We’ll be the first to admit, we’re Mercedes apologists and we were eagerly anticipating the debut of the latest and greatest from Stuttgart. This time it came in the form of the F800, a research design study that really speaks to the current direction of the brand. While some seem to think the F800 is a precursor to the next-generation CLS, we think it’s more likely that the CLS would merely borrow from a few design successes of the F800. The vehicle itself was lent a few things from existing Benz models, with the C-Class pug nose and the heroic, single-bar grille found on the SLS, among others. The headlamps certainly scream CLS, and with LED-mania still in full swing it stands to reason that we could be looking at the newest iteration of Mercedes lights. The rear of the car is not traditional Benz; the rear lights have migrated from the top of the trunk and are now oblong, bearing a resemblance to several current Jaguar lights. The F800 has also jumped on the oversized exhaust-port bandwagon, which is typically a sleek look but on this model looks too chunky and futuristic. The car really shines from the side, however; the beltline fades in and out at the rear doors, which is a truly terrific look. The rising line from the bottom of the front doors (a look copied on both luxury and economy cars these days) continues seamlessly onto the rear bumper and integrates very well into the overall design of the car.
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Engineers have presented the car as having two powertrains available, specifically a plug-in hybrid and a fuel cell. The hybrid mates a powerful V6 to an 81-kilowatt motor to produce an astonishing 403bhp, enough to get the F800 to 60mph in under five seconds. The fuel cell, which Mercedes has used in a number of concept vehicles, would produce roughly 135bhp and double the torque; four hydrogen tanks are mated to an onboard oxygen supply, ultimately powering a lithium-ion battery to drive the vehicle. Look for the F800 to evolve over the next year or two; we’re hoping to see it or something like it on the road someday.