Feb 20th 2010 - The Mercedes-Benz F800 Style concept car that'll debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month is highly-touted by Mercedes-benz's press release scribes for its green-car tech, but what's probably of greater interest to most of you is its styling, which is everyone's first peek at what the next-generation CLS-Class sedan is going to look like.
To that end, get ready for a nose section whose grille apes that of the SLS AMG, plus enough flame-surfaced bodywork to make one envision Chris Bangle, sporting a set of Groucho glasses to mask his true identity, clandestinely moonlighting at Benz. The rear doors are sliders, because it's a concept, and you need to give the people a clear view into the swoopy, sci-fi passenger cabin. Props to Mercedes PR for gamely making it sound as if there's an actual practical application for those doors, though (see the attached press release).
Mercedes-Benz also touts the concept's flexible powertrain platform. The realistic option is a plug-in hybrid system that's basically an offshoot of the V6 light-hybrid setup found in the S400 sedan. Mercedes says this new plug-in gas-electric system, which is good for over 400 combined horsepower, gives the car an EV-only driving range of 18 miles. The automaker has announced that a new plug-in system is headed to the next-gen S-Class, so don't dismiss the F800's hybrid setup as trendy green pandering. Save that cynicism for the concept's other powertrain option: a compact fuel cell/electric setup evolved from the one used in the current F-Cell cars. We have no doubt that the technology itself is genuinely impressive, and we're sure news of its development will be a hit with all the jet-setters at the next snowbound global warming conference. From a mass-production, real-person's-car standpoint, expect to see the fuel cell system in Benz showrooms right after Mercedes intros a 700-horsepower inline 3-cylinder that runs on unicorn milk. Alas, we digress.
The F800 concept also introduces two new technologies that will doubtless appear in upcoming models. Distronic Plus Traffic Jam Assistant is an enhanced version of Mercedes' active cruise control system, which can now steer the car through curves as long as it's traveling under 25 mph. Neat. Also new is the Pre-Safe 360-degree system, which expands the existing Pre-Safe collision detection/mitigation system to the rear of the car. Now, if Pre-Safe senses that a rear-end impact is imminent, it'll apply the brakes in a bid to keep the car from getting into an additional chain-reaction accident involving other cars or pedestrians.
We'll be in Geneva to see the sheet come off the Mercedes-Benz F800 Style in person, and will have plenty of firsthand observations and live photos then. For now, feast your eyes on the gallery below, and check out the Mercedes PR included after the jump.