The research vehicle.
Voice-controlled car telephone, autonomous intelligent cruise control, xenon headlamps and a chip card as the vehicle key: even 25 years ago, the Mercedes-Benz F 100 featured many of the systems we today take for granted – and not just those. A quarter-century ago, it was a vehicle that gave a fascinating promise of the future of automotive technology. This was due to its innovations in the key areas of passive and active safety, ergonomics and its concept of space. In its subsequent standard-production cars, the Stuttgart-based brand followed up on this promise with some pioneering systems.
In January 1991, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the research vehicle at the NAIAS show in Detroit, thereby establishing an especially exclusive family of models: the F 100 was the first Mercedes-Benz research vehicle to feature an “F” in its name. This tradition was continued by the F 200 Imagination (1996), F 300 Life Jet (1997), F 400 Carving (2002), F 500 Mind (2003), F 600 HYGENIUS (2005), F 700 (2007), F 800 Style (2010), F 125! (2011) and F 015 Luxury in Motion (2015).
The research vehicles include many other vehicles that were built in the brand's 130-year history. Examples are Carl Benz's entirely innovative patent motor car from 1886 as well as the Mercedes-Benz C 111 Wankel-engined sports car (1969), the Mercedes-Benz Vario Research Car (1995), which was designed for maximum versatility, and the Mercedes-Benz bionic car, with which the engineers in 2005 demonstrated the potential of bionics in relation to automobile construction. What all of them had in common was that they were fully functional one-off vehicles featuring new systems and technologies that could be experienced, driven and evaluated.