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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - F 400 Carving - concept

Tokyo Show: Benz gets a handle on handling

Show and go: The Carving's has speedster styling and a high level of handling and braking.

Grip is the name of the game for Benz's new F 400 Carving concept car

Mercedes-Benz logo16 Oct 2001

MERCEDES-BENZ has released the first pictures of a concept car called the F 400 Carving it will exhibit at the Tokyo Motor Show next week.

Benz says the Carving is a research vehicle with dynamic systems "designed to give the cars of tomorrow and beyond substantially enhanced active safety and dynamic handling control".

The main feature of the F 400 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, Benz says it provides 30 per cent more lateral stability than a conventional system with a fixed camber setting and standard tyres.

The target of the design is to improve lateral stability, which in turn provides improved road adhesion and greater cornering stability.

Active camber control boosts the concept's maximum lateral acceleration to 1.28g, Benz saying that means the Carving outperforms current sports cars by some 28 per cent.

The active camber control in the Carving is mated to an asymmetrical-tread tyre, which combines a rounded inner tread for increased grip when cornering with a traditional car tread pattern on the outer side to aid high-speed and low noise performance when driving in a straight line.

The "Carving" name is meant to symbolise the new technology, linking the handling prowess of the car with aggressive snow skiing.

Mercedes-Benz will use the technology to investigate the development of directional stability during cornering in terms of both handling and braking. Benz says that if the F 400 needs to be braked in an emergency all four of its wheels can be tilted almost instantaneously, shortening the stopping distance from 100 km/h by about five metres.

In addition to active camber control, the F 400 Carving is fitted with a steer-by-wire system, an active hydropneumatic suspension system and fibre-optic liners for the xenon headlights.

The powerplant for the Carving was not revealed.

The F 400 Carving's body is specifically designed to enable the wheels to move when the active camber control is at work during cornering, while the speedster-style design with extended bonnet, raked windscreen, a short tail two-seater interior is also intended to emphasise the car's extreme handling capabilities.

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