As evidenced by the F700, launched at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show, Mercedes-Benz expects to be building large luxury sedans long into the future. But also recognizing the need to reduce fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, the company includes some miraculous-sounding technologies in the F700. It's also using the vehicle to explore advances in passenger comfort and infotainment.
Although the F700 weighs 3,740 pounds, its 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine gets it to 62 mph in 7.5 seconds, and it has a governed top speed of 124 mph. And it does all this while achieving 44.3 mpg. The F700 uses the Diesotto engine, which burns gasoline but performs its combustion through compression, like a diesel engine. In the F700, the Diesotto is aided by twin turbochargers and a small hybrid system. Its overall output is 258 horsepower and 295 ft-lbs. of torque.
Mercedes-Benz calls its design language on the F700 "Aqua Dynamic", as it used the flow dynamics of fish in coming up with the exterior. The roofline is derived from the CLS, although the front side windows come down dramatically far. Fenders are back in a big way with the F700, especially in the front, as the cabin narrows behind the front wheels.
With two clear roof panels, passengers are treated to lots of light in the F700. The tail lights are designed as dual strips, as are the headlights. The LED headlights are lined up in vertical strips to give the car a unique look at night. The headlights also contain forward-looking lasers that measure the road surface, providing input so the suspension can adjust for rough road conditions.
Mercedes-Benz put the instrument and information LCDs close to the base of the windshield, making it easier for the driver to read them. Mercedes-Benz is also experimenting with an avatar to help with complex inputs, such as destinations or phone numbers. Although this avatar idea reminds us of Microsoft's Clippy, it might be more useful in a car, especially combined with voice command.
Mercedes-Benz refines its COMAND (Cockpit Management And Navigation Device) interface for the F700, adding a slide function to the main knob. The slide has three positions, and moving it into each of them chooses a specific function, such as navigation. Mercedes-Benz also added a touch-sensitive control for the air conditioning.
Mercedes-Benz has been putting its power seat controls on the doors in most of its models already, but the F700 shows a further refinement of this idea. These controls are on the right-rear door and help control what Mercedes-Benz calls a Reverse seat. This seat can be turned around to face backward, making it easier for the right-rear passenger to converse with the left-rear passenger.
As part of the whole Reverse seat idea, the right-rear door opens suicide-style, making access easier regardless of the current seat position. Rear seat passengers can also enjoy a 20-inch monitor with 3D technology.