Frankfurt Motor Show: Mercedes F125! research vehicle

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Of the myriad cars on the Mercedes Frankfurt stand, the F125! Research vehicle is the one that really stands out, and not just because of the shouty exclamation mark.

This research vehicle, wannabe executives of the future, is the way big Mercs will look one day: it's the S-Class 2025, as the Mercedes crystal ball sees it.

Yeah, we don't really believe Mercedes on that one either – it has gullwing doors, for Pete's sake – but here's hoping.

It's powered by hydrogen, so all that's coming out of the tailpipe is water, and its creators say the futuristic fuel cell it uses could give it more power than an S63 AMG. Yet, on a tank of hydrogen it will have a 600-mile range.

The fuel cell turns the hydrogen into electricity, which is sent to four electric motors, one at each wheel each in a system called e4MATIC. It gives the F125 intelligent four-wheel drive by controlling the torque going to each corner.

The body and chassis are made using plenty of aluminium and, like Frankfurt's Audi A2 Concept, carbon fibre reinforced plastic. So, it weighs far less than today's S-Class, which it's a similar size to, albeit lower, a bit shorter and wider.

The cockpit is full of touch screens and can also understand hand gestures, sort of like the computers in Minority Report, but presumably not linked at all times to three prophetic ladies floating in a big bath.

It is linked at all times to the internet though, meaning no more rushing home to Wikipedia to win that argument about how many years Happy Days ran for; using voice control, you'll be able to ask the all-knowing internet directly. Ay!

And while you're high-fiving the kids in the back because you knew the answer is ten years (thanks, Wikipedia), the car will drive itself – it's semi-autonomous, says Mercedes.