by Adrian Dorofte and Adrian Andronic

F1 Spa-Francorchamps - SAT - Qualifying - Lewis Hamilton on Pole Position


Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, Sep 06, 2008

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton will start the Belgian Grand Prix from pole position after setting a time of 1m47.338 in the exciting third part of qualifying. His team-mate Heikki Kovalainen posted a time of 1m47.815 and will start third on the grid. It is Lewis’s 11th Formula 1 pole position, his fifth of the year and the 60th of the McLaren-Mercedes partnership, which began in 1995.

In the first part of qualifying, the top 15 drivers who moved up to the second session were covered by less than 0.8sec. Almost as close was the second part when the top 10 who fought for pole position were covered by less than 0.8sec.


Lewis Hamilton
“I’m really happy about my pole position. We’ve got a great car and the atmosphere within the team at home in Woking and here at the circuit is fantastic. After Valencia we knew we had to improve and that’s what we did. Today’s outcome is also a result of this great preparation and I felt very comfortable when we came here. First, I decided to drive with the harder compound, but obviously the option tyre was the better one. Today I gave it my all and so did the team. At the beginning of my first lap, I locked up my right front wheel for a moment, but afterwards I didn’t make any mistakes. I’m confident for tomorrow’s race.”

Heikki Kovalainen
“A good weekend so far and we were able to improve throughout. Today’s qualifying was fairly straightforward; however, in the end, I didn’t quite do enough to make it onto the front row. I didn’t make any mistakes on my lap, but obviously I lost a bit of time in the middle sector. Anyway, tomorrow is where it counts and I’m feeling optimistic.”

Ron Dennis
"First and third is a pretty good qualifying result by anyone's standards, and it has set us up for what we hope will be a highly competitive showing tomorrow. We think we've worked out a decent race strategy, and we're confident that both Lewis and Heikki will therefore be in good shape. There was a bit of a fuel difference between them today, so you can conclude that both of them did a fine job."

Norbert Haug
“A very impressive pole lap by Lewis. With him being in first and Heikki in third position on the grid, we have achieved a great result. It’s Lewis’s 11th pole in his 30th Grand Prix and his 17th start from the front row, which is quite an impressive score. Hopefully we can make best use of these positions tomorrow. Thanks to everybody in the team – first and foremost to Lewis and to Heikki for a very good job.”

Copyright © 2008, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.


Mercedes-Benz-Blog TRIVIA: Landaulet: Al fresco motoring at its finest - Complete story collection

For an easy reach of all the texts on the issue of "Landaulet: Al fresco motoring at its finest", we've compiled all the links heading to them in one single post. Roll down and start reading.

1. Landaulet: Al fresco motoring at its finest - PART I

2. Landaulet: Al fresco motoring at its finest - PART II

3. Landaulet: Al fresco motoring at its finest - PART III

4. Landaulet: Al fresco motoring at its finest - PART IV

Copyright © 2008, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.


Mercedes-Benz-Blog TRIVIA:Landaulet: Al fresco motoring at its finest - PART IV


Stuttgart, Germany, Nov 05, 2007

Technical details of Mercedes-Benz ceremonial cars

Mercedes-Benz 300 d landaulet with long wheelbase (W 189)

* Two units built, for the Vatican and the Mercedes-Benz factory fleet
* Six-cylinder in-line engine
* Displacement of 2996 cubic centimeters
* 160 hp/118 kW at 5300 rpm
* Wheelbase 3600 millimeters
* Length 5640 millimeters
* Width 1995 millimeters
* Height 1720 millimeters

Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL landaulet (W 109)

* One unit manufactured for the Vatican
* Six-cylinder in-line engine
* Displacement of 2996 cubic centimeters
* 170 hp/125 kW at 5400 rpm
* Wheelbase 2850 millimeters
* Length 5000 millimeters
* Width 1810 millimeters

Mercedes-Benz 600 landaulet with long wheelbase (W 100)

* 26 six-door and 32 four-door units produced
* V8 engine
* Displacement of 6332 cubic centimeters
* 250 hp/184 kW at 4000 rpm
* Wheelbase 3900 millimeters
* Length 6240 millimeters
* Width 1950 millimeters
* Height 1500 millimeters

Mercedes-Benz 600 landaulet with short wheelbase (W 100)

* One unit manufactured for Count von Berckheim
* V8 engine
* Displacement of 6332 cubic centimeters
* 250 hp/184 kW at 4000 rpm
* Wheelbase 3200 millimeters
* Length 5540 millimeters
* Width 1950 millimeters
* Height 1500 millimeters

Mercedes-Benz 600 landaulet (W 100)

* Special version with modified doors, folding convertible top and interior
* One unit manufactured for the Vatican
* V8 engine
* Displacement of 6332 cubic centimeters
* 250 hp/184 kW at 4000 rpm
* Wheelbase 3900 millimeters
* Length 6240 millimeters
* Width 1950 millimeters
* Height 1570 millimeters

Mercedes-Benz S 500 long-wheelbase landaulet (V 140 E 50)

* One unit manufactured for the Vatican
* V8 engine
* Displacement of 4973 cubic centimeters
* 320 hp/235 kW at 5600 rpm
* Wheelbase 3140 millimeters
* Length 5213 millimeters
* Width 1886 millimeters
* Height 1526 millimeters

Copyright © 2008, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.


Mercedes-Benz-Blog TRIVIA:Landaulet: Al fresco motoring at its finest - PART III


Stuttgart, Germany, Nov 05, 2007

Mercedes-Benz landaulets in the post-war period

* Early papal car: The Mercedes-Benz 300 d
* Just 59 factory-built Mercedes-Benz 600 landaulets

The 1950s saw a functional transformation of the landaulet, from a versatile body design for city and country motoring to a vehicle used almost solely as a parade car. This led to the landaulet design becoming an extreme rarity: during the second half of the 20th century Mercedes-Benz built only 59 landaulets based on the Mercedes-Benz 600 model (W 100), plus a few exclusive landaulets specially manufactured in the company’s workshops. Most famous of all are the Mercedes-Benz landaulets made as papal cars.

This tradition started in 1960 with a Mercedes-Benz 300 d landaulet. In fact Mercedes-Benz had already given the Vatican an official car for the pope’s use some decades before, in 1930. But in contrast to the earlier “Rome car” – a Mercedes-Benz Nürburg 460 Pullman limousine – this time the vehicle had a folding convertible top at the rear. Pope John XXIII himself had requested a landaulet body for the new automobile from Stuttgart. The meticulously handcrafted W 189 landaulet (only two of which were ever made) was based on a chassis with a wheelbase lengthened by around 45 centimeters to a total of 3.6 meters. The car was also around ten centimeters higher than the production model.

The three-liter six-cylinder in-line engine developing 160 hp/118 kW was the same as in the production version. This gave the papal car a top speed of 160 km/h, but of course it was generally driven at a much more sedate tempo on official outings. At such times, with the roof open, the rear side windows could be completely removed and placed in specially designed brackets in the trunk. The partition between front and rear seats and the front windows were electrically operated and lowered simply by pressing a button.

The locking devices for the roof mechanism were accessible from the driver’s seat, and the convertible top itself was opened and closed in a matter of seconds. Steps automatically opened out from the car floor when the rear doors were opened, making it easier for the pope to enter and alight from the vehicle. The throne-style seat for the pontiff was placed in the middle at the rear, facing in the direction of travel, with two folding seats opposite, attached to the partition, for accompanying staff. Around the papal seat, which was electrically adjustable, were the controls for air conditioning, intercom and other functions. At the presentation of the car in 1960, the pope was clearly delighted with the vehicle equipment.

Landaulet as small-run production series: Mercedes-Benz 600

The 300 d landaulet attracted considerable attention – but the most notable development in the history of this body design in the second half of the 20th century came with the Mercedes-Benz factory-built landaulet versions of the 600 model (W 100). In the book “Mercedes-Benz 600” published in 2001, author Heribert Hofer describes the landaulet from this model series as “a genuine old-style parade car, a unique automotive treasure.” And indeed, heads of state like Queen Elizabeth Elisabeth II, Pope Paul VI and his successors and heads of government all around the world chose this model to greet onlookers as they drove through the streets. The German government also regularly called on a Mercedes-Benz 600 landaulet for ceremonial occasions, although the vehicle was not owned by the state. Instead, the car was kept in the company fleet in Stuttgart and made available on request.

Production of the 600 model, in the “Grand Mercedes” tradition, started in September 1964. The Pullman landaulet, along with a number of limousines, was a production variant of the Pullman body with the long wheelbase of the W 100. Mercedes-Benz offered its customers four different landaulet versions based on this exclusive design: the standard version had four doors, facing rear seats, and a folding top extending as far as the front edges of the rear doors. There was also a special six-door version with a seat bench in the rear and additional fold-out seats facing in the direction of travel. In this variant, as in the six-door Pullman limousine, the middle doors could also be provided without handles. Both the above landaulets - the four-door and six-door design – could also be equipped on request with a long convertible top reaching as far as the partition.

All these versions were based on a long-wheelbase W 100 chassis, but in 1967 a one-off short-wheelbase W 100 landaulet was also produced. The vehicle was commissioned by Count von Berckheim. The ex-racing driver’s Mercedes-Benz 600 combined the handling qualities of a short-wheelbase design with the traditional virtues of the landaulet. The time and effort involved in this one-off project indicates that the 59 Pullman landaulets built hardly represented a “series production” operation in the strict sense - in fact, with such a wide variety of interior equipment options and special features it would be difficult to find two identically-equipped 600 landaulets. But one thing all these vehicles had in common was their exceedingly high price. The exclusive body design with the folding convertible top did not appear on the official price list, but the Mercedes-Benz 600 was regarded as the world’s most expensive production car of its day.

Mercedes-Benz 600 landaulet for the Vatican

In 1965 Mercedes-Benz presented the Vatican with another landaulet based on the W 100 Pullman. The manufacture of the car was a cooperative project of the testing and production departments in Sindelfingen. The four-door landaulet was presented to Pope Paul VI at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo by Hermann Josef Abs, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Daimler-Benz AG, General Manager Walter Hitzinger, and Board of Management members Fritz Nallinger and Arnold Wychodil, along with Karl Wilfert and three employees from the Daimler-Benz plant in Sindelfingen.

The equipment of this landaulet differed from the production version in several details: the rear doors were 25.6 centimeters wider, and came right up to the partition. The rear doors also included new operating controls, designed to be within easy reach from the papal seat located centrally in the back of the passenger compartment. The designers at Sindelfingen made the roof seven centimeters higher to provide ample head room - a modification required because of the flat floor in the rear of the W 100, concealing the propeller shaft tunnel beneath. Special equipment included air conditioning, an intercom for communicating with the driver, and the ability to shift the single armchair-style seat at the rear in several different directions.

The pontiff was delighted with the sophisticated technology in his W 100. “The name of Mercedes has become proverbial all round the world for German diligence and skill – which makes this gift all the more precious,” said Paul VI in his words of appreciation for the automotive engineering achievements of the team in Stuttgart back in 1965. The Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman landaulet bearing the legendary license plate SCV 1 (the abbreviation for “Stato Città del Vaticano”) is now on display in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.

W 109 and V 140 landaulets built in-house

And the specialists at Mercedes-Benz built another two landaulets for the Vatican in the years after 1965, both based on standard limousines. The first of these papal cars, built as early as 1966 with a single rear seat, was a landaulet based on a Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL limousine (W 109 series) with standard wheelbase (2.85 meters). The seat could be moved to the right if necessary to create room for a passenger on the fold-out seat fitted on the partition. This car remained in use for many years, in parallel with the W 100 landaulet. The 300 SEL was not equipped with quite the same level of luxury as the Mercedes-Benz 600 – for example there was no air conditioning in the shorter vehicle. The car was however retrofitted with armor plating in 1981.

This was followed in 1997 by a landaulet based on the Mercedes-Benz S 500 with a long wheelbase (V 140). Like its predecessors, this was a “no expense spared” one-off project that combined traditional values with contemporary technology. The car had numerous special equipment features. The electro-hydraulically operated convertible top, when closed, was five centimeters higher than in the limousine, to provide more head room above the papal seat. On taking delivery of the vehicle in person in 1997, Pope John Paul II was given a briefing on the car’s technical features and praised the design.

Heir to a great tradition

The 600 model was the only Mercedes-Benz ever built as a production landaulet over the last 60 years. However, the brand has repeatedly made good use of this type of bodywork with specially designed superstructures as for the papal cars. The sense of a unique driving culture that is epitomized in the landaulet is as strong as ever in Stuttgart. And it is this knowledge and living heritage from the past that provides the basis for the Maybach landaulet in 2007.

Copyright © 2008, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.


Mercedes-Benz-Blog TRIVIA:Landaulet: Al fresco motoring at its finest - PART II


Stuttgart, Germany, Nov 05, 2007

Origins in coach-building

* Coach body design taken over by the automobile
* Landaulet body once highly popular for taxicabs

The body form of the landaulet, or “half-landau” as it is sometimes known, owes much to the construction of horse-drawn coaches. The landau (or sometimes “Landauer” in German) was an open coach, probably named after the town of Landau in the Palatinate region of Germany. The passengers sat facing each other, and could be protected by two half-roof sections, pulled over them from either end of the vehicle when required. The coachman sat on a box seat, well away from the passenger compartment. The landaulet structure differed in that it only had the rear half-roof covering. And depending on the design, the driver’s compartment in front of the passenger seats could have a rigid roof, a glass top or a front windshield.

At the end of the 19th century the customary distinction in coach construction between the landau and landaulet was carried over into automotive design, with Daimler and Benz both initially making cars with landaulet and landau bodies.

Glory days of the landaulet

But events were to prove that only the landaulet had a viable future in the age of the automobile. One of the reasons was clearly that as speeds increased, passengers became more reluctant to sit with their backs to the direction of travel. The landaulet design emerged as the accepted form, and became increasingly popular with customers. But during the heyday of landaulet bodywork in the first half of the 20th century there was still no consistent or standard design.

One of the major points of difference was in the area of the driver’s seat. The box-seat of the Daimler belt-driven landaulet of 1896 for use as a taxi left the driver completely unprotected. In comparison, a 25/45 hp Benz landaulet from 1910 offered the driver a windshield and a rigid roof, but no doors or side windows. Side doors – but still no windows – were added in the 8/20 hp Benz of 1912.

Subsequent landaulet models reversed the principle of leaving the chauffeur out in the open - the driver was now protected by a windshield on all sides, as in a limousine, but the folding convertible top over the rear seats continued to offer flexibility for the passengers. This more contemporary form of the landaulet was used in luxury models such as the 15/70/100 hp Mercedes-Benz 400 Pullman landaulet from the late 1920s, and also in the landaulet taxicabs based on the Mercedes-Benz 260 D from 1936.

Landaulet as a taxicab

Al fresco motoring proved particularly attractive to taxicab customers – as indicated by the large numbers of taxicabs supplied with a landaulet body. In fact a landaulet became the world’s very first taxi when a Stuttgart-based haulage and taxicab operator, Friedrich August Greiner, ordered a Victoria landaulet with a taximeter from Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) under order no. 1329. The vehicle was duly delivered in May 1897, and the world’s first motorized taxi went into service in June, once the required permit had been obtained from the police. The vehicle cost its owner the small fortune of 5530 Mark. Included in that price were the landaulet half-convertible top, two dash leather coverings, reverse gear and solid rubber tires.

In the following decades both Daimler and Benz, and from 1926 Mercedes-Benz, supplied taxis based on this distinctive body design. The 12/30 hp Benz was actually marketed from 1913 to 1914 solely as a taxicab landaulet. In this period the landaulet became just as popular with taxi passengers as with VIPs. However the design was never in high demand for private automobiles for everyday use. In his reference work entitled “The modern automobile and its maintenance and repair” and published in 1921, Max Peter wrote: “The advantages of open-top and closed-top vehicles are to some extent combined in the landaulet which can be driven as either. Because of the ability to adapt the body structure according to the season, this body design is associated above all with taxi automobiles, and probably for this reason it is less popular for private cars, notwithstanding its undeniable advantages.” This quote is taken from the section dealing mainly with taxis and private cars of the traditional kind. The “elegant landaulet”, in contrast, is classified under a separate category specifically for parade cars.

Evolution of an elite body design

The folding convertible top design as a luxury variation on the automobile was discussed by authors Ernst Misol and Hermann Klaiber in 1913 in their book entitled “What do I need to know about my car, and how should I drive it to comply with the authorities’ regulations?” Misol and Klaiber emphasized the advantages of different body styles for different purposes: “A luxury car used only in city traffic should always have a fully enclosed body, i.e. the limousine design. But for shorter journeys outside city limits, preference is to be given to the landaulet with its retractable top at the rear.”

Owners of luxury landaulet cars in the pre-World War I period included Emperor Wilhelm II. The emperor’s first vehicle of this type was a 39/75 hp Mercedes chain-driven landaulet, which he used as a traveling car. This was followed in 1911 by a 38/70 hp Mercedes landaulet for the same purpose. The emperor then chose a 28/60 hp Mercedes landaulet as a city car in 1913. And during a visit by the heir to the Romanian throne in 1913, the monarch and his guest were driven through the streets in a 26/65 hp Mercedes-Knight landaulet.

Following the end of the imperial era, in 1938 Mercedes-Benz presented Paul von Hindenburg with a 12/55 hp Mercedes-Benz 300 six-seater landaulet: Hindenburg had been elected as President of the Weimar Republic in 1925, as the successor to Friedrich Ebert.

Copyright © 2008, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.


Mercedes-Benz-Blog TRIVIA:Landaulet: Al fresco motoring at its finest - PART I


Stuttgart, Germany, Nov 05, 2007

* Maybach Landaulet study: New take on a traditional body style
* Landaulet tradition at Daimler AG harking back to the days of Daimler and Benz
* Mercedes-Benz 600 the only factory-built landaulet available anywhere in the world from 1965 to 1981

The combination of tradition and modernity embodied in the Maybach Landaulet study, unveiled in November 2007, makes this a truly unique vehicle of its time. The highly unusual body shape already defines the car as something quite out of the ordinary. But the unique combination of the fold-back roof at the rear and a solid roof section over the front seats also reflects the fine appreciation of tradition and values that is the hallmark of the Mercedes Benz Cars approach.

The body of the landaulet harks back to the early days of automotive history. Just a few years after the invention of the automobile by Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz in 1886 – working independently of each other – both companies had large numbers of landaulets on the roads. The Mercedes-Benz brand created in 1926 took up the idea, and over the years landaulets based on a range of model were built, both in normal production plants and by prestigious bodybuilders. The last landaulet variant available as a production car was the 600 model (W 100 series) from 1965 until 1981. The company’s in-house special vehicle manufacturing workshops also built three different landaulets for the Vatican in the second half of the 20th century.

Distinctive folding top

The landaulet is one of the true aristocrats among special body designs, and indeed its origins go back to the days of the coachbuilder’s art. Its hallmark is a “rigid, closed passenger compartment with a folding convertible top,” according to the Mercedes-Benz definition. What this means in practice is a folding convertible top over the rear seats, adjacent to a rigid top or solid partition. Depending on the variant, the driver might be out in the open, or – as is usual in today’s bodies of this type – in his own compartment, after the style of a limousine.

In any event, the choice between closed or open-top travel is only available to the passengers in the rear. The qualities of the landaulet as the perfect car for public figures are most evident when the opulent roof is swung back, focusing every eye on the occupants in the rear, and converting the landaulet into a stylish and elegant platform for public appearances. This is why vehicles with this unique body design are used almost exclusively by dignitaries and VIPs. And of course the roof can always be closed again, as protection from the weather or prying glances.

Maybach Landaulet study

The Maybach Landaulet study was created in response to requests from Maybach customers who still feel the thrill of landaulet vehicles from the days of sumptuously equipped coaches driving through the streets. The car is based on the Maybach 62 S. The C-pillars and roof arches remain in place when the top is pushed back, retaining the luxury limousine’s distinctive silhouette, along with the generously-dimensioned doors, stylish interior compartment and seating arrangements.

When the roof is closed, the convertible top is stretched over the roof frame, providing a tight seal against wind and weather. On the instruction to open the passenger compartment, the driver merely has to press a control on the center console, and the structure, together with the rear window, folds gently down onto the parcel shelf, without any significant loss of stowage space. The opening and closing of the convertible top is an efficient but unhurried process, like a smoothly choreographed dance, taking around 20 seconds to complete. The luggage compartment remains easily accessible even with the roof open. And the driver can cover the retracted top with a stylish leather tarpaulin, concealing the mechanism and restoring the smooth and elegant contours of the vehicle.

Historical Maybach landaulets

In the 1930s there were landaulet versions of several Maybach luxury limousines. In line with normal practice at the time, the body fitted to the chassis could be designed according to the owner’s individual requirements. The most popular models with landaulet customers were the twelve-cylinder Maybach 12, Maybach Zeppelin DS7 and Maybach Zeppelin DS8. The combination of letters and numerals used for the Zeppelin models stood for the V12 engine (double-six, = DS) and the displacement. The Zeppelin DS7, built in 1930 and 1931, had a 150 hp (110 kW) engine with displacement of 6922 cubic centimeters, while its successor, produced from 1931 to 1939, generated 200 hp (147 kW) from a 7922 cubic centimeter engine.

Nor was the circle of Maybach landaulet aficionados restricted to statesmen and captains of industry. There were others for whom maintaining a high public profile was a business necessity, and an automobile that could put its occupants on show like jewels in a display case simply by folding the roof back was clearly ideal for the purpose. For example, in 1930 the Sembach-Krone family commissioned the Erdmann & Rossi bodybuilders’ firm to build a Zeppelin DS7, specifying a burgundy-colored landaulet body, as a management vehicle for the legendary Krone circus. This elegant car with its long folding top is now on show at the Sinsheim Auto and Technology Museum.

Also featured in the Sinsheim collection is a 1938 landaulet version of the Zeppelin DS8 with a top speed of 160 km/h. This body, with a short folding top, was made by Hermann Spohn in Ravensburg. Spohn was the regular bodybuilder for Maybach, located just twenty kilometers away in Friedrichshafen.

Copyright © 2008, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.


Mercedes-Benz-Blog TRIVIA: The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - Complete story collection

For an easy reach of all the texts on the issue of "The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz", we've compiled all the links heading to them in one single post. Roll down and start reading.

1. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART I

2. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART II

3. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART III

4. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART IV

5. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART V

6. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART VI

7. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART VII

8. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART VIII

9. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART IX

10. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART X

11. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART XI

12. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART XII

13. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART XIII

14. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART XIV

15. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART XV

16. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART XVI

17. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART XVII

18. The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART XVIII

Copyright © 2008, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.


Mercedes-Benz-Blog TRIVIA:The Research Cars of Mercedes-Benz - PART XVIII


Stuttgart, Germany, Nov 19, 2007

Mercedes-Benz F 700 for traveling in all comfort


* 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
* Powertrain: Hybrid drive system consisting of a four-cylinder DIESOTTO engine (1.8-liter displacement, 175 kW/238 hp) and an electric motor (15 kW/20 hp)

Technical highlights

* DIESOTTO engine, combining the strengths of the low-emission gasoline engine with the diesel engine’s fuel economy
* Further developed hybrid drive
* 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 a novel powertrain. The DIESOTTO engine combines the advantages of the low-emission gasoline 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 gasoline engine for the first time. Thanks to homogeneous combustion at reduced reaction temperatures, nitrogen oxide emissions are minimized.

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 liters, which nevertheless affords the superior performance of a luxury-class sedan. 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 meters. Acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds testifies to the dynamism of the F 700 whose top speed is limited to 200 km/h. Despite this outstanding performance, the F 700 has a fuel consumption in the European Driving Cycle of just 5.3 liters (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”.

“Aqua Dynamic” – a new design language

The design of the F 700 is characterized 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 meters, 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 meters, the research car exceeds the production model by as much as 28.5 centimeters. The side view of the F 700 is dominated by the dynamically arching roof contour and shoulder line. This sedan thereby reinterprets a design theme of Mercedes-Benz – the current CLS equally features arching side lines.

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.

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 sedan and permits individual seating and rest positions both in the direction of travel and facing away from the direction of travel.

Relax position and movie theater 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 turned around so that the occupant faces away from the direction of travel – to talk to his or her neighbor seated opposite, to work, to rest or to enjoy audiovisual entertainment. A monitor with a screen size of 51 centimeters, 3D technology and surround sound system creates a movie theater atmosphere.

More convenient and easier operation

The operating concept was revised in that the displays of the information and operating system are shown as much forward in the interior compartment as possible although being visually moved still further away by means of mirror display technology. This provides for a clearly structured and uncluttered dashboard while at the same time ensuring that the driver’s eyes no longer tire from the constant shifting of focus from near vision to far vision as much as in a conventional cockpit.

A substantially more advanced version of SERVO-HMI, complemented by a very special assistant, is installed in the F 700. The navigation, communication, phone, audio and entertainment systems are operated by means of the tried and tested COMAND rotary/pushbutton controller to which a sliding function was added. A pre-selection from the operating menu can be made in three steps. The air conditioning is adjusted by means of an additional touch-sensitive control element.

For more complex input functions, innovative support is provided by an individual input 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 e-mails. Through dialogue-controlled operation, distractions are reduced to a minimum – safety is, after all, writ large at Mercedes-Benz at all times.

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