2010 Geneva Auto Show: Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept
Anchoring its display at Geneva, the Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept is a "research vehicle" that represents the automaker's thinking on how to best blend visual and technological elements in a way that will make the premium sedan genre more attractive to consumers as well as friendlier to the environment. Beyond any of its longer-term design implications, this futuristic four-door further confirms the literal shape of things to come in the next-generation CLS-Class, a vehicle which M-B had previously teased with a "sculpture" it displayed at the recent Detroit Auto Show .
Underlying the F800 Style Concept's boldly contoured bodywork is an all-new multi-drive platform that can accommodate both conventional Plug-in Hybrid as well as fuel-cell powered electric drive systems. In this case, it's the former, which pairs a 300-horsepower gasoline-burning V6 with a 109-horse electric motor module integrated into its seven-speed automatic transmission (as used in the current S400 HYBRID) fed by a Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack located under the rear seat. Mercedes says that combination will allow the F800 Style Concept to run 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds and top out at 155mph. In pure EV mode, it can provide the same level of acceleration, but top end is trimmed to 75 mph and range drops to 18 miles. Based around components already developed for its modular EV/hybrid packages, M-B indicates this Plug-in Hybrid system is the de facto precursor to the setup we'll see in the S500 Plug-in Hybrid that will arrive along with the next-generation S-Class lineup.
Using the latest, most compact iterations of elements introduced in its experimental BlueZero F-Cell vehicles, the fuel-cell variant of the F800 Style Concept is fitted with a 136-horsepower electric motor that makes 214 lb.-ft. of torque which gets sent to the rear rather than the front wheels and gives the car an effective range of nearly 375 miles. Like its Plug-in Hybrid counterpart, the fuel-cell F800 Style sacrifices no interior space to attain its true zero-emissions status.
The F800 Style Concept's cabin also reflects a similar kind of advanced thinking -- starting with the presence of rear-hinged rear doors that slide out and back plus the absence of a B-pillar that collectively ease access/egress in close quarters. Inside, the airy and contemporary theme continues with magnesium and carbon-fiber seat-framing elements matched with traditional leather and wood trim in a most non-traditional way. Other enhancements of the more real-world variety include an update to M-B's multi-function COMAND system that brings a new and more intuitive camera-assisted touchpad input methodology as well as a "Range-on-Map" function that shows the remaining distance the car can run on electric power alone and the location of local charging stations.
Finally the Mercedes-Benz F800 Style Concept boasts a pair of technical innovations that are definitely headed for production status in the very near future. Its distance-sensing Distronic Plus cruise control has been upgraded with a Traffic Jam Assistant feature. Operational at speeds up to 25 mph, this industry-first adjunct automatically compensates for car-to-car clearance intervals while the vehicle is maneuvering through corners as well as in a straight line. The F800 Style Concept also introduces a meaningful tweak to Mercedes' existing Pre-Safe accident mitigation system. Now dubbed Pre-Safe 360 degrees, this iteration monitors the area behind as well as ahead of the vehicle. In addition to engaging various existing elements in the Pre-Safe system, it also applies the brakes about 600 milliseconds before any anticipated rear-end collision.