At last month's Tokyo Motor Show, DaimlerChrysler AG introduced a unique concept car, the F 400 Carving, a “research vehicle” the company says provides significantly more lateral cornering stability than a car with a standard chassis.
How's it do that? By varying the camber of the outer wheels when cornering (see photo) by as much as 20 degrees. The F 400 Carving, says the company, can develop as much as 1.28 g of cornering force, or about 30% better than the best of today's sport-oriented cars.
The active camber control concept also incorporates a new tire design that employs more-rounded tread on the inside portion of the tire — the part in contact with the road when the tire takes its “lean” into a corner. When driving straight ahead, the tire rides on the outer portions of the tread, which carries a more conventional tread pattern.
DC says the F 400 Carving active-camber suspension, in addition to delivering better cornering capability, should decrease the possibility of skids by enhancing electronic stability control; the system also should cut stopping distances by splaying all four wheels.
The F 400 Carving also features steer-by-wire technology, active hydropneumatic damping and headlights that derive their light via fiber-optic lines and a remote xenon light source under the hood.