Mercedes’ F500 Mind contains a host of technological advancements that are expected to filter through to the rest of the range.

Combining Mercedes’ workmanship with smooth good looks, it was on display at the Tokyo Show.

The massive five-door MPV has been heralded as a mobile research laboratory, with all its technological features.

Sources say the new concept car provides clues to the appearance of the next-generation S-Class due out in 2005. The move mirrors that of the earlier F200 concept car shown at the Paris show in 1996, which revealed the front-end of the current S-Class.

Measuring five metres, this new concept car is a giant and just five centimetres shorter than Mercedes-Benz's flagship saloon. It uses exactly the same wheelbase as today's S-class and derives its power from the same 184kW 4.0-litre V8 common rail diesel engine used in the European S400 CDI. The engine works in conjunction with a 50kW electric motor, an example of the advanced hybrid drive system that uses both diesel power and electric propulsion that Mercedes claims can reduce average fuel consumption by up to 20 percent.

Central to the F500 Mind's innovations is an advanced packaging layout that uses an electrically operated accelerator and brake pedals to free up valuable interior space, especially for rear passengers. It's complemented by a so-called multi-vision display unit, designed to provide the driver with a more flexible delivery of information while also reducing fatigue. The dials and displays in the instrument cluster are programmable and the images can be optically superimposed or combined with the aid of a semi-transparent mirror.

Another highlight is a new ultrasound feature that targets the driver, so information from the navigation system and other related traffic information do not disturb other passengers.

A system that's rumoured to be close to production is the F500 Mind's night vision. Designed to operate at night or during poor visibility, it uses two infrared laser units mounted in the headlamp assemblies at the front of the car and a camera behind the windscreen. Images are projected onto the display, which allows the driver to spot hazards up to 150 metres away.

The F500 includes trick rear doors too that can be opened conventionally, or backwards on an additional hinging system. The lack of a traditional B-pillar helps provide the new concept car with an almost coupe-like profile that's further accentuated by its flashy rear end. Mercedes-Benz has also provided the F500 Mind with a radical new glass roof that includes a central pillar between the front seats for added strength.

Original article from Car