FRANKFURT -- Here's a riddle for luxury automakers: How will big, high-powered cars fit into a world that's greener, more congested and more tightly regulated than today?
Mercedes-Benz rolled out one possible answer here last month with the F125! concept car.
The F125! checks off many of the boxes on automakers' future-think wish list: hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain, high-priced materials, computer-assisted driving, advanced telematics. So it's tempting to see it as a science project.
But if you listen to Thomas Weber, r&d chief for Mercedes' parent company Daimler AG, you realize that the F125! addresses a serious concern -- the future of Mercedes' S-class vehicle line.
"This is a visionary outlook that's the direction we have to go with large cars," Weber said in an interview at the Frankfurt auto show. In a company statement, Weber said the F125! shows that "the legendary S class will continue into the future."
Significantly, the F125! team peered further ahead than Daimler does with most concepts. Weber said that the company's "research cars" usually show what might happen one generation into the future.
"This research car was built with the perspective of, what does a car in 2025 look like? -- more than two generations ahead," Weber said.