Vehicle: Mercedes-Benz F 700
Introduced in: September 2007
Where: Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA)
Goal: Combining outstanding ride comfort with a high standard of environmental compatibility, good performance and unusually low fuel consumption
Four-cylinder DIESOTTO engine (1.8-litre displacement, 175 kW/238 hp) combined with a hybrid module (15 kW/20 hp)
DIESOTTO engine, combining the strengths of the low-emission petrol engine with the diesel engine’s fuel economy
PRE-SCAN suspension: identification of road condition in advance and corresponding adjustment of the electro-hydraulically controlled active suspension
PRE-SCAN door: laser scanner in the base of the exterior mirror on the driver’s side to identify obstacles in the door opening range
Novel SERVO-HMI operating concept
Innovative, generously large and flexible interior concept including the REVERSE seat in the rear
LED driving lights and daytime driving lights
Contour illumination all round
The Mercedes-Benz F 700 outlines the future of travel in all comfort. It demonstrates innovative approaches and technologies for using resources sparingly, protecting the environment, relieving driver and passengers of stress and permitting them to travel in a completely relaxed style.
At the heart of the F 700 is the DIESOTTO engine which combines the advantages of the low-emission petrol engine with the fuel economy of the diesel. With controlled homogeneous charge compression ignition, the diesel principle of controlled compression ignition is incorporated in a petrol engine for the first time. Thanks to homogeneous combustion at reduced reaction temperatures, nitrogen oxide emissions are minimised.
Over and above this, the reduction in displacement and the number of cylinders improves the degree of efficiency. The F 700 is powered by a compact four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 1.8 litres, which nevertheless affords the superior performance of a luxury-class saloon. A two-stage turbocharger is responsible for the engine’s excellent response and high-torque accelerating power. In addition, the internal combustion engine is supported by the electric motor of the hybrid module for starting off. Maximum output is 175 kW (238 hp); the electric motor develops another 15 kW (20 hp), and the system’s maximum torque is as high as 400 newton metres. Acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.5 seconds testifies to the dynamism of the F 700 whose top speed is limited to 200 km/h (124 mph). Despite this outstanding performance, the F 700 has a fuel consumption in the European Driving Cycle of just 5.3 litres (44.3 mpg), which corresponds to carbon dioxide emissions of 127 grams – an extremely low level for a car of this size.
Suspension with anticipatory intelligence
The research car is also taking a major step ahead where its suspension engineering is concerned. With its active PRE-SCAN suspension, the car not only reacts highly sensitively to uneven patches of road surface but also acts in an anticipatory manner.
PRE-SCAN uses two laser sensors in the headlamps as “eyes” which produce a precise picture of the condition of the road. On this basis, the control unit computes the parameters for the settings of the active suspension in order to provide the highest level of comfort – it is not without reason that the engineers refer to the “flying carpet”.
The eyes of the F 700
The headlamps of the F 700 are a futuristic version of the brand’s characteristic four-eye face. Two vertical rows of LED line arrays with lenses mounted in front of them serve as driving lights. A third vertical row of individual high-performance LEDs is used as daytime driving lights. Together with the all-round contour illumination, the lights give the F 700 an unmistakable appearance also at night.
Even the driver’s door “watches” its environment closely. A highly compact laser scanner is accommodated in the base of the exterior mirror on this PRE-SCAN door, which checks the door-opening range for obstacles. If the door threatens to be banged against an obstacle, it is locked in position by a controllable hydraulic cylinder.
“Aqua Dynamic” – a new design language
The design of the F 700 is characterised by soft, flowing lines. The designers refer to “Aqua Dynamic” when talking about this form language which they used to translate the flow dynamics of fish into the design of a special automobile. What’s more, the design signals instantly that occupants have particularly generous space at their disposal. With its exterior length of 5.18 metres, the F 700 is slightly shorter than the long-wheelbase version of the S-Class from the W 221 series, but with a wheelbase length of 3.45 metres, the research car exceeds the production model by as much as 28.5 centimetres. The side view of the F 700 is dominated by the dynamically arching roof contour and shoulder line.
Light and elegant interior
The generously large and flexible interior is not only made visible from the outside by the long wheelbase. The impression of generous space is also visually enhanced by two large glazed roof sections. Thanks to the use of natural materials such as leather and cork and a harmonious color scheme with shades of brown and beige, the interior has a light and elegant appeal and expresses high-grade quality.
The rear door on the right-hand side (near side) is hinged at the rear. This “reversed” direction of movement facilitates access to the REVERSE seat – another innovation in the F 700. The REVERSE seat is the key element of a novel seating concept and a newly developed design idea for the rear seat on the right-hand side (near side). It replaces the conventional, fixed arrangement of seats in a saloon and permits individual seating and rest positions both in the direction of travel and facing away from the direction of travel.
Relax position and cinematic atmosphere
The F 100 accommodates four people in the classic arrangement, with all of them facing in the direction of travel. If the front passenger’s seat is unoccupied, the rear seat on the right-hand side (near side) can be adjusted to a relax position at the push of a button. In addition, the REVERSE seat can be positioned so that the occupant faces away from the direction of travel – to talk to his or her neighbour seated opposite, to work, to rest or to enjoy audiovisual entertainment. A monitor with a screen size of 51 centimetres, 3D technology and surround sound system creates a cinematic atmosphere.
More convenient and easier operation
For the F 700 the Mercedes-Benz engineers have developed an entirely new display concept and further developed the proven COMAND control concept, incorporating a whole range of pioneering innovations. These include:
SERVO-HMI, which reduces eye fatigue by increasing the viewing distance.
Speech recognition via a virtual operating assistant (AVATAR) to facilitate the control of complex functions using spoken dialogue.
Reduced control functions through increased automation.
Rotary/pushbutton controller with added slide function.
Entertainment system with Roadview and three-dimensional cinema.
As a contribution to stress-relieving safety the research engineers have developed the SERVO-HMI for the F 700. The driving and vehicle information which it displays appears at the bottom edge of the windshield but, optically, appears a bit further away. When viewing the displays the eyes no longer have to shift from far to near vision to the extent usually required today, and therefore are subject to much less strain.
Navigation, communication/telephone and audio/entertainment are operated by a rotary/pushbutton controller on the centre console.
Climate-related well-being is an essential element of the sense of comfort aboard an automobile. An unobtrusively regulated, draft-free automatic climate control is thus an obvious equipment feature. The unit is operated by a separate rotary/pushbutton controller on the centre console. The control automatically recognises whether it is being used by the driver or front passenger and, accordingly, activates the climate control for the left or the right side.
For more complex input functions, innovative support is provided by an individual assistant known as AVATAR in computer language. In the F 700, the AVATAR comes in the guise of a young woman. She engages in a dialogue with the driver, asking for the destination in the navigation menu, for instance, and confirming the voice input. Her functions are similar in selecting a number from the telephone directory or in tuning in to the desired radio station.
This form of dialogue simplifies voice control for the driver and improves the speech recognition by the system. What’s more, the scope of dialogue assistance functions can be expanded almost infinitely. The AVATAR may for instance serve as a virtual assistant and access online databases via an internet link on board the car, make new entries in the driver’s appointment calendar or read out important emails. Through dialogue-controlled operation, distractions are reduced to a minimum – safety is, after all, writ large at Mercedes-Benz at all times.