Mercedes-Benz F-400 Carving (Coggiola) (2001)
The highlight of the concept (the company calls it a research vehicle) is the ability to change the angle of inclination (camber) of the wheels in a turn. Mercedes has been exploiting this idea for more than a year – remember the F300 concept, in which not only both front wheels, but also the body leaned in a motorcycle-like turn. In the F400, the body remains motionless, and only the front and rear wheels, which are external to the turn, tilt – at an angle of up to twenty degrees. Hydraulics is responsible for this.
The tires of the concept are also unusual, with an asymmetric section (the dimension of the inner part is 255 / 45R17, the outer 255 / 35R19). The inner part of the tire, which comes into action when the wheel is tilted, imitates a motorcycle tire: it is rounded, with a special tread pattern and made of rubber with a special composition – all this adds to its “tenacity”.
As a result, the F400 Carving is extraordinarily stable in corners, withstanding lateral accelerations of up to 1.28 g – a third more than a traditionally designed vehicle such as the SLK roadster.
Variable camber is also used for other purposes. During emergency braking, for example, all four wheels lean together – Carving “spreads its paws”, and its braking distance from a speed of 100 km / h is reduced by 5 meters. Or in side slip – the appropriate wheel inclination increases the effectiveness of the ESP stabilization system …
Other innovations are also being explored in the “laboratory on wheels”. Among them are steering without a rigid connection between the steering wheel and actuators (everything is carried out “by wire”), a braking system built on the same principle, an active hydropneumatic suspension with adjustable shock absorbers and head lighting using fiber optics and additional headlights that turn on in corners. ..
The leaning wheels created a problem for the designers – wheel arches had to be enlarged. They fought over her decision for more than two years, there was even an international competition in which employees of Mercedes studios in Germany, Japan and the USA participated. The result was a strictly two-seater roadster with a long flat hood and a short stern. Its appearance resembles the previous sports concepts Vision SLR and Vision SLA. Roll-up doors are inspired by the classic SL, but due to the Carving’s lack of a roof, their hinges are fixed differently.
Vehicle dimensions 3979x1890x1150 mm, wheelbase 2450 mm, track 1586 mm front and rear. Lightweight (100 kg, or 60% lighter than steel) body is made of “formula” composite materials.
Under the hood is a 3.2 liter V6 engine (218 hp, 310 Nm). It is distinguished from the serial lubrication system with a dry sump – with lateral accelerations of 1.28 g, a conventional motor would be left without oil. Six-speed gearbox with sequential shifting. Acceleration to hundreds – 6.9 seconds, maximum speed – 241 km / h.