How the car is driving into the future following its 125th birthday is demonstrated today by Mercedes-Benz at the 2011 Frankfurt International Motor Show.
Under the motto “Mercedes Next”, the inventor of the automobile is presenting no less than six world premieres in Frankfurt. Every single one of them confirms the innovative power of the brand – in particular, the revolutionary F 125! research vehicle, which offers a glimpse of the zero-emission luxury sedan of tomorrow. Also celebrating world premieres, are the new B-Class, the Concept B-Class E-CELL PLUS – a close-to-production electric concept with very long range – and three roadsters, SLS AMG, SLK 55 AMG and SLK 250 CDI. A further show highlight from Mercedes-Benz is the new M-Class, which is also being seen by the broader public for the first time at the IAA.
“We have a clear leadership assertion in the premium segment. We will do everything we can to ensure that the decade ahead will be a new Mercedes decade,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars at the start of the world’s largest auto show. Just how well the brand with the three-pointed star is equipped for that is impressively demonstrated in Frankfurt by the inventor of the automobile at the end of the 125th anniversary year.
Mercedes-Benz F 125! – a glimpse of the S-Class of tomorrow
With the groundbreaking F 125! research vehicle, Mercedes-Benz is delivering its first sustainable IAA accent in keeping with the final highlight of this automotive anniversary year. Reflecting the birthday motto “125! Years of Innovation”, the technology showcase demonstrates the potential of the fuel cell for complete zero-emissions mobility also in large and comfortable luxury sedans. With the F 125!, Mercedes-Benz is systematically implementing its vision of zero-emissions driving, underscoring the potential of H2 as the fuel of the future. The F 125! is driven by an F-CELL plug-in HYBRID, consisting of a further-developed fuel cell and a high-performance lithium-sulfur high-voltage battery. Energy storage is provided by a completely new kind of hydrogen tank that is integrated directly into the bodyshell structure.
1,000 kilometers range, zero emissions
“When it comes to the drive, there is one figure to note – one thousand. That is the distance in kilometers that you can drive on electricity alone without stopping to refuel,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche. “And with four electric motors close to the wheels and a peak output of 313 hp, there’s no shortage of fun.” Thanks to intelligent lightweight design with a high proportion of carbon-fiber, the four-seater offers refined performance coupled with exceptional comfort. The display, control and communication concepts are also completely new developments. Dr. Dieter Zetsche once more, “You could say that the F 125! is a smartphone you can sit in.”
The new B-Class – a new start in the compact class
Mercedes-Benz is now launching its model offensive in the compact car segment with the new B-Class. “Our second generation of the sports tourer is now more versatile and, at the same time, more dynamic, efficient and safe – the ideal car for everyone in this class of car who would like to drive a true Mercedes. Or, as we say – perfect space in its most beautiful form,” says Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Member of Mercedes-Benz Cars Management responsible for Sales and Marketing.
“With the first model in our all-new generation of compact cars, we are launching a new era in this segment,” continues Dr. Schmidt. “Never before in the history of Mercedes-Benz have there been so many new features in a model changeover.” The new B-Class sets many new benchmarks, including the four highly efficient engines that will be available at market launch. All boast state-of-the-art direct injection, are equipped with the ECO start/stop function as standard and can be combined with the new 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission. The new diesel-powered B-Class delivers refined driving fun with fuel consumption that starts at just 4.4 l/100 km.
Premium materials, fine details and precise workmanship also set new benchmarks in the class. “Moreover”, says Dr. Schmidt, “we placed a great deal of emphasis on safety equipment. COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST is standard equipment, marking a world first in the compact segment.” The radar‑based system offers protection from rear-end collisions at speeds over 30 km/h. There are also a host of safety features that were previously the reserve of larger Mercedes models, including ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection, which is also standard equipment.
Concept B-Class E-CELL PLUS – electric car with 600 kilometer range
That the future is already built into the new B-Class is also clearly evident with the B-Class E-CELL PLUS concept – the first Mercedes electric car with a range extender. “E-CELL stands for battery-electric drive, the PLUS for the additional gasoline engine. The combination ensures the best possible everyday and long-distance capability with a range of up to 600 kilometers, up to 100 of which are under battery power alone and thus emissions free,” says Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
The energy storage medium is a lithium-ion battery from Deutsche Accumotive. The powerful electricity storage unit is built safely into a specially developed, space-saving intermediate floor in front of the rear axle – known as the Energy Space. Prof. Dr. Weber again: “This means that the B-Class is prepared for all kinds of alternative drive – right through to fuel cell electric drive.”
SLS AMG Roadster – open-top driving in its sportiest form
Mercedes-Benz is continuing its sports car tradition with the new, fascinating SLS AMG Roadster, which celebrates its public debut at the IAA and delivers the potential to stay well out in front in the dream car stakes. Prof. Dr. Weber: “This unique open-air athlete offers perfection in roadster performance.”
Its technology highlights read like the beginners’ guide to high-end sports car design – aluminum spaceframe with carbon-fiber components, AMG 6.3-liter V8 front-mid engine with 571 hp, seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in a transaxle arrangement and a sports suspension with aluminum double wishbone suspension for maximum impact among sports car enthusiasts.
New SLK variants – efficient open-air driving fun
Also celebrating its world premiere in Frankfurt are the SLK 250 CDI and SLK 55 AMG Roadsters. The 150 kW (204 hp) four-cylinder diesel in the SLK 250 CDI puts the two-seater at the top of its class in the key disciplines of fuel economy and torque. Available for the very first time in the SLK, the compression-ignition engine delivers refined driving fun on both winding country roads and longer autobahn stretches.
This also applies to the SLK 55 AMG, the most powerful SLK ever. Its all-new AMG 5.5-liter V8 engine with cylinder deactivation combines top performance with the lowest fuel consumption figures. With a peak output of 310 kW (422 hp) and a maximum torque of 540 Newton meters, the SLK 55 AMG betters all of its direct competitors. At the same time, its fuel consumption is around 30 percent lower than that of its predecessor.
The new M-Class – cultivated efficiency champion
New benchmarks are also set by the third generation of the M-Class – in comfort, as well as in safety, on- and off-road dynamics and, of course, in efficiency. The entire lineup of the new M-class consumes an average of 25 percent less fuel in comparison to the preceding model. The efficiency champion in its class is the ML 250 BlueTec 4MATIC, which makes do with an NEDC fuel consumption of just 6.0 l/100 km.
Source: Daimler AG / Pictures: MB Passion