The innovative Mercedes F100 concept car made its debut not in Europe, which would make sense, but at the North American auto show in Detroit, which took place in 1991. However, even the American public was keenly interested in the novelty. Daimler-Chrysler tried to embody all available at it developments in the field of safety in this car. At the same time not sacrificing comfort at all.
The car is a joint development of MBB (Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm), AEG-Telefunken and Dornier. Of course, Mercedes-Benz engineers also took part. Literally every inch of the car breathes with unconventional and progressive ideas.
Take for example the interior, where the driver’s seat is located in the center, instead of being displaced to one of parties. It is made not to make the driver feel in the cockpit – it is just the safest place in the car (the driver is in the center not only by the width of the chassis, but also by length). Such arrangement is explained by the fact that, according to the statistics, the driver spends two trips out of three alone at the wheel. Therefore he should be especially safe. Also the increased glazing area provided better visibility.
There is an electronic screen in front of the driver, which displays speed limit signs on the current road section and information about the position of the vehicle systems in addition to the traditional speedometer / tachometer and additional instruments. For example, if one of the tires loses pressure or the washer fluid runs out, information will be displayed on the screen.
The F100 can accommodate up to five passengers – two rows of seats are behind the driver, with two seats each. Especially for the F100, a new front door opening mechanism with hinge and servo was developed – thanks to it, the door opens at an angle relative to the ground and reduces the possibility of scratching the car in the neighborhood.
The rear doors are made sliding backwards, and thanks to servo drives even a child can open and close them without much effort. This is the beginning of Mercedes’ (and other brands’) love affair with servo, which hasn’t subsided to this day.
Electricity for these servos is taken from the sun – solar panels are mounted on the roof of F100. They cover an area of two square meters and are capable of generating 100 watts of power, which feeds the car’s electrical systems. The car tries not to let the energy go to waste: for example, if the F100 stands in the sun for too long, it turns on a fan in the cabin and blows out the hot air accumulated in the cabin so that passengers feel comfortable in the cabin from the first minutes. The same technology later appeared on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class in 2002.
Another innovation, which will debut on the production Mercedes only in 1998 (and to be precise – on the S-Class) – the so-called “smart key”, with which you do not need to adjust the seats and mirrors after leaving the car, all the driver’s settings are recorded on the key card. Before getting to the S-Class, the system was perfected on another concept, the F200 Imagination. As for the F100, in addition to the above, it was equipped with xenon headlights, adaptive cruise control (with tracking the distance to the cars in front), voice control, rain sensor, rearview camera. Not a bad package for 1991?
F100 has received an inline six-cylinder engine with a capacity of 2.6 liters and 194 hp. The power through a three-stage “automatic” came to the front axle. Mercedes modestly silent about dynamic characteristics – they are not particularly important here.
Now the F100 is in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart and anyone can see this car, which is much ahead of its time. In the future, Mercedes will release a few more F-series concept cars, but about the rest of the representatives – another time.