In 2011 Mercedes-Benz celebrated its 125th anniversary as a car company, More specifically they celebrated 125-years since the first car was patented by Karl Benz. As part of the festivities Mercedes-Benz unveiled a forward-thinking vehicle at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The F 125! concept, or “research vehicle” as Mercedes-Benz called it, was a large, luxury car with dramatic gullwing doors, a high-tech cabin, and a powerful hydrogen-fuel cell drivetrain.
Mercedes-Benz say that their average concept car looks ahead by about seven or eight years, but with the F 125! they looked ahead to the year 2025 and beyond. Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development said of the F 125! concept: “With the F 125! we want to show that large, comfortable and safe saloon cars have an excellent future, partly because they are able to operate with no emissions. The legend that is the S-Class will continue into the future thanks to intelligent solutions that always have the customer’s needs in mind.”
The shape of the Mercedes-Benz F 125! concept, coupled with the one-door-per-side layout hides the large size of the car. In photos it almost looks like a small coupe, but in reality it is a large, luxury car with plenty of room for four adults. With the doors closed, the F 125! concept looks futuristic, but at the same time it retains the characteristic Mercedes-Benz conservatism – especially for a concept that’s supposed to be looking 15 years into the unknown. The rear view is particularly classy and the curving taillights work great with the gentle lines of the car.
But the Mercedes-Benz F 125! concept isn’t just about looking good, it’s also about showing how large, luxury cars can evolve to be more economical without sacrificing performance or grace. The F 125! is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and lithium-sulphur batteries. The resulting electrical power is sent to four electric motors – one for each wheel. In total, the modular e4MATIC system, which also uses improved drive components from the SLS AMG E-CELL, generates a continuous output of 231 hp (170 kW ) and a peak output of 313 hp (230 kW ).
In performance numbers that equates to a zero-to-sixty time of just 4.9 seconds, and a top speed of 137 mph. And unlike the limited range of electric cars, the F 125! can go over 600 miles (1,000 km) before refueling.
As you’d expect from a Merc, the interior is full of gadgets and technology. Specifically the F 125! concept is equipped with speech and hand-gesture recognition systems which allow the driver and passengers to interact with the car without actually touching anything. For example, by using the infotainment system the driver can request news stories of interest and set the cabin temperature, all without taking their hands off the wheel.
A high-resolution wide-image display of the view behind makes exterior mirrors unnecessary.
The Mercedes-Benz F 125!’s instrument cluster can be set in 3D mode if requested. The head unit in the upper section of the centre console uses projector-beam technology, and is controlled via a touchpad with 3D fingertracking located within easy reach of the driver. A further, retractable 17-inch display is installed on the front passenger side, and this is fully controlled by hand gestures. In this way a rear passenger can select their TV programs with no physical contact.
To sum up. The Mercedes-Benz F 125! is big and it’s clever. But it’s also (relatively) kind to the environment and unavailable for purchase.