MB Passion meets Mercedes-Benz Head of Design Gorden Wagener. He explained exclusive to us, the design of the new F 800 Style research vehicle. The F 800 Style celebrates his world premiere, at the Auto Salon in Geneva, from March 4 to 14.
A synthesis of green technology and stylish-sporty design, the F 800 Style impressively demonstrates Mercedes-Benz’ ability to harmonize automobile fascination and emotion with the continually increasing demands of environmental compatibility. Like its predecessor, the F 700 presented at the 2007 IAA motor show, the latest research vehicle from the brand with the star offers a clear idea of what we can expect in the future from premium automobiles “made by Mercedes-Benz.”
The F 800 Style combines the functionality of a groundbreaking upper-class sedan with the highly emotional formal idiom of the new Mercedes-Benz design. The long wheelbase and the model’s intelligent interior design ensure a generous amount of space and great freedom of movement for five occupants. The result is a distinctive harmony of form and function, whereby the Mercedes brand value of ‘cultivated sportiness’ can be seen and felt in every detail.”
With a total length of 4.75 meters, the F 800 Style has both a longer wheelbase (2,924 millimeters) and a greater width (1,938 millimeters) than today’s upper-range sedans. All of the components of the vehicle’s extremely efficient and environmentally compatible alternative drive system (either Plug-in Hybrid or fuel cell drive) are installed in a space-saving manner in the engine compartment and in the gaps within the chassis. As a result, the entire interior space is preserved and offers plenty of room for up to five occupants.
Reinterpretation of the typical Mercedes-Benz design idiom
The exterior appearance of the F 800 Style is marked by its long wheelbase, short body overhangs, and a sensually flowing, coupe-like roof line. The dynamic side view and the vehicle’s balanced proportions lend it a sporty yet sensual look that conveys a feeling of style and superior performance. “The F 800 blends seamlessly into our design scheme,” says Wagener. “It’s immediately recognizable as a Mercedes, even though it embodies our reinterpretation and further development of the brand’s typical design idiom.”
Another important design feature in the F 800 Style is its organically stretched body surface elements. These flow into convex transition zones and are delineated by precisely curved lines. This creates characteristic lines which visually subdivide the vehicle body and generate emotional tension. The powerful front contoured line on the sidewall extends across the flank and then fades off as it moves downward. This line lends the F 800 Style — with its grey metallic ALU-BEAM color tone — a highly dynamic appearance, without making it seem aggressive. The sensually curved roof line underscores the exceptional aerodynamic quality of the coupe, which has a height of 1.43 meters.
The Mercedes-Benz brand star is smoothly framed
The F 800 Style’s front end features a variation of the radiator grille with the centrally placed brand star that can be found in the new E-Class coupe as well as in other models. This grille extends prominently toward the front in the F 800 Style, while the bionically curving lamellae softly flow around the tube holding the Mercedes-Benz brand star. Other noticeable design features include the drop-shaped and thus aerodynamically designed exterior mirrors, whose housings, like those in the Concept BlueZERO model, are partially transparent and backlit.
LED headlights give the F 800 Style an expressive “face”
A “shining” example of technological and design innovation at Mercedes-Benz is offered in the truest sense of the word by the powerful LED headlights in the F 800 Style. The combination of fiber optics and state-of-the-art LED technology lends the vehicle a striking appearance. Along with the wide radiator grille and the generously curved air intake openings, the LED headlights emphasize the dynamic nature of the research vehicle. The headlights are divided into individual segments for daytime running lights, turn signal indicators, and primary headlights.
The F 800 Style’s taillights are also equipped with state-of-the-art LED units that enable an exciting interplay of indirect illumination and direct beams, which further enhances the stylish appearance of the vehicle’s rear section at night. The result is an attractive, unmistakable, and memorable visual effect.
Translucent roof makes for a bright interior
The F 800 Style’s translucent roof is divided into several segments. With flowing lines that dissolve and let more and more light through, the roof incorporates the wave styling elements of the air outlets.
The F 800 Style’s 20-inch alloy wheels are equipped with plastic inserts whose bionically arranged air intake openings are shaped like filigree turbine blades.
Wood and a pleasant color gradient create a cozy interior
Natural wood surfaces and a harmonious color gradient from light to dark make for an elegant and cozy interior in the F 800 Style. This interior was created at the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studio in Como, Italy, and its modern sense of lightness is immediately noticed by occupants. Functional elements such as the driver area and the door armrests seem to float in space like sculptures, while light-colored wood surfaces underscore the model’s elegant ambience. Side panels covered with alcantara form a visual contrast to the wood. The panels are light beige in the area of the A-pillar and grow darker in a smooth color gradient as they extend to the back, ending in a dark grey tone in the rear of the vehicle. Additional design details are provided by attractive engraved patterns in the rear door panels.
Innovative real wood veneering process for seats, door armrests, and the driver area
The innovative lightweight-construction seats in the F 800 Style consist of a magnesium shell and a carbon fiber laminate seatback across which a fine yet resistant netting is stretched. The seat shell is veneered with real wood. For the wood inlaying process, Mercedes-Benz engineers employed an innovative technology designed especially for the veneering of three-dimensional surfaces. The new 3D surface coating procedure developed by Mercedes-Benz was also used to install the wood finishing in the center console, on the doors, and in the driver area. These wood finishing pieces are molded as 3D laminated components and are augmented by an aluminum layer, a feature that significantly improves crash safety.
The single-section organically curved cockpit offers plenty of legroom for front-seat passengers. In a setup similar to the one used in the F 700 research vehicle from 2007, all important information for the driver is presented on the large and clearly arranged display unit in the instrument cluster. A key new feature of this improved display is that it focuses for the first time on data associated with electric vehicle operation. The unit thus puts important relevant information such as the battery charge state and remaining vehicle range at the center of attention.
The integrated display unit, which elegantly protrudes from the curved console, provides for a feeling of exceptional interior spaciousness. Outstanding ergonomic quality is guaranteed by the new HMI with cam touchpad integrated into the center console. The unit also boasts several technical innovations, including its ability to visually depict the current functions within the cam touchpad’s menu structure on the display above the center console.
Rear pivot-and-slide doors blend into the elegant design lines
The rear doors of the F 800 Style ideally embody the harmony of form and function that typifies the vehicle. Whereas the front doors are attached to the A-pillar in a conventional manner and open toward the front, the rear doors slide backward when opened.
The innovative swivel arm construction of the rear doors allowed designers to forgo the use of visible door rails, giving the F 800 Style the appearance of being cast in one piece when its doors are closed. “We integrated the door technology into the vehicle in such a manner that it blends seamlessly into the overall design flow, thus perfectly harmonizing ergonomics and design,” says Wagener.
Form and function are equally important
The F 800 Style is both a technology package and a showcar. The latest Mercedes-Benz research vehicle was created through close international cooperation between the technical research and advanced engineering departments and the advanced design studios in Sindelfingen and Como, Italy. Form and function are equally important in the F 800 Style.
For example, all of the air intake openings and outlets have an important technical function in addition to the bold design statement they make, and the organic, nature-based wave shape for the protective grille is a typical design feature that is present throughout the vehicle.
Source/Pictures: Daimler AG – MB Passion