The main attraction in the Mercedes F 400 Carving is a new system that varies the camber angle on the outer wheels between 0 and 20 degrees, depending on the road situation. Used in conjunction with newly-developed tyres, it provides 30 percent more lateral stability than a conventional system with a fixed camber setting and standard tyres. This considerably enhances active safety, since better lateral stability equals improved road adhesion and greater cornering stability.
Active camber control boosts the research vehicle’s maximum lateral acceleration to 1.28 g, meaning that the concept study outperforms current sports cars by some 28 percent.
The active camber control in the Mercedes F 400 Carving paves the way for an equally new asymmetrical-tread tyre concept. When the two-seater car is cornering, the outer wheels tilt inwards, leaving only the inner area of these tyres in contact with the road. This area of the tread is slightly rounded off. Meanwhile both the tread pattern and the rubber blend have been specially selected to ensure highly dynamic and extremely safe cornering. When driving straight ahead, however, it is the outer areas of the tyres that are in contact with the road.
These areas have a tried-and-tested car tread pattern, offering excellent high-speed and low-noise performance. Two different concepts therefore come to fruition in a single tyre, thanks to active camber control.
The research vehicle’s “Carving” epithet symbolises the new technology, evoking images of the high-speed winter sport in which adepts perform sharp turns on a specially shaped highly agile ski.
Less risk of skidding and shorter emergency stopping distance
The Mercedes F 400 Carving is something of a mobile research laboratory for the Stuttgart-based automotive engineers. They will be using it to investigate the undoubted further potential of this new chassis technology: besides offering excellent directional stability during cornering, the new technology ensures a much higher level of active safety in the event of an emergency. By way of example, if there is a risk of skidding, the wheel camber is increased by an appropriate degree. The resultant gain in lateral stability significantly enhances the effect of ESP®, the Electronic Stability Program. If the research car needs to be braked in an emergency, all four of its wheels can be tilted in next to no time, thus shortening the stopping distance from 100 km/h by a good five metres.
Electronic steering, active hydropneumatic system and light from glass fibres
In addition to active camber control, the F 400 Carving research car is fitted with other forward-looking steering and chassis systems, including a steer-by-wire system. Sensors pick up the driver’s steering inputs and send this information to two microcomputers which, in turn, control an electrically driven steering gear. The DaimlerChrysler engineers also charted new territory when it came to the suspension tuning, and introduced a first: an active hydropneumatic system that optimises the suspension and damping in line with the changing situation on the road, all at lightning speed.
The Mercedes F 400 Carving is also the showcase for a totally new form of lighting technology developed by the Stuttgart-based researchers: fibre-optic lines are used to transmit light from xenon lamps beneath the bonnet to the main headlamps. This technology stands out by virtue of its high performance and extremely space-saving design. Additional headlamps positioned on the sides also come on when the car is cornering.
Exciting design symbolising innovation and emotion
The F 400 Carving is an exciting and harmonious blend of technology and design. The shape of the sports car – notably its distinctive wing profiles – provides the necessary room for the wheels to move when the active camber control is at work during cornering and, at the same time, emphasises the youthful and highly adventurous nature of this concept study. In order to reflect the research car’s high-quality driving dynamics, the designers opted for a speedster concept – incorporating an extended bonnet, a windscreen with an extremely sharp rake, a short tail end and an interior tailor-made for two.
Asian premiere for the new SL-Class with SBC braking system as standard
Alongside the F 400 Carving research car, Mercedes-Benz is also giving the new SL-Class its Asian premiere at the Tokyo Motor Show in Japan. The sports car continues the long tradition of the coveted Mercedes series whose unique success story began in 1954 with the legendary “gullwing” 300 SL. Since then, the Stuttgart manufacturer has produced some 490,000 of these exclusive dream sports cars.
A combination of state-of-the-art electronic chassis systems, unique in the world, enables the new SL to serve up an unparalleled, dynamic driving experience and, at the same time, provide superlative active safety, giving it a special position among sports cars. Of all its technical milestones, it is Sensotronic Brake Control (SBC) – the electro-hydraulic braking system – that leads the way. Mercedes-Benz is the first automotive brand in the world to offer this system. SBC works together with ESP® – the proven Electronic Stability Program – and with Active Body Control (ABC) suspension. The latter reduces body roll to a minimum when cornering or braking. All of which means that the new SL-Class comes with a unique package of high-performance electronic control systems fitted as standard.
Further features that are unique in this sports car class include the aluminium vario-roof which, at the push of a button, transforms the Roadster into a Coupé within 16 seconds. Under the bonnet of the new SL-Class, a powerful V8 engine serves up 225 kW/306 hp and 460 Newton metres of torque from its five-litre capacity. It ranks as one of the most potent engines in this vehicle class and propels the new SL 500 from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6.3 seconds.
- A new, previously unoccupied segment for an innovative open roadster
- New dimensions in road safety
- Innovative research and technology carrier
- Active Tire Tilt Control (ATTC)
- Entirely new tire design with asymmetrical profile and new rubber mix distribution
- Active Body Control (ABC) with new high-dynamic AHP-suspension-struts
- Electro-hydraulic braking system SBC™ with carbon-fibre-reinforced ceramic brake discs
- Pure electronic steering system “steer-by-wire”
- 42V electrical system with generator coupled to drive train
- “Shift-by-wire” with steering-wheel-mounted shifting-paddles
- Six-speed sequential gearbox with rear-wheel drive
- “Drive-by-wire” with ESP III+x function
- V6 3.2litre engine with dry-sump lubrication
- Tubular space frame with carbon-fibre bodywork
- Lighting with fibre-optic waveguides and xenon
- Highly individual design
- Maximum output (kW/rpm): 165/5,600
- Maximum torque (Nm/rpm): 315/3,000 – 4,800
- Acceleration 0-100km/h (sec): 6.9
- Approximated top speed (km/h): 241
- Maximum lateral acceleration (g): 1.28