After a bit of a song and dance routine, sans the song, Mercedes-Benz finally drove out its new F700 Concept at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show. Looking something like an S-Class cross-bred with a Mazda RX-8, it still managed to wow the assembled horde. The debut itself was a wild enviro-mechanical fusion of dancers emulating trees and geckos that formed a vehicle out of their prop tree branches and then fit themselves inside. It was a clever way to show green and machine can coexist beautifully. Sitting next to Lewis Hamilton and all of the Mercedes brass made it an even more interesting experience.
The car itself is being described as a "magic carpet ride" by Mercedes folk. It's depicted as a future luxurious touring sedan with good performance and exceptionally low fuel consumption. Big and luxurious, the F700 is also the first car in the world that can recognize and predict road conditions to manage bumps using a new PRE-SCAN active suspension M-B is developing. It also features the new DIESOTTO powertrain. It's a 1.8-liter four that rivals the efficiency of a diesel but runs on gas. It also addresses the all-important CO2 emissions head-on, with a rating of just 127 grams per kilometer or about 44.3 mpg.
There's a huge gallery of live shots and official pics in the gallery below, plus the abridged press release after the jump.
Mercedes-Benz shows the future of the superior touring sedan
Stuttgart – With its F 700 research car, Mercedes-Benz redefines the idea of effortless, superior refinement: this concept for a future luxurious touring sedan shows how outstanding riding quality can be combined with high levels of environmental friendliness, and good performance with exceptionally low fuel consumption. Thus, the 5.17 meter long F 700 with its innovative and very spa-cious interior design enables an entirely new and exceedingly comfortable mode of travel. The F 700 is the world's first car that can anticipatively recognize the condition of the road and level out the uneven spots with its active PRE-SCAN suspension, further improving suspension comfort substantially. The forward-pointing DIESOTTO drive system introduced in the F 700, a four-cylinder with a displacement of only 1.8 liters, combines the strong points of the low-emission gasoline engine with the consumption benefits of the diesel drive. Its CO2 emissions of a mere 127 grams per kilometer correspond to con-sumption of only 5.3 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers (44.3 mpg), extremely low for a vehicle of this class.
This is made possible by a forward-looking drive concept, the heart of which is the "DIESOTTO" technology – an advancement of the internal combustion engine thought up by Mercedes-Benz. With its novel controlled auto ignition (CAI), direct fuel injection and turbocharging, it combines the high power of the spark-ignition engine with the exemplary torque and great fuel economy of a diesel. The drive system in the F 700, as four-cylinder featuring two-stage charging, attains the performance level of a current S-Class car with a 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V6 gasoline engine or the 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel.
"Our goal is to make the gasoline-powered car just as economical in consumption as the diesel. The new DIESOTTO concept is a major step in that direction, combining the best properties of the spark-ignition engine and the diesel engine," says Dr. Thomas Weber, Board member of DaimlerChrysler AG responsible for Group Research & Mercedes Car Group Development.
The F 700 also sets standards in regard to road roar, tire vibration and suspension comfort. With two laser scanners the active PRE-SCAN suspension scans the roadway in front of the car. The hydraulically controlled active suspension proactively compensates for detected hindrances, enabling entirely new comfort characteristics –a "flying carpet" feeling.
Equally innovative is the operating concept "SERVO-HMI". The display is not only particularly gentle on the eyes; the number of controls also has been appreciably reduced and the menu structure has been made strikingly simple and self-explanatory. The driver can "discuss" more complex inputs, such as a destination for navigation purposes, in dialogue with an avatar, a virtual operating assistant.
The exterior design of the F 700 shows that with this concept an extraordinary amount of space has been created for the passengers. The very silhouette, charac-terized by the long wheelbase, is a clear indication of this. The design harmoniously joins together inspirations provided by nature with technical innovation. All the futuristic styling devices notwithstanding, the F 700 is perfectly compliant with the brand identity of Mercedes-Benz.
The interior concept interprets comfortable travel and well-being in a completely new way. With its REVERSE seat the F 700 breaks up the firmly established seat arrangement of conventional sedans and offers individual seating positions facing, or with one's back to, the direction of travel, always affording maximum spaciousness and supreme comfort.
The F 700 provides inspiring ideas for the technological future of Mercedes-Benz once again – like each of the research cars which preceded it.