To be unveiled at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, the Mercedes-Benz F800 Style is a harbinger of the company's future stylistic direction, as well as a showcase of its under-development drivetrain and cabin tech.
According to Mercedes-Benz, the F800 Style can accommodate either a plug-in hybrid drivetrain or a hydrogen fuel cell system.
As a plug-in hybrid, the V6 petrol engine sits up front, with the electric motor housed within the transmission that feeds power to the rear wheels. The Lithium-ion battery pack sits underneath the rear seats, while the petrol tank is between the passengers and the boot.
Configured as a fuel cell car, the F800's snout houses a stack of fuel cells where a petrol motor would normally reside. These cells are fed by hydrogen tanks that hide in what would normally be called a transmission tunnel. The electric motor sits astride the rear axle, while a set of Lithium-ion batteries is wedged between the passenger cell and the boot. These batteries store the energy captured through regenerative braking.
The F800 Style isn't just about Mercedes' future drivetrains or, even, what the next-generation CLS-Class might look like. There's plenty of interesting cabin tech inside too. Oh, and sliding rear doors.
The F800 Style's entertainment, navigation and control system, dubbed HMI for human-machine interface, utilises a touch pad. But it's not just any touch pad! There's a camera directly above it and a user's finger movements on the touch pad are superimposed on the central LCD monitor. The touch pad will supposedly recognise swipes, pushes, turns and zooms.
This touch pad arrangement, snappily named cam touchpad by Mercedes-Benz, combines the best of touchscreens and the current centre console knob-based controllers, like BMW's iDrive, Audi's MMI and Mercedes-Benz's Comand. And like Lexus' Remote Touch system there's haptic feedback as well.