And "bear" is right, because the one-off sports car — codenamed "The Flip" for its hybrid facade — comes is accompanied by the "BEAR WITNESS" capsule collection, printed with a logo that will.i.am devised to merge Mercedes' star logo with a visual representation of the sound his car makes.
More on that later, though, because the main thrust of this team-up is a charitable initiative close to will.i.am's heart.
"My collaboration is for a purpose," will.i.am told Highsnobiety. "And that purpose is to send kids to college with a STEM skill set to prepare for a technological tomorrow. I think it’s serendipitous that AMG can be 'will.i.AMG.'"
Revealed on May 5 during the 2022 Miami Grand Prix, will.i.AMG (AKA The Flip) lives up to its name by "flipping" a hodgepodge of Mercedes models into a single frankenstein'd ride.
You've got the round headlights of a G-Wagen, bumper intakes of the AMG variety, SLS Gullwing-inspired doors, and the low-slung frame of a GT, to name a few bits — the base body was a Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door — but despite its multiple stylistic cues, the resulting vehicle is strikingly cohesive.
The interior was realized in part through students supported by the i.am/Angel Foundation, will.i.am's charitable endeavor that aids students achieve a college degree in a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, or math) field.
Pupils in his after-school programs lent their talents to ideating the interior, a high-tech cocoon that aligns with will.i.am's own futurist inclinations.
Not only is Mercedes-AMG providing funding to the i.am/Angel Foundation, but part of the proceeds from the accompanying BEAR WITNESS capsule collection, which launches May 6 at 12pm EST on will.i.am's website, will also benefit his organization.
"I saw that the Mercedes logo is a bear’s mouth for people to BEAR WITNESS to inner-city kids' transformation out of their circumstances," will.i.am continued.
"I grew up in a ghetto. I grew up with hip hop. I watched legendary hip hop artist rap about Mercedes, so it was always a dream to own a Mercedes. For a lot of inner-city kids, owning a Mercedes is a symbol of progress and advancing out of struggle."
An extraordinary car befits extradentary press rollout, so will.i.am and Mercedes have also produced a whopping six-part documentary called DRIVE (not to be confused with the Ryan Gosling flick) that'll premiere during the 2022 Cannes festival.