According to LANXESS , the two new front-end supports of the Mercedes SUV weigh around 30% less than the sheet steel variants used to date, yet boast such high crash performance and torsional stiffness that they meet even the most stringent standards. This excellent crash performance and torsional stiffness is achieved as a result of their hollow profile cross-section and the strength and rigidity of the composite material used. The two supports are produced from 1.2 m long and 0.35 m wide sections made from a special polypropylene-based composite material. They are a product of a collaborative development by the Mercedes-Benz Technology Center, LANXESS, and other industrial partners.
The supports are manufactured in the still relatively new hybrid molding process , in which the component undergoes forming and injection molding in just one step in a single tool. This accelerates production and makes it more cost-effective. The fact that the front-end support also features openings and ducts for supplying fresh air to the engine also cuts down on logistical effort.