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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.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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