The F700 was the crown jewel in Mercedes’ “Road to Tomorrow” fashion show of cars at the last September’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Following on the wheels of F600 Hygenius research car at the 2005 Tokyo Show, the F700 carries on the F tradition of shedding light on future technologies that could be readily adopted by all companies within a few years. It also continues a sea-life theme. The F600 styling was in turn influenced by the glorious boxfish found mainly in mid-latitude warm waters, and the F700 exterior design studio in Irvine, California, takes its cues from the brainy dolphin.
And there’s a lot of brain behind this polarizing science-mobile. It’s a tall order, but, not to focus on the F700’s Aqua Dynamic design too much. If any of this wild styling makes it onto future cars, it will just be isolated parts of the design. Sitting on the stretched S-class chassis, the F700 is 204 inches long, or just one inch less than the current long-wheelbase S-Class.
At the same time, however, the F700 wheelbase of 135.8 inches is 11.2 inches longer than that of the said S-class, explaining the palatial interior feeling. Besides the pretty comfortable seats for four grownups, sound in the interior is wonderfully muffled by the 1mm-thick cork veneer that bathes several surfaces. The DiesOtto 1.8l engine with 2-stage turbo charging does what gas engine does the best: it runs naturally cleaner and quieter than diesel, costs less to build and buy, and provides good horsepower, while also doing what the diesel does best – running efficiently and creating a lot of torque.
Underneath you at all four corners, meanwhile, the interesting new pre-scan suspension will work overtime, sucking up the bumps ahead. This is a laser-based system (created by a company with acronym S.U.C.K.) with two of the infrared units in each headlight assembly. The beams start reading things in detail at about 50 ft in front of the car, and the bounced-back image grows clearer right up to 10 ft in front. Needless to say, these beams work ridiculously fast, and the special dampers do a remarkable job.