E-Class is safest bet
It’s a big step forward in crunch control, writes PAUL GOVER in Paris
THE title of world’s safest car has already been claimed for 2009. The new, mid- sized E-Class Mercedes will set the standard, company safety chief Ulrich Mellinghoff says.
‘‘With the new E-Class we have come to a new standard,’’ he says. ‘‘It is not only a question about passive safety, we also have a lot of new assistance systems.
‘‘We have lane-departure warning, lane assistance and next-level emergency braking.’’
The new E will have to do well to trump the latest BMW 7 Series, which arrives in Australia in March, because the other German carmaker has done a top job on its flagship including a camera system that continuously updates speed limits, a secondgeneration night-vision system, and lane-departure and blindspot warnings.
But Benz will have its equipment in a car that will be more affordable and says it will not give up its leadership on safety.
‘‘Our vision is about excellence in driving. You cannot do only passive safety systems because they do not prevent accidents,’’ Mellinghoff says.
‘‘We started with the new S-Class and with the E we have helped the driver even more. With Mercedes-Benz safety is No.1 and everything else is No.2.’’
The design of the forthcoming E-Class is reflected in the Fascination concept shown by Mercedes at the Paris show, even though the radical tail-end treatment — more like a British shooting brake from the 1930s — will be reserved for the future CLK two-door and not used on the E sedan. One of the biggest changes in the car is the new emergency braking system, which intervenes earlier and harder when the car detects an imminent collision to cut impact speed.
‘‘At 50km/h there is a risk of injury, but at 30km/h passengers will not have any injuries,’’ Mellinghoff says.
The car will be the first Mercedes with a pyrotechnic bonnet, to cushion pedestrians in an impact.
‘‘The E-Class will have an active front hood. It will be the first with the system from Mercedes-Benz and the successor cars will all have it,’’ Mellinghoff says.
Shape of things to come: the Mercedes Benz Fascination concept on display at the Paris Motor Show.