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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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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.

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