Mercedes-Benz-Blog TRIVIA:The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART XVIII


Stuttgart, Germany, Nov 19, 2007

Mercedes-Benz F 700 for traveling in all comfort


* Vehicle: Mercedes-Benz F 700
* Introduced in: September 2007
* Where: Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA)
* Goal: Combining outstanding ride comfort with a high standard of environmental compatibility, good performance and unusually low fuel consumption
* Powertrain: Hybrid drive system consisting of a four-cylinder DIESOTTO engine (1.8-liter displacement, 175 kW/238 hp) and an electric motor (15 kW/20 hp)

Technical highlights

* DIESOTTO engine, combining the strengths of the low-emission gasoline engine with the diesel engine’s fuel economy
* Further developed hybrid drive
* PRE-SCAN suspension: identification of road condition in advance and corresponding adjustment of the electro-hydraulically controlled active suspension
* PRE-SCAN door: laser scanner in the base of the exterior mirror on the driver’s side to identify obstacles in the door opening range
* Novel SERVO-HMI operating concept
* Innovative, generously large and flexible interior concept including the REVERSE seat in the rear
* LED driving lights and daytime driving lights
* Contour illumination all round

The Mercedes-Benz F 700 outlines the future of travel in all comfort. It demonstrates innovative approaches and technologies for using resources sparingly, protecting the environment, relieving driver and passengers of stress and permitting them to travel in a completely relaxed style.

At the heart of the F 700 is a novel powertrain. The DIESOTTO engine combines the advantages of the low-emission gasoline engine with the fuel economy of the diesel. With controlled homogeneous charge compression ignition, the diesel principle of controlled compression ignition is incorporated in a gasoline engine for the first time. Thanks to homogeneous combustion at reduced reaction temperatures, nitrogen oxide emissions are minimized.

Over and above this, the reduction in displacement and the number of cylinders improves the degree of efficiency. The F 700 is powered by a compact four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 1.8 liters, which nevertheless affords the superior performance of a luxury-class sedan. A two-stage turbocharger is responsible for the engine’s excellent response and high-torque accelerating power. In addition, the internal combustion engine is supported by the electric motor of the hybrid module for starting off. Maximum output is 175 kW (238 hp); the electric motor develops another 15 kW (20 hp), and the system’s maximum torque is as high as 400 Newton meters. Acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds testifies to the dynamism of the F 700 whose top speed is limited to 200 km/h. Despite this outstanding performance, the F 700 has a fuel consumption in the European Driving Cycle of just 5.3 liters (44.3 mpg), which corresponds to carbon dioxide emissions of 127 grams – an extremely low level for a car of this size.

Suspension with anticipatory intelligence

The research car is also taking a major step ahead where its suspension engineering is concerned. With its active PRE-SCAN suspension, the car not only reacts highly sensitively to uneven patches of road surface but also acts in an anticipatory manner. PRE-SCAN uses two laser sensors in the headlamps as “eyes” which produce a precise picture of the condition of the road. On this basis, the control unit computes the parameters for the settings of the active suspension in order to provide the highest level of comfort – it is not without reason that the engineers refer to the “flying carpet”.

“Aqua Dynamic” – a new design language

The design of the F 700 is characterized by soft, flowing lines. The designers refer to “Aqua Dynamic” when talking about this form language which they used to translate the flow dynamics of fish into the design of a special automobile. What’s more, the design signals instantly that occupants have particularly generous space at their disposal. With its exterior length of 5.18 meters, the F 700 is slightly shorter than the long-wheelbase version of the S-Class from the W 221 series, but with a wheelbase length of 3.45 meters, the research car exceeds the production model by as much as 28.5 centimeters. The side view of the F 700 is dominated by the dynamically arching roof contour and shoulder line. This sedan thereby reinterprets a design theme of Mercedes-Benz – the current CLS equally features arching side lines.

The eyes of the F 700

The headlamps of the F 700 are a futuristic version of the brand’s characteristic four-eye face. Two vertical rows of LED line arrays with lenses mounted in front of them serve as driving lights. A third vertical row of individual high-performance LEDs is used as daytime driving lights. Together with the all-round contour illumination, the lights give the F 700 an unmistakable appearance also at night.
Even the driver’s door “watches” its environment closely. A highly compact laser scanner is accommodated in the base of the exterior mirror on this PRE-SCAN door, which checks the door-opening range for obstacles. If the door threatens to be banged against an obstacle, it is locked in position by a controllable hydraulic cylinder.

Light and elegant interior

The generously large and flexible interior is not only made visible from the outside by the long wheelbase. The impression of generous space is also visually enhanced by two large glazed roof sections. Thanks to the use of natural materials such as leather and cork and a harmonious color scheme with shades of brown and beige, the interior has a light and elegant appeal and expresses high-grade quality.

The rear door on the right-hand side (near side) is hinged at the rear. This “reversed” direction of movement facilitates access to the REVERSE seat – another innovation in the F 700. The REVERSE seat is the key element of a novel seating concept and a newly developed design idea for the rear seat on the right-hand side (near side). It replaces the conventional, fixed arrangement of seats in a sedan and permits individual seating and rest positions both in the direction of travel and facing away from the direction of travel.

Relax position and movie theater atmosphere

The F 100 accommodates four people in the classic arrangement, with all of them facing in the direction of travel. If the front passenger’s seat is unoccupied, the rear seat on the right-hand side (near side) can be adjusted to a relax position at the push of a button. In addition, the REVERSE seat can be turned around so that the occupant faces away from the direction of travel – to talk to his or her neighbor seated opposite, to work, to rest or to enjoy audiovisual entertainment. A monitor with a screen size of 51 centimeters, 3D technology and surround sound system creates a movie theater atmosphere.

More convenient and easier operation

The operating concept was revised in that the displays of the information and operating system are shown as much forward in the interior compartment as possible although being visually moved still further away by means of mirror display technology. This provides for a clearly structured and uncluttered dashboard while at the same time ensuring that the driver’s eyes no longer tire from the constant shifting of focus from near vision to far vision as much as in a conventional cockpit.

A substantially more advanced version of SERVO-HMI, complemented by a very special assistant, is installed in the F 700. The navigation, communication, phone, audio and entertainment systems are operated by means of the tried and tested COMAND rotary/pushbutton controller to which a sliding function was added. A pre-selection from the operating menu can be made in three steps. The air conditioning is adjusted by means of an additional touch-sensitive control element.

For more complex input functions, innovative support is provided by an individual input assistant known as AVATAR in computer language. In the F 700, the AVATAR comes in the guise of a young woman. She engages in a dialogue with the driver, asking for the destination in the navigation menu, for instance, and confirming the voice input. Her functions are similar in selecting a number from the telephone directory or in tuning in to the desired radio station.

This form of dialogue simplifies voice control for the driver and improves the speech recognition by the system. What’s more, the scope of dialogue assistance functions can be expanded almost infinitely. The AVATAR may for instance serve as a virtual assistant and access online databases via an internet link on board the car, make new entries in the driver’s appointment calendar or read out important e-mails. Through dialogue-controlled operation, distractions are reduced to a minimum – safety is, after all, writ large at Mercedes-Benz at all times.

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