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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: 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.

"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot

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