1997 Mercedes-Benz F300 Life Jet

The idea behind the F 300 Life Jet, presented at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show, was to combine the benefits of a motorbike with those of a car. Being able to lean into corners, to feel the power of the engine, and be closer to the elements: these are the trademark motorbike characteristics of the F 300 Life Jet. Its car-like properties include greater stability thanks to its three wheels, a roof, seat belts, and air conditioning. Also, it requires neither a helmet nor protective clothing.

The most striking feature of this research vehicle was its unique Active Tilt Control, which was developed especially for the F 300 Life Jet and allows it to lean into corners. It also featured specially developed tires that allowed for such a large tilt angle. The chassis of the F 300 Life Jet was made of aluminum and weighed just 89 kilograms. The bodyshell was inspired by airplane design, as were the vertically opening front-hinged doors. In fine weather, the two roof sections could be removed and stowed in the boot, turning the F 300 Life Jet into a cabriolet.

The headlamps' electronics were linked to the computer for the Active Tilt Control system and could thus switch on a special cornering light. The idea of headlamps that follow the line of the road can now be found in the Active Light System available on Mercedes-Benz cars such as the E-Class.

The F 300 Life Jet was the first research vehicle to be designed completed by computer. As such, it also served to test a new design tool.

Sources: Mercedes-Benz, @motor1com