This is the Mercedes-Benz F 400 Carving concept, which debuted at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show to a befuddled world. The goal, according to Mercedes, was to test “new dynamic handling technologies.” Sounds a little frightening.
Yes, it is a touch racy. The word Carving comes from a skiing technique in which you get on the edges of your skis for a faster turn, rather than the meat knife you might use at a Sunday roast.
The F 400’s hidden weapon was the ability to tilt the outside wheels up to 20 degrees on the way into a turn, similar to a motorcycle – or even a skier – for better road-holding. Or something along those lines.
The car would calculate the precise angle by utilizing onboard sensors to determine how much the wheels should keel over.
What is Under the Hood?
Under the hood, the F 400 Carving had a 3.2-liter V6 engine that produced 215bhp and sent it all to the rear wheels.
So yet, there’s nothing really innovative about that, even if it does sound good and spicy for an open-top roadster. Of course, it was installed with a dry sump in this application to provide a constant flow of oil to the engine, even during extreme cornering.
World Class Interior
The designers didn’t wing it on the inside, as is sometimes the case with this kind of project. The F 400 concept’s interior was designed to recall 1930s racing vehicles, with unique metallic controls running the length of the transmission tunnel.
The dashboard was allegedly supposed to float above the rest of the cabin like a wing. Everything should be alright as long as it doesn’t fly away with the steering wheel attached. For ultimate comfort, springs and dampers were installed beneath the carbon seats.
The car also featured standard-fit concept car butterfly doors, unique drive-by-wire steering and brakes, and unusual fiber optic lamps.
Because of the thinness of the bodywork where the headlights were installed, Mercedes devised a technique in which the real lightbulbs were hidden beneath the bonnet and the light was sent to the lamps via fiber optics. It’s all quite clever.
The F 400’s tires were constructed with more gripping inside shoulders for when the car was tilted – the automobile was intended such that if the driver applied emergency braking, all four wheels would turn in on themselves for optimum grip. In a growing situation, this wouldn’t be worrying at all.
Mercedes’ Sophisticated Technology
If we stare hard enough at the front end of the F 400, we can see a teeny-tiny glimpse of the 2004 SLK on the hood, but the Carver concept is manufacturing Marmite. Suspension that’s complicated?
Are there two seats available? Is there no roof? It’s incredible that a concept automobile could be built at all.
Unfortunately, the F 400 concept’s primary goal was to display Mercedes’ sophisticated technology simply because it could. Or perhaps potential purchasers were put off by the strange helmets the models were forced to wear for the press photos and walked away.
A Better Option to F 400
You could go for a bargain and locate a 2014 S-Class Coupe in the back of a junkyard with semi-collapsed suspension, or you could spend a little more and get a 2014 S-Class Coupe.
That automobile debuted with a comparable jaunty attitude through the corners, albeit accomplished in an entirely different manner.
The S-Class coop uses onboard cameras and other such technologies to assess the road ahead, adjusting the suspension on either side of the car up to 2.5 degrees on either side to allow the luxury barge to lean into the bend. Like a miniature Virgin Pendolino.