At first glance, this vehicle looks like a “hearse”, came out of a novel by Isak Asimov, but this revolutionary Mercedes-Benz F100 concept was a harbinger of many innovative solutions, which were once treated as “utopian”, to become commonplace today. modern cars.
Presented to the public in January 1991, at NAIAS in Detroit, this visionary studio delighted with its futuristic equipment. Mercedes engineers and designers have incorporated more pioneering technology into the F100 than in any concept before it, demonstrating a vision for the future of passenger cars, with a focus on practical application.
This car boasts numerous details that promised a real transformation in terms of safety and usability. Using the expertise available at the time, the team responsible for developing this vehicle demonstrated its visionary capabilities in terms of how future safety attributes will affect vehicle technology and automotive design.
To ensure that the person behind the wheel is in the safest position inside the F100 cab, Mercedes experts have placed the driver’s seat centrally. Research has shown that this is the safest position in most possible scenarios when it comes to traffic accidents.
Parts of the floor and roof of the vehicle are opened together with the new revolving doors, to ensure that the driver can easily enter and exit on the side facing the traffic. Behind the driver, two passenger seats are off the center axle and protected by robust rear wheel arches. Entry and exit are also greatly facilitated by the absence of conventional B-pillars and the presence of large sliding doors, which used an early version of the “soft-closing” mechanism.
The F 100 was equipped with a central display behind the wheel, within the driver’s field of vision, providing key information such as speed or warning of imminent danger.
Many advanced driver assistance systems have also been integrated, such as active blind spot detection or distance control, an early version of today’s adaptive cruise control, which entered the S-Class seven years later as a system called DISTRONIC. The rear camera was also present, and it will debut in the serial version in 2005, of course in the S class.
To improve visibility at night, the F 100 uses xenon headlights, while the signal lights contain prism-shaped bars, which activate the central light source, and what is also interesting is that they can instantly change the color and intensity of the light.
The massive front wiper can be moved across the full width of the windshield and is automatically powered by a rain sensor. At the rear, the wiper is discreetly hidden under the roof spoiler, and it not only wipes the rear window, but also the lights.
In the development phase of this concept car, many options have been considered when it comes to the powertrain, including the internal combustion engine, which uses hydrogen as fuel. Still, the team eventually opted for a conventional gasoline engine.
However, what was not conventional in any case is front-wheel drive, although Mercedes will break the tradition six years later with the launch of the first A-Class.
As for other innovative systems, which have played a pioneering role, the electronic tire pressure monitoring system, phone-based voice recognition or the use of a card instead of classic keys should be highlighted.
From the 1885 Benz Patent-Motor Wagen to the 2020 VISION AVTR, concept cars shaped the future of Mercedes-Benz vehicles and influenced the evolution of the entire automotive industry.
Although we cannot say that this experimental car is one of the “most attractive”, the F 100 is without a doubt one of the most influential. Today we can “visit” it at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.