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Mercedes-Benz unveils "sliding doors" concept

Ahead of the Geneva Motor Show which opens to the public March 4, Mercedes-Benz has released sneak preview pictures of its latest concept, a car with sliding rear doors.

The F 800 Style research vehicle, dubbed the "sedan of tomorrow," gives a glimpse into the vision that Mercedes Benz has for its future models. Most strikingly, the rear doors of the vehicles pivot and slide backwards to allow passenger access, in the same manner as commercial vans commonly seen on today's roads. The designers used a swivel arm to avoid including door rails on the exterior, giving the vehicle the appearance of being cast in one piece when the doors are closed.

Mercedes-Benz has made the F 800 Style longer and wider than current sedans, suggesting that it believes consumers will want a more spacious interior and freedom of movements for occupants. To achieve this without a decrease in efficiency, the car would be offered with either plug-in hybrid or fuel cell drive propulsion. A translucent roof has been included to allow more light into the wood-finished interior.

Over 100 new production and concept vehicles are due to be debuted at the Geneva show (http://www.salon-auto.ch), one of the biggest on the automotive calendar. Last week, Vauxhall unveiled the Flextreme GT/E concept, a mid-sized vehicle that also featured a glass roof and electric powertrain. Like Mercedes-Benz, Vauxhall is aiming to demonstrate the flexibility of electric propulsion across vehicle sizes; "size really doesn't matter when it comes to driving a car with zero C02 emissions," said the firm.