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Mercedes-Benz F700 Research Vehicle
Mercedes loads its latest concept car with advanced technology

Concept cars are manufacturers’ way of showing consumers what to expect from production vehicle in the near future. Some concept cars, such as Porsche's 1993 Boxster Concept, foreshadow styling for a future production model. Other concepts like the Toyota Hybrid X introduce a wealth of technologies that will likely filter down to production models.

Mercedes' latest concept represents the latter (and perhaps a touch of the former). The new F700 Research Car is loaded with just about every piece of technology that Mercedes could possibly cram into a vehicle.

Starting with the drivetrain, the F700 Research Car uses a tiny 1.8 liter direct-injection "DIESOTTO" four-cylinder gasoline engine. Now before you drop your jaw in amazement of such a small motor being used in a large luxury cruiser, also take note of the use of sequential turbocharging along with a dual-mode hybrid system similar to the one use in the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid and BMW X6 ActiveHybrid.

The end result is a remarkable 238HP from such small displacement gasoline engine -- the electric motor adds an additional 20HP. 258HP isn't a lot of power when you consider that Mercedes' S65 AMG produces 604HP and a stump-pulling 738 lb-ft of torque, but it is enough to propel the F700 Research Car to 60 MPH in "only" 7.5 seconds.

The efficient powertrain does payoff, however, when it comes to fuel economy and greenhouse emissions. The F700 Research Car consumes only 5.3 liter of gasoline every 100 kilometers (equivalent to 44.3 MPG) and emits only 127 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

"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," said Daimler Chrysler board member Dr. Thomas Weber.

"Researchers and developers need challenges and great goals," Weber continued. "For this reason we think much farther ahead at Mercedes-Benz: we are going to combine the strengths and advantages of both combustion principles in one innovative engine concept. The DIESOTTO drive is a major step forward."

Mercedes didn't stop with the powertrain. The F700 Research Car features LED lighting front and rear, Active PRE-SCAN suspension for better handling and ride comfort, Active Body Control, displays screens mounted in the front seat headrests and a 20" 3D LCD monitor for the rear passengers.

Mercedes has also developed a new control interface to replace its trusty old COMMAND system. The F700 Research Car makes use of a new SERVO-HMI (Human-Machine Interface) system. SERVO-HMI displays vehicle information at the base of the windshield and does away with traditional HVAC and multimedia controls. The positioning of vehicle information allows the driver to keep his or her eyes focuses straight ahead instead of towards the center console.

Other critical vehicle controls such as the DISTRONIC PLUS active cruise control system are accessed through a scroll wheel mounted on the steering wheel. Mundane operations such as turning on headlights, windshield wipers and front/rear defroster are all accomplished automatically using sensors.

The HMI interface is headlined by a young female avatar which can be viewed on the display and interacts both visually and by voice.  The avatar can perform as a virtual assistant and is capable of accessing address books, online databases and can even read email messages aloud to the driver.

While we probably won't see all of the features introduced with the F700 Research Car in future Mercedes models, rest assure that the DIESOTTO engine, PRE-SCAN system and Servo-HMI will likely make the cut.

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Appearance better suited for the Maybach name
By ninjit on 9/12/2007 2:34:53 AM , Rating: 2
The design of the shell, looks more like a Maybach than a Mercedes (Daimler owns Maybach though).

But 238HP from a 1.8L engine is amazing!

For some perspective...
Honda's 1.8L (used in the Civic) produces 140HP
Toyota's 1.8L (used in Scions and Corolla): 128HP

Granted these are not turbocharged, but Subaru's WRX uses a 2.5L turbocharged engine, and 'only' produces 224HP.

By otispunkmeyer on 9/12/2007 6:45:03 AM , Rating: 2
238 from 1.8 isnt bad is it

mad props still go to Mitsubishi for churning out 400bhp from a 2 liter tho

EVO VIII (possibly EVO 9) FQ400

that cars a little daft though, think it needs a service every 3000 miles and if your off the boost well you'll get out dragged by a fiat panda 1.2

VW have a similar concept only im not sure its a combo of the diesel/otto cycle, but they have a 170bhp 1.4 liter that uses a super charger and a turbo charger.

RE: Appearance better suited for the Maybach name
By FITCamaro on 9/12/2007 7:01:02 AM , Rating: 3
You can churn out as much horsepower as you want from an engine. The issue is maintaining driveability and reliability. And as you say, it requires a lot of maintenance.

I'd rather have 400hp from a V8 with 400 lb. ft. of torque and have access to that power whenever I want, not just when I reach a high enough RPM for the turbo to kick in. The gas mileage will be similar between the two.

RE: Appearance better suited for the Maybach name
By Verran on 9/12/2007 9:36:26 AM , Rating: 3
I'm really not a V8 kind of guy, but I'd have to agree here. In a light car like an Evo or STi, a little motor with a lot of turbo can be a blast. But I'd be more than willing to bet that this Merc isn't light. Quite the opposite, I'd imagine. So until you get into the high RPMs, this car's probably going to be a dog pulling all that weight on a little 1.8 without turbo assistance.

Sure, this will make respectable horsepower at high RPMs, but this doesn't look like a high RPM car to me. It looks like a comfort cruiser.

By Hare on 9/12/2007 10:34:31 AM , Rating: 2
You do know that they have twin turbos and variable turbos / mechanical chargers that change the wing angles etc? That means that higher end turbos pretty much work starting from idle rpm. I'm sure that they haven't just taken a cheap generic Bosh turbo and put it in their car...

RE: Appearance better suited for the Maybach name
By MightyAA on 9/12/2007 10:34:55 AM , Rating: 2
A good turbo car will have that powerband available at low revs too. My Saab Viggen for instance has a powerband that hits about 1800 rpm and goes nice and flat (230hp/256 lbs out of 2.3L). Also look at that new BMW turbo 6.

I love the rumble of a V8, but they aren't the most efficient. Turbos are fantastic for mileage since they only force induct when you need it... simply cruising barely uses the turbo. The result is a car like mine that gets 30mpg on the highway if I use a soft foot.

Personally, I'd love to see a small displacement direct injection V8 with dual turbos and cylinder deactivation. Tons of potential in that.

By theapparition on 9/12/2007 12:40:48 PM , Rating: 2
You can churn out as much horsepower as you want from an engine. The issue is maintaining driveability and reliability. And as you say, it requires a lot of maintenance.

Absolutely. For instance, Ferrari factory requirements are a complete engine rebuild every 3K. Pretty steep maintenence. When you go forced induction, you basically can crank up the boost to insane levels, however, the engine won't last long. Besides, it's pretty easy to get up to 300-400hp. Going past that is when things get tricky. Try 800hp. When you get to those power levels, everything has to be forged. But you can still get a reliable daily driver even with those power levels, if you do it right. I have over 20k in engine alone on my Z06.

As for the 238hp per 1.8L being impressive? I'm not necessarily swayed by the hp/L argument. The engine is an air pump device. The RX-7 had a 1.8L rotory TT that developed 255hp, but for racing rotory's were classed as engines that were 2X or 3X displacement, because of the equivalent mass of air that was moved. Now this is a conventional piston motor, but even then getting high hp is not a big feat. The engine can develope very low torque, yet be very high reving to compensate (hp=torque x RPM/5250). I've argued against hp/L for years. Who cares. Given two hypothetical 200hp engines, would you rather have a 1.0L that gets 10mpg or a 5.0L that gets 20mpg. And I think that's a better comparison, hp/mpg. And for that, i am very impressed that they have a car that gets to 60 in 7.5sec, developes 238hp (258), and still approaches 43mpg. Now, can they make it cost effective. Very nice accomplishment, but I'll stick with my 800+hp with close to 30mpg (assuming I keep right foot restraint).

BTW, forced induction sucks for racing. When you come off a corner and get into boost, you can find yourself loosing control very quickly. That's why you'll see almost all race cars go with large normally aspirated engines. Rally cars (which I have high respect for) are usually the only ones where you see turbos.

By GoatMonkey on 9/13/2007 8:16:43 AM , Rating: 2
I'd like to see a rotary with electric motor assist. You get the high horsepower in a small space from a rotary, and you would get the nice torque from an electric motor at low RPMs.

RE: Appearance better suited for the Maybach name
By PrinceGaz on 9/12/2007 10:06:49 AM , Rating: 2
400bhp from 2.0L is nothing like the 740hp that some cars with 2.4L engines are capable of delivering, and that is without any form of turbocharging or supercharging.

Admitedlly the cars with these 2.4L ~740hp engines are not common road cars and the engines don't last forever (designed to last for two F1 weekends), but its a lot better than 238hp from 1.8L.

By Hoser McMoose on 9/12/2007 6:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
If you're going to talk F1 engines, what about the old Honda engines from the 1980's. 740hp from a 2.4L engine? That's nothing! Try 1000hp+ from a 1.6L engine!

Proof positive that you can get damn near any amount of power out of a turbocharged engine if you're willing to spend the money and don't need it to last very long.

By GoatMonkey on 9/13/2007 8:19:38 AM , Rating: 2
In qualifying they ran closer to 1500hp. I wish they'd bring back turbos in F1.

By colonelclaw on 9/13/2007 8:23:35 AM , Rating: 2
indeed - Renault had a qualifying engine that was 1.5l and 1400 hp

i think it was supposed to be a bit scary to drive

By Samus on 9/12/2007 2:53:39 PM , Rating: 2
Have fun changing the headgasket every 30k on those EVO8 FQ400's. Job takes about 15 hours when all is said and done. It is definately not a well-designed car to work on.

They should have used a metal gasket. But we are talking about Mitsubishi.

RE: Appearance better suited for the Maybach name
By acer905 on 9/12/2007 7:27:11 AM , Rating: 2
The biggest problem with a tiny engine such as this is simply the speed they have to run at to offer the power. My car has a 2.2L I-4. And just to run freeway speeds i'm running at 3k rpm. Constantly running an engine at these speeds will wear it out much faster than say running a V8 which can easily run 1200-1500 at the same speeds (in a much heavier vehicle too)

Also, nothing beats the sound of a 7.0L V8 at full throttle with true dual exhaust... Gotta love the Corvette

By Hoser McMoose on 9/12/2007 11:03:30 AM , Rating: 2
Constantly running an engine at these speeds will wear it out much faster than say running a V8 which can easily run 1200-1500 at the same speeds

If all else where equal, what you say might be true, however all else is never equal.

Honda and Toyota (among others) have both managed to produced EXTREMELY reliable engines that are designed to run 3k+ rpm for extended periods of time.

Generally speaking these days every other part of the car will wear out before the engine will unless you're either not maintaining it properly or abusing the crap out of it.

By theapparition on 9/12/2007 1:02:20 PM , Rating: 2
Running any part at higher rotational speed hastens fatigue. Now the question is, does this fatigue reduce the life from 10 years to 3 (signifigant). Or from 100 years to 30 (meaningless).

Yes, I know years is not the proper measurement, but I was trying to make a point as simple as possible.

By DeepBlue1975 on 9/12/2007 3:19:41 PM , Rating: 2
3k is actually on the low speed for most european and japanese engines.

I know many people driving frequently beyond 4000rpm and having engines that keep going on with not more than standard maintenance for 200.000 miles or more.

The one thing for what you say, though, is that being able to cruise at 1500rpm will give you a much more quiet ride than having to go at 5000rpm. High engine noise becomes very disturbing in long trips.

By wired00 on 9/13/2007 2:52:03 AM , Rating: 2
my god, we're all doomed if there are many more people with your attitude!

subaru's which yes will cruise on a higher rpm than a v8 will last WELL over 250 thousand Kms. v8's are certainly a old technology which simply can't last into the future. They simply use too much fuel.

Once consumer available oil dries up we'll no doubt be using either small engine diesel cars running on biodiesel or hybrid electic/diesel. Any available farm grown ethernol will be soaked up by the air transport industry.

By Spoelie on 9/13/2007 4:11:10 AM , Rating: 2
I like a high revving engine's sound a lot better

but yes, it is a nice sound, only 'nothing beats' should be left out.

By RaisedinUS on 9/12/2007 8:50:53 AM , Rating: 2
Toyota 2ZZGE 1.8 had 180 HP. Later revised to 167-170 HP with the new HP rating system. Cars such as the Matrix XRS, Corolla XRS, Celica GTS and Lotus Elise have these engines.
Honda's Civic Type R has a 2.0 with 240 HP. So 238 HP isn't all that amazing to me.

By Brandon Hill on 9/12/2007 8:59:55 AM , Rating: 2
Too bad they have no low-end torque, something turbo motors excel at.

RE: Appearance better suited for the Maybach name
By jtemplin on 9/12/2007 10:31:00 AM , Rating: 2
You failed to mention a fact that would further bolster your point Mr. injection. Which MB calls DIESOTTO. This high pressure direct cylinder injection technology effectively increases octane, reducing knock, allowing for higher compression. Pre-direct injection, turbo + high compression was a big no-no, but this tech offers the best of both worlds. Which is to say improved low end power(read:driveability) and power all over really. Not to mention the fuel economy increase since the AFR can be leaner due to the more efficient dispersal of fuel molecules into the combustion chamber.

Cool site, sorta an advert, but explains some details on Bosch's latest DI tech plus has some cool graphs showing the difference between different DI setups (scroll to the bottom):

Another link I found mentioned that in addition to the nice 238 HP this engine is producing 295 lb/ft. Excellent.

By Spuke on 9/12/2007 11:48:12 AM , Rating: 2
DIESOTTO also has variable compression and auto-ignition (like a diesel motor).

RE: Appearance better suited for the Maybach name
By akyp on 9/12/2007 9:59:21 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah but can they do 44MPG? Doubtful.

I think Merc pulled some tricks with the transmission as well but that wasn't mentioned in the article.

By Zoomer on 9/17/2007 1:24:47 PM , Rating: 2
They would be using the 7Gtronic transmission, at the very least.

I think that was 7 forwards and 2 reverse gears.

By Martimus on 9/12/2007 10:18:39 AM , Rating: 2
The Volvo S60R has a turbo charged inline 2.5L, that produces 300 HP.

By Hoser McMoose on 9/12/2007 10:52:16 AM , Rating: 2
Toyota's produced a 180hp naturally aspirated 1.8L engine for use in their Celica GTS. That same engine was bumped up to 190hp for use in the Lotus Elise and Exige.

And as for Honda, their old Integra's used 1.8L naturally aspirated engines producing 170hp in the GSR trim, 190hp in the Type S trim and 200+ hp in some JDM models.

As for Subaru, their 224hp turbocharged engine is a 2.0L H4. The 2.5L turbocharged H4 is used in the STi model produces 300hp.

Ohh, and the above are all production cars, not prototypes.

238hp from a 1.8L turbocharged engine is impressive, but it's certainly not unheard of, especially in a concept vehicle. If you're building a very special purpose engine and you don't need to worry about cost and reliability you can get some obscene amounts of power out of turbocharged engines.

By bigpow on 9/12/2007 11:58:29 PM , Rating: 2
honda civic si 2L = 200HP NA (naturally aspirated)

toyota 1.8L = 190HP NA (inside lotus elise)

anything with turbo or supercharger are most likely less reliable & less efficient compared to NA engines

what do you get when you couple these amazing (& peaky) NA engines with electric motors? super sport hybrid with crazy speed & high MPG

why haven't they done it? I believe it's a marketing trick, trickle it drop by drop and let them keep coming back

By jmunjr on 9/13/2007 2:12:35 AM , Rating: 2
238hp from a 1.8L with turbos is no big deal at all. Hell they did similar achievements in the 80s...

The normally aspirated 2.0L engine in the S2000(now non-USA version) generates 240hp. No turbos.

By radializer on 9/13/2007 4:54:55 AM , Rating: 2
A small correction ... the Subaru Impreza WRX is rated at 224hp for the 2.0L turbocharged engine, not a 2.5L turbocharged engine.

The STi version of the WRX is the one with the 2.5L engine but is rated at 293hp, not 224hp ... this engine is intercooled and turbocharged.

RE: Appearance better suited for the Maybach name
By PrezWeezy on 9/13/2007 2:14:22 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize Daimler owns Benz too right?

By ninjit on 9/27/2007 1:10:16 PM , Rating: 2
Yes I know, I just missed the "too" in the bracketed comment.

Steering wheel
By regnez on 9/12/2007 12:19:24 AM , Rating: 3
That steering wheel looks terrible. It looks closer to a rectangle with rounded corners than a full blown circle. People who drive with one-handed, while letting the power steering straighten the car out after turns, are in for a nightmare.

RE: Steering wheel
By The Boston Dangler on 9/12/2007 12:22:51 AM , Rating: 2
Germans aren't lazy drivers

RE: Steering wheel
By Bluestealth on 9/12/2007 12:26:33 AM , Rating: 3
It's not a manual, what are you using the other for, texting?

RE: Steering wheel
By Hypernova on 9/12/2007 1:56:02 AM , Rating: 3
Working the "shift stick" maybe?

RE: Steering wheel
By Reignfyre on 9/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: Steering wheel
By acer905 on 9/12/2007 7:18:53 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps absolutely nothing? Some people just don't see the point to using two hands when one works just as well. Hell some people don't even use a full hand. Just a couple fingers is all ya need. Or you could have some body in the passenger seat whose hand you would like to hold

RE: Steering wheel
By clayclws on 9/12/2007 9:34:58 AM , Rating: 2
Or you could have some body in the passenger seat whose hand you would like to hold

What luxury cars are for ;)

RE: Steering wheel
By SilthDraeth on 9/12/2007 9:51:34 AM , Rating: 2
You seem to have missed the
It's not a manual
section there. These words imply that you CAN use both hands to drive since the automatic transmission shifts for you. So again, what are you using the other hand for?

And your sarcasm meter is broken. Why do you think he put it in quotation marks?

I drive an automatic, and only use 1 hand to steer unless it is excessively windy. Most men drive with only 1 hand.

RE: Steering wheel
By Martimus on 9/12/2007 10:13:20 AM , Rating: 3
The power steering doesn't straighten the car out, it is the intertia of the car. The power steering actually hinders the car moving back to center, because it allows you to apply more force to the wheels than you would be able to do without assist.

RE: Steering wheel
By jtemplin on 9/12/2007 10:46:09 AM , Rating: 2
I think your reading way too into the potential relation between a square wheel and people's driving habits... My first reaction when I saw this wheel was F1. I'll spare you the trouble of using google:

As another member previously commented, "keep in mind, concept cars are usually styling exercises or proof-of-concept tech demos."

Show cars don't have square steering wheels and ride on 22"ers for fun, its to show off, to look different/crazy/cool in a very crowded marketplace.

And just to be a snooty lil bastard, I did like 2 minutes of googling and easily found three examples of concepts with square wheels:

Fuel Efficient Land Yacht
By Bluestealth on 9/12/2007 12:24:15 AM , Rating: 1
I understand this is a prototype, but who is this car designed for?
Environmentally friendly multi-millionaires?
It is obviously destined to drive someone around, not to be driven.

I also think once again through awful control systems the Germans are proving to us that they can fit more features in a car than could ever possibly be used. Although having a center console that doesn't look like it belongs to Jumbo jet is a plus, it is quite ugly as executed here though.

While I like the exterior styling of the newer BMWs and most Mercedes, I hate the exterior of this "contraption", and dislike the dash's of almost all BMWs and Mercedes.
The amount of glass they managed in this car is impressive though.

RE: Fuel Efficient Land Yacht
By bunnyfubbles on 9/12/2007 1:08:02 AM , Rating: 1
I know, I'm not so sure why someone able to afford such a car would give a rat's ass about fuel efficiency. I guess its for the super rich road trippers that absolutely hate refueling?

RE: Fuel Efficient Land Yacht
By hubajube on 9/12/2007 1:43:18 AM , Rating: 3
Sometimes you guys are dumber than a box of hammers. This is a RESEARCH vehicle. They're using it for testing purposes. In order to perfect those power windows and ABS brakes and etc in customer cars, these technologies have to be tested FIRST. This is a rolling test bed for new technologies not a car that's hitting the road anytime soon. Does ANYONE read anymore?

RE: Fuel Efficient Land Yacht
By B166ER on 9/12/2007 2:14:59 AM , Rating: 2
EXACTLY! I swear some of you DailyTech people are TOO ridiculous to be even funny. Read the article fully before responding, PLEASE!

RE: Fuel Efficient Land Yacht
By Bluestealth on 9/12/2007 6:12:50 AM , Rating: 1
Yes I realize this was a research vehicle, but the overall design didn't make sense to me at all, which was why I was asking about why they would pair an ultra-efficient engine with a Maybach style car.

Yes I did read the entire article.

RE: Fuel Efficient Land Yacht
By otispunkmeyer on 9/12/2007 6:52:01 AM , Rating: 2
because pairing a ultra efficient engine in something like an A class wouldnt be remotely interesting

for instance where would they be able to show off the 20inch 3d display and all the advanced driving systems?

kit like that would never find its way to the bottom rung of the mercedes ladder for years either. this is for current S class owners to see what might appear on the next iteration of their car.

but i suppose the real answer to your question of why is simply: because they bloody well can.

RE: Fuel Efficient Land Yacht
By Spuke on 9/12/2007 11:56:09 AM , Rating: 2
It's a research vehicle not a production car. What doesn't make sense here? It doesn't have to conform to production requirements because.......(drum roll).... it's a research vehicle. It's purpose is for research.

Research - "Systematic investigation to establish facts." "Attempt to find out in a systematically and scientific manner."

RE: Fuel Efficient Land Yacht
By DeepBlue1975 on 9/12/2007 3:29:10 PM , Rating: 2

That's the only thing most concept cars are for: technology showcasing, research, and studying audience's reactions.
Many people seem to be confusing pre-production prototypes with concept cars, that not necessarily have the goal of becoming production line material.

RE: Fuel Efficient Land Yacht
By Bluestealth on 9/13/2007 12:26:32 AM , Rating: 2
I am sorry then, I am not impressed by their so called "research". It doesn't seem that there is really anything original in the entire car. The only thing that really seems to be in research is a new suspension, and a power train that will never be used(Although the engine may end up in other cars). Another crappy user interface isn't really exciting.

Simply stating that by removing the console controls that the driver will be more focused on the road means nothing. Most well designed radio/cabin controls can be operated by a free hand without taking your eyes off the road.

Mercedes is a fairly innovative company too, and I realize that many of their advances have lead to great improvements in vehicle safety.

This "car" seemed to be a display for all their new technologies rather than a resource tool. Kind of like a marketing item. Which is why I felt it was more a prototype of many things rather than a research vehicle.

As you said yourself it is for technology showcasing and gauging audience reactions, I don't feel much research is being done.

It is not that I don't understand what it is... its that I do not understand why some of it is what it is.

RE: Fuel Efficient Land Yacht
By DeepBlue1975 on 9/13/2007 9:34:23 AM , Rating: 2
Forget about the 123512531" LCD and maybe also a bit about the "fashion gizmo-like" interface, and the trick of using a fish-eye lens to give the impression of a huge interior in the picture :D

The real promise of that concept car is the technology used in its engine: small engine with high power output and drastically reduced fuel consumption, all at the same time, meaning that they are showcasing that a high efficiency engine that's also suitable for fast and even sports cars is achievable.

Most "high specific power engines" have fairly low low-end torque, and undoubtedly high fuel consumption: this one seems to address all the problems at the same time.

Just imagine a sports car putting 500+ hp from a 4L V6 engine, and using maybe even less fuel as what today would eat a 2L "high power" engine, and am not even talking about comparing it to a 8L V10 engine yielding the same power output with surely many times more consumption.

I'm really not that "wowed" by the other details, but the engine really gets me interested.

Is everybody in this forum a racing car driver?
By rogard on 9/13/2007 11:36:17 AM , Rating: 2
Whenever I find a discussion on dailytech about auto technology, I find it hard to believe that most of the postings are about raw horsepower. It seems that many posters believe their car should have 400+ hp (to safely get onto the motorway, is it?) I am from Germany, so you bet I know some things about going fast in a car, and I have driven a car in several countries, including the US, Canada and half of Europe. I think I never happened to be in a situation where the acceleration of my 75 HP 2300 lbs car was not sufficient. I totally agree that it's nice to have a powerful car, and I love acceleration (hence the motorbike, 3.3 secs 0-60).
But as long as your car is as fast as the average truck, you're fine. You can either use muscle or brains, I'd say.

What really astonishes me is that most of you completely lose focus on what seems to be important. In this case, Mercedes try to construct a luxury car with all the modcons, blingbling, bells and whistles that does not consume enormous amounts of fuel. And that is the real point here: Wouldn't it be nice to have a big car that is fast ENOUGH and goes 40+ mpg?
Yes, because you could consider it even cool to be "environmental friendly".
(Personally, I'd find it even cooler to get a smaller, lighter and therefore more fuel efficient car, but I'm European...) I am ok with my car, it is fast enough to swim with the traffic, and that's what is most important. This is not a race, or is it?

As long as the first things that come to people's mind are top speed, torque and BHP, something really needs to change.
As long as a car is more of a status symbol and expression of one's ...personality than a reliant vehicle to get from A to B, nothing will change. Pity. I have to include myself, too. I admit I ride my bike just for fun. But in the end, sooner or later something has to happen. I hope in the future we can have both, a vehicle that is efficient and fun to drive.

Ok, I brace myself for the impact.... this is my first posting here, so have mercy.

RE: Is everybody in this forum a racing car driver?
By acer905 on 9/13/2007 11:44:49 AM , Rating: 2
I understand what you are saying. However, i feel differently. Personally i have a large dislike for small cars, for several different reasons. In pure honesty the cars i like most are mid 60's US muscle cars, they are in my opinion a good size, very stylish, and sturdy. I don't like plastic cars, it always feels cheap to me. Thus in my mind where cars are still the size of a 67 GTO, or a 59 Cadillac Eldorado, then horsepower is a big deal.

RE: Is everybody in this forum a racing car driver?
By rogard on 9/13/2007 12:00:22 PM , Rating: 2
I hear you, and those cars ARE pretty cool. But so are knights with claymores, steam engines, castles, electricity almost for free, fuel for virtually nothing, clean air etc. But the world is changing, and those cars are venerable dinosaurs, aren't they? Whether you believe in Global Warming or not, fact is the fossil fuel age is slowly coming to an end. We all need to adapt to that, sooner or later. It's not about coolness or fascination, it's about reason and make do with what's left.

RE: Is everybody in this forum a racing car driver?
By acer905 on 9/13/2007 12:06:33 PM , Rating: 2
That all depends on how much money one has. Personally if i had the money to restore an old GTO i'd drive it every day i could. Because if i had enough money to restore one i wouldn't have to care about gas prices. And to ensure that i could always drive it, i'd simply buy many many barrels of crude oil, and a small refinery (because i'd have enough to do it) so that for the rest of my life i could always have gas for my car.

However in the real world of a working college student... i drive a Chevy Cobalt... without power windows or cruise control.

By rogard on 9/13/2007 12:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
Money is THE big issue. If one can afford the top of the line Mercedes, one does not have to worry about fuel consumption (it's often paid for by your employer anyway).
But for me, it is important. (Working student, too) Here in Germany, 1 gallon of fuel costs about 4.5$ Should I go on...?

I drive a 9 year old Ford Escort (dunno if you have them there) that goes around 30 mpg, which is tolerable, but not good. Modern cars of the same size go 40 mpg, and they are even faster. If I could afford a new car, no limits, I would go for the most efficient one. Medium sized station wagon maybe. Diesel, probably.

By The Boston Dangler on 9/13/2007 7:25:23 PM , Rating: 2
welcome to anandtech. your english language skills are better than most americans.

By The Boston Dangler on 9/13/2007 7:26:12 PM , Rating: 2
eh, welcome to dailytech

By Calin on 9/15/2007 9:30:28 AM , Rating: 2
Better than most americans' ?

holy crap
By Gul Westfale on 9/12/07, Rating: 0
RE: holy crap
By The Boston Dangler on 9/12/2007 12:15:05 AM , Rating: 2
i like the MBs, but BMW's recent style is hideous.

RE: holy crap
By Hare on 9/12/2007 12:19:09 AM , Rating: 2
a matter of taste. I personally like the new BMW's a lot more than anything that comes from the States or the Japan.

...but I got to admit that the older BMW's had something that the newer models are lacking. I think the E46 is one of the best cars ever produced when it comes to style. The design is >10y old but it still looks fresh. I guess style doesn't go away like fashion...

RE: holy crap
By Bluestealth on 9/12/2007 12:25:16 AM , Rating: 2
A lot of the designs to come out of Japan as of late are pretty tame and boring, so I don't blame you.

RE: holy crap
By Polynikes on 9/12/2007 8:00:49 AM , Rating: 2
And some, like the new Nissan Sentra, are just ugly as crap.

RE: holy crap
By exanimas on 9/12/2007 1:49:07 AM , Rating: 1
I couldn't agree more with you. I think the new Mercedes C-Class W204s are much less attractive than the older W203, and same for BMW with the E46 being much better looking than the newer models (I'm not sure, E90 maybe?). Either way, I wouldn't mind having this cars engine in mine. 258HP with 44mpg? Not bad at all considering I'm getting much less MPG than that with much less HP. I'm just curious when this engine tech will actually be in production and affordable.

RE: holy crap
By Hoser McMoose on 9/12/2007 5:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
Personal preference I suppose. Personally I find most new Mercedes to be rather ho-hum in the looks department (E and S series especially boring) with a few being very ugly in my mind (B, G and R series). There a few good standouts among the Merc. designs (SLK, CLK and of course the bad-ass SLR), but most of those are so far out of my price range that they don't really count :)

On the other hand I'm rather fond of the new BMW styling. I think it works VERY well on the 1 and 7-series and reasonably well on most Z, 3 and 5 series (though I think I still liked the E46 design better for the 3 series). I don't like the new 6-series as much, but I think that's mainly just because it seems stupid to make such a big car into a coupe these days (it no longer buys you anything for performance, just makes getting in and out harder). I'm kind of indifferent on their SUVs (why the heck would anyone buy a BMW for hauling or offroading anyway?!), with the X6 being the worst of the bunch.

Anyway, as always opinions on looks are going to vary from one person to the next.

RE: holy crap
By Operandi on 9/12/2007 12:59:31 AM , Rating: 2
Excluding this thing I think the new Mercedes and BMW's look great.

RE: holy crap
By nofranchise on 9/12/2007 9:56:12 AM , Rating: 2
Well - whatever the new Mercs, BMW's, Nissans etc. look like, they are all more or less supermodel cars compared with most designs from Motor City. Unless you're talking concept or muscle cars that is...

By The Boston Dangler on 9/12/2007 12:12:37 AM , Rating: 3
I don't remember seeing BMW's prototypes/testbed before they released the iDrive monster. "iDrive" even the name sucks.

I wonder if all the electricals, excluding the propulsion, run on 12V. That's a lot of amps. I also wonder if any of them will keep Daimler-Chrysler's German stockholders from lynching the execs that thought buying Chrysler was a good idea.

RE: Gadgetpalooza
By derwin on 9/12/2007 2:05:12 AM , Rating: 3
Im not certain, but a lot of the techs in this car sound very similar to techs a lot of american car companies probably have pattents for. Perhaps the aquisition of D-C was in part for this purpose.

Also, I am surprised that you are one of the only people as astonished as I am that some day soon some of these features will be hitting the road. I really like the idea of the near HUD going on where the dash is. More than likely thats where our "monitors" are gonna be. Put a keyboard in and lock the steering to our upper arms, and you can do your homework or write a report while you drive.

RE: Gadgetpalooza
By masher2 on 9/12/2007 9:02:45 AM , Rating: 3
> "I wonder if all the electricals, excluding the propulsion, run on 12V"

Very unlikely. The sheer weight of the cables required to power a large electric motor at 12V would be prohibitive alone.

For comparison, the electric motor in a Prius runs on 600V.

RE: Gadgetpalooza
By The Boston Dangler on 9/12/2007 9:37:42 AM , Rating: 2
"excluding the propulsion"

RE: Gadgetpalooza
By masher2 on 9/12/2007 9:43:34 AM , Rating: 2
My apologies. I read that twice, and could have sworn you said "including the propulsion".

Back wheel
By Hare on 9/12/2007 12:15:06 AM , Rating: 2
A transparent cover for the back wheels. Why? It looks weird not to mention what it would look like when there's dust and mud on it. (Secret accessory? Space in the trunk for a built in washer boy).

RE: Back wheel
By The Boston Dangler on 9/12/2007 12:21:06 AM , Rating: 2
keep in mind, concept cars are usually styling exercises or proof-of-concept tech demos. most of them don't even run under their own power. you're right tho, Maybach should offer a midget or trained monkey or something.

RE: Back wheel
By otispunkmeyer on 9/12/2007 6:56:34 AM , Rating: 2
well ferrari F1 team use plastic covers over their wheels on the F1 car, last year they had them on the rear, but this year they got them on the fronts as well. theres probably a very good aerodynamic reason for it. there is with the F1 car.

this is the way forward, we wont need super massive engines move us about, advances in materials and aerodynamics will ensure we have slippery and astonishingly light weight cars that simply dont need huge quantities of power to move.

Steering Wheel
By Atreus21 on 9/12/2007 10:49:43 AM , Rating: 2
Okay, I've been wondering this for awhile.

At exactly what time did a designer say, "You know, I'm tired of circular steering wheels. Let's make a square steering wheel"?

Look out for triangles next. It's the polygon revolution.

RE: Steering Wheel
By onelittleindian on 9/12/2007 11:13:41 AM , Rating: 2
I remember seeing triangular steering wheels in some science fiction movie...can't remember which one.

RE: Steering Wheel
By GoatMonkey on 9/13/2007 8:26:04 AM , Rating: 1
It worked for KITT, so it must be awesome.

The most interesting bit
By masher2 on 9/12/2007 9:25:22 AM , Rating: 2
Not explicitly stated in the article was the most interesting bit of technology. The engine apparently uses a variant of HCCI -- homogenous charge compression ignition. This allows it to operate on the diesel cycle, igniting the fuel through direct compression, rather than using a spark plug like a typical gas engine.

RE: The most interesting bit
By Hoser McMoose on 9/12/2007 5:31:04 PM , Rating: 2
I agree! This is HUGE !

I'm not sure why this isn't being highlighted more because it's undoubtedly the biggest innovation in this whole vehicle. Not only does an HCCI engine promise improved fuel economy but it should also significantly reduce emissions.

The basic concept of an HCCI engine has been reasonably well known for quite some time, but actually getting it to work reliably enough even for just a concept vehicle is another matter altogether.

The trick to this engine, from my understanding at least, is that it can operate either as a standard spark-ignition engine or as an HCCI engine, depending on the RPMs. This might not be an ideal setup and could result in engine drive-ability that leaves a bit to be desired, but it's still hugely interesting from a technical perspective.

not for me
By tjr508 on 9/12/2007 3:14:02 AM , Rating: 2
lots of tech. nothing new. looks like another complicated mess that will ensure MB to keep its place near the bottom of consumer reports reliability results where it has been for many years.

I guess...
By DeepBlue1975 on 9/12/2007 3:01:32 PM , Rating: 2
The power extracted from that engine is not the main attraction.

To put it into perspective: Ferrari F40, launched in 1987, featured a 3 litre engine outputting 478bhp, that is almost 160bhp a litre, compared to the "meagre" 132 this one says.

Direct injection, direct compression and turbo charging, I guess are not used in this showcase engine just to say "look what a massive amount of power we can extract from this", but rather to say that you can have:

1- engines with very high specific power to volume ratio, for use in everyday cars (if I didn't hear about people complaining about the F40's engine likeability to break, I don't know why this, with so much less specific power would be a concern)
2- besides that, engines very efficient in the use of combustibles.
3- as a bonus, same low and high end torque than much larger engines, thanks to sequential boosting AND the fact that HCCI engines put out more torque at the lower end.

Most car with 1.8 engines that I know of, have a fuel consumption that's roughly double than the quoted for the one in the article.

I welcome this initiatives trying to overcome the fact that our internal combustion engines have a power efficiency of 35% in ideal cases (that is: roughly for every 3 litres of burnt fuel, only 1 ends up moving your car and the other two just turn into heat)

Suicide Door and Wheel?
By Egglick on 9/12/2007 11:08:17 PM , Rating: 2
If you look at the top-down photo, it looks like this car has a single suicide door on the right, but not the left. What would be the purpose of that?

Also, if you look at the top pic, there's something weird going on at the top of the rear wheel.

By autooracle on 9/12/2007 11:58:28 PM , Rating: 2
INSIDE: Looks like the designer of the Honda Civic and someone at Mercedes were in bed together.

REAR: Looks like a mutant R Class with a trunk.

SIDE: Futuristic, but might be to aggressive for us simple minded American's to handle.

FRONT: Very nice, I would incorporate this on the redesign of up and coming models.

Corporate Defection
By colonelclaw on 9/13/2007 8:25:54 AM , Rating: 2
Did Chris Bangle covertly join Mercededs recently?

This thing is hideous!

By DeepBlue1975 on 9/13/2007 1:50:13 PM , Rating: 2
This is another interesting conecpt, though the article doesn't talk too much about the engine itself other than it's a 0.75 litre, 150hp engine running on E85:

I kinda like it, though I don't find the body too original cos it reminds me so much of the Ford Indigo.

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