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>> Now, this feeding frenzy at Mercedes is around something called the F800 Style Concept. Now, this may be a big hint of what the next CLS looks like, but more than that take a look at what is going on here with the power trains. They are looking at it at being a hybrid with a V6--what's that sounds like? The current S400, but improved to 400 horsepower and up to 16 miles of pure EV run range. I hope this smoothed that power train out because we drove the S400 a few weeks before this show and it was kind of a lumpy pudgy thing. I wasn't impressed with the power train, but it needs some refinement, that could be what is happening here. Also, they say, it is becoming out as a fuel cell vehicle very likely. Well, Mercedes has been playing with and promising fuel cells as before many of you were shaving, so I am not holding my breath on that one. Now in here, some really cool stuff is going on. Check out the interface and the machine interface. So, here is the screen you would normally think of as a touch. You would be going, duh, duh, duh and putting all kinds of smudges and when you go to a touch screen what happens? Your hand covers a bunch of the options. Mercedes says forget that. Bring your hand down here. Here is a touch pad on the console and through that black glass is a camera that is watching my hand. It would project the outline of my hand and fingers on the screen. I would see where they are and if I press on the pad I would get an input and haptic feedback on the pad telling me this is what you pressed. The camera is a really new wrinkle, so you get a very clean interface literally, no smudges and nothing in the way of choices. Plus, you end up what they say a lower distraction experience because your hand stays here, you see everything clearly, you are not stacking things, and getting your visual thing all messed up there. Another interesting technology, that display in front of me is a mirror reflex display, which means it is being refracted through a mirror bounce to allow your eyes to focus at about the same focal plane as the world outside the windshield. Why would you do that, because there is less fatigue. Your eyes are not constantly going from far to near, far to near, far to near, and that also can lead to safety because they do not have to refocus to grab a hold of something outside the windshield that might be an emergency situation. Some other technologies I can tell you about, but aren't really visual include a new version of Distronic. That is their adaptive cruise with forward distance sensing. They are going to add something called Traffic Jam Assistant to it, which will actually notice the cars in low-speed traffic and do some automated steering to keep you in the right slot and zone in a congested situation. That is something new. Tell them that these automated cars are coming sooner than later. The last thing I want to tell you about is their Pre-Safe technology. That is the one that if you are about to rear end something because you are not paying attention, it will tighten up the belts and pre-brake to lessen the impact. Whether you are going to extend it to the back of a car where it should be because I am always worry about some jackass rear-rendering me because he is on his cell phone like I might be on mine. Anyway, a lot of things going on here with interface, safety, predictability, that is a very powerful technology package. Of course it is concept, it is not heading for showroom anytime soon, but Mercedes has a pretty good track record of taking stuff from the show floor to the real world.
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