dubbed the Vision Tokyo, has been described by its creators as 'luxurious, young and progressive'. It was conceptualised by creatives in Mercedes-Benz's network of design studios specifically for members of Generation Z, who have grown up surrounded by high-tech gadgets and social media and who, according to the brand, want more than wheels from their vehicles.

'The role of the vehicle has changed for them,' says Mercedes-Benz on its website. 'It is no longer simply a means of getting around, but a digital, automobile companion.'

Not only does the car's electric system have a smart, predictive component that allows the vehicle to adapt and change over time to suit its 'tenants' and their tastes, but it's also rigged to be able to drive by itself (or at least that's the idea).

This means that occupants are then free to chill, socialise with friends, browse Instagram or Facebook - or the latest social network to have hit - and generally ignore the chaos going down on the roads around them. The Vision Tokyo's huge interior is decked out with an oval-shaped couch that makes it feel like a cocktail lounge, and social media, apps, maps and other online features can be accessed via 3D holograms that appear in the middle of the car's bodyshell.

As far as looks go, the Vision Tokyo's aesthetic can probably most appropriately be described as James Bond meets The Jetsons. It's sleek and sexy, with flashing lights and plenty of glass, but also a little reminiscent of a spaceship from a far-away world.

It might all sound a little outlandish to you right now, but watch this space: you'll blink and it'll be here.

See other mock-up images at http://bit.ly/1Pmpbbv.