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2007 IAA International Motor Show: The Mercedes-Benz F 700 Research Car
Posted September 11th, 2007 At 10:30 AM CST

1. The new Mercedes-Benz research car
2. The F 700's design
3. The technology and technical data of the F 700


The design: New forms for an exceptionally comfortable and efficient automobile

  • Flowing lines as expression of dynamics and efficiency

  • Long wheelbase determines the proportions

  • Interior enhances personal freedom in a completely new way

Stuttgart, Sep 11, 2007
Advanced Design means giving shape to the future at Mercedes-Benz. Technically, every research car is a laboratory on wheels which, with new concepts, gives initial answers to the question of the further development of mobility. Parallel to this, Advanced Design as part of the Design unit of the Mercedes Car Group pursues research into the styling of the future: What trends in technology and society will change our perceptions of the automobile in the next years and decades? What messages should cars send out through their design to the world around them in future? And with what stylistic devices can the design idiom of Mercedes-Benz be refined and supplemented? “The research cars might be called the free program of the Design unit. The impact of formal elements can be tested in them without having a direct bearing on a coming production vehicle,” says Professor Peter Pfeiffer, Senior Vice President Design, Mercedes Car Group.

But one aspiration always is the focus of attention: a research car should embody all brand values of a Mercedes-Benz. The preview of things to come always must be designed against the backdrop and with the awareness of being the most tradition-steeped automobile brand in the world. This applies to the F 700 even more so than to its predecessors in the line of research cars: the F 700 does, after all, represent classic core competencies of the brand Mercedes-Benz as a superior touring sedan – comfortable transportation in an unperturbed style especially over long distances, and at the same time a befitting and altogether status-conscious manner.

The exterior design: Inspired by nature

The F 700 is a futuristic interpretation of the classic sedan theme. It combines generous spaciousness and outstanding comfort with a claim to particular environmental friendliness and intelligent communication through the innovative control and display concept. In its design, inspirations from nature join together with consciously displayed technical innovations. Flowing, smooth surfaces and precise, tense lines merge into a harmonious overall shape – the embodiment of an automobile which is as efficient as it is luxurious.

The styling of the F 700 took shape in the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Irvine, California . The basic form of the F 700 unmistakably is inspired by nature. As already had been practiced in the Mercedes-Benz bionic car, a 2005 concept car, ideas and construction principles from nature were adopted.

“Aqua Dynamic” is what the designers term this design idiom. As direct quote a “back fin” adorns the roof; it is used for antennas, the reversing camera and the third brake light.

The very first glimpse of the F 700 shows that an extraordinary amount of space has been given to the occupants here – technology takes a back seat as it were. The silhouette is dominated by the unusually long wheelbase: with overall length being 5.18 meters, the distance between axles attains the imposing length of 3.45 meters. For comparison: the overall length of the F 700 makes it shorter than the long-wheelbase version of the current S-Class, but the F 700 wheelbase exceeds that of the current model by impressive 28.5 centimeters. The front end is correspondingly short – the particularly compact DIESOTTO drive makes this possible.

Tense lines create stretched elegance

The side view is defined by highly tense curves. This is true of the roof contour, but especially of the concise shoulder line: it starts out by continuing the line created by the front wheel arch a short way, and then carries over in a sweeping curve to the rear end. This tense line gives the F 700, painted in ALU-BEAM technique in the color gold, its dynamism and elegance.

The distinctive front fenders likewise are inspired by a current production model, the S-Class. But here again the theme has been taken further and the fenders have been very distinctly sculpted. The side skirts are gently integrated into the flowing forms. The door handles are recessed and the exterior mirrors are little works of art – nothing should unnecessarily resist the flow of air. The 21-inch wheels are designed like turbine blades. Luminescent strips on the wheel arches emphasize the contours and size of the tires. The transparent cover over the rear wheels enhances aerodynamic efficiency.

It is not only the long wheelbase which provides an indication of the unusual, extremely spacious and flexible interior concept – before one even sees the inside. The two large glazed areas in the roof, as a transparent link between inside and out, are suggestive of the inside breadth which the interior conveys. A special feature is the right rear door: whereas the three other doors open conventionally (hinges at the forward edge, handles at the rear), the fourth door is hinged at the rear. This facilitates boarding and leaving for the passenger when the REVERSE seat is positioned opposite the direction of travel.

Despite the futuristic design idiom, the F 700 definitely is a Mercedes-Benz. An essential element of the brand identity is the clear-cut radiator grille, which emphasizes elegance and status. No other manufacturer has refined the radiator grille over the decades with such consistency as Mercedes-Benz.

The headlamp units also clearly follow the styling tradition of Mercedes-Benz. Despite highly innovative elements like laser scanners or LED driving lights they take up the twin-headlamp motif and interpret it in a vertical form with sophisticated stylistic devices. The laser scanners that gather roadway data for the active PRE-SCAN suspension are positioned on the outside. They make the light units veritable eyes of the vehicle: different from any conventional automobile the F 700 “sees” and reads the condition of the road ahead.

Looks that reveal a strong character, by day or night
Visually separated from the laser scanner by a painted rib is the driving light function employing all LED technology. The light units consisting of linear LED arrays are arranged in two vertical rows. Each linear LED array has a lens superposed. A third vertical row of individual high-performance LEDs functions as daytime driving light. Together with the wraparound contour lights they give the F 700 an unmistakable appearance even by night.

The rear end completes the flowing silhouette of the F 700. The C-pillars are drawn far back and the backlight is inserted at a shallow angle. The lightly formed wheel arches and the gently molded trunk lid in turn bridge the gap between the rich history of the Mercedes-Benz brand and its future. The rear end is inspired by the vehicles of the 1940s and 1950s, but is reinterpreted with stylistic devices of the present and future: the tail lights take up the vertical LED light strips of the headlamps, the integral spoiler lip is aerodynamically optimized, and finally the diffusor in the rear apron permits the efficient treatment of air flow.

Interior design: Harmonic balance between technology and nature

The very first glance into the interior of the F 700 conveys a clear message: comfortable travel and well-being are interpreted in a completely new way on board this vehicle. The spacious interior, the innovative, multifunctional configuration of the seats, or the use of elegant but natural materials enable an extremely relaxed form of transportation.

Resource-conserving mobility will gain ever increasing significance in future according to the analyses of the DaimlerChrysler futurologists. The conservation of energy reserves refers not only to fuel and the environment, but just as much to the well-being of the passengers: For many people, the distances they cover will not increase, but the time they spend on the road will. The traffic in the rapidly growing megacities of this planet calls for mobile living spaces which afford highest comfort on wheels.

An essential component of this well-being is the freedom of movement inside the vehicle and the possible seating alternatives. The F 700 breaks up the conventional, rigid seating order of the touring sedan (with its two seats in the first row and two more in the back). The heart of the novel seat concept in the Mercedes-Benz research car is the REVERSE seat – a completely new design thought out for the right rear seat, permitting individual seat positions both facing the direction of travel and in the opposite direction.

So the interior offers very different possibilities for use: Four persons sit in the conventional manner facing the direction of travel. When the front passenger seat is unoccupied it can be moved all the way forward to its park position to create room for the relax mode: extremely large legroom, a large footrest and a tilted REVERSE seat ensure relaxed travel even over long distances.

The automobile as a private room

At the push of a button the innovative seat swivels in the opposite direction: The back seat passenger no longer looks to the front, but turns his attention away from the road. He “retires”, can hold a confidential chat face to face with his companion on the left rear seat. He can work, enjoy the entertainment program or simply take a rest. Owing to the REVERSE seat’s variability, this sedan affords entirely new freedoms for traveling in complete ease.

Of course, the high-quality, elegant and light interior design of the F 700 also conduces to relaxed travel. It thrives on the tension between clear-cut, direct forms and organic, living surfaces; it displays harmony in its colors and variation in its materials. The blueprint from the Advanced Design Studio in Como, Italy, interprets the future of the luxurious sedan in warm colors, in harmonious brown and beige tones, combining “technical” surfaces with surfaces featuring natural materials like cork and leather.

The innovative technology in the F 700 creates the basis for the impression of spaciousness and clarity: the innovative SERVO display at the base of the windshield employs mirror reflection technology to render the massive hood of a conventional instrument panel superfluous. The cockpit is shallow and low-profile. And owing to the radically simplified control and display concept, the number of switches is reduced to a minimum. The slim hood at the front, at the windshield, is used entirely as an outlet for the draft-free automatic climate control.

Inner harmony of colors and materials

The balance and harmony of the color scheme is the result of a combination of brown leather, matching Alcantara and open-pored cork for the door liners, the roof lining or the center console, which runs all the way through the interior. The seats are upholstered in beige leather with middle portions in matching Alcantara. Painted aluminum can be found on all operating panels and the SERVO-HMI.

Transformation by the REVERSE seat

The trick of changing around the interior with the REVERSE seat is accomplished at the push of a button: the front passenger seat moves all the way forward into its parking position; as it does so the backrest partly folds down into the cockpit. Huge legroom now is available to the right rear passenger. A footrest can be extended and the entire seat can be placed in a flat relax position.

But the REVERSE can do much more. As the front passenger seat moves forward the REVERSE seat also travels about 60 centimeters forward and does an elegant “backward roll”. What was previously the seatback becomes a cushion, and the seat cushion rises up and together with the headrest becomes a backrest.

The design of the REVERSE seat also took some doing. The backrest of a seat is always appreciably longer than the seat cushion. The two seat halves of the REVERSE seat are identical, each consisting of five flexibly connected elements. A well-thought-out mechanism pushes these segments apart as soon as they are used as a backrest, with the outer segment then serving as head restraint. In the opposite direction, an electric motor pulls the segments together again to create a closed surface as soon as they are used as a seat cushion.

Entertainment in exclusive surroundings

If desired, the rear seat area can be turned into a cinema. A monitor with an overall diagonal display measurement of 51 centimeters slides out of the partition to the luggage compartment and surprises the passengers with fascinating images. A surround sound system creates a cinema atmosphere. More than anything else though the monitor delivers fascinatingly deep images with its 3D technology. The 3D representation carries the viewer right into the middle of the action; the three-dimensional images make the scenery appear so close you can almost touch it. Complementing stereophonic sound is delivered by a high-quality surround sound system. In the rear seat area, the center tunnel, which extends the full length of the interior, features a heated or cooled container for drinks and snacks.


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Copyright © 2007, DaimlerChrysler AG


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