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19 cars in 15 minutes

Mercedes-Benz will launch 19 cars in 15 minutes at the 2007 Frankfurt auto show.

The F500 debuted at the 2003 Tokyo auto show. Mercedes-Benz

Over dinner on Tuesday night, Geoff Day, director of corporate communications for Mercedes-Benz, hinted at many major announcements for the upcoming Frankfurt auto show. His big promise: Mercedes-Benz will introduce 19 cars in 15 minutes. These won't all be new cars, with probably a mix of concepts and updates, but Mercedes-Benz intends to make a big splash this year. We expect to see some sort of hybrid in the mix, although we couldn't pin him down on the details. The most firm information we got was the previously leaked F700 concept, rumored to be a big luxury car, which will feature the DiesOtto engine.

The F700 draws its name, and possibly some details, from the F500 concept launched at the 2003 Tokyo auto show. The F500 showed off a hybrid diesel powertrain, which hasn't made it into a production car, and a night vision system, which we saw in the 2007 CL550. Although no other details on the F700 are available, Mercedes-Benz has released full information about the DiesOtto engine. This engine, in its current incarnation, is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that works like a diesel but burns gasoline. It uses spark plugs to get the burn cycle started, then switches them off, relying on compression for light and medium loads. Mercedes-Benz makes some dramatic claims for the engine's efficiency. This engine is supposed to produce 238 horsepower and 295 ft-lbs of torque, numbers that no four-cylinder gas engine of this displacement currently achieves. Even better, the engine would get 39.2 miles per gallon while producing low nitrogen oxide emissions. Impressive numbers, and even more impressive when you consider this mileage is supposed to be achieved when the engine is pushing a car the size of an S-class.

CNET Car Tech will be reporting from the 2007 Frankfurt auto show starting September 12.