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World safety first on new E-Class

11 April 2006

  • Lighting that adapts to conditions and speed
  • Executive car on sale in July
  • Updated car gets safety innovations from S-Class

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The world's first intelligent lighting system is to appear on the Mercedes-Benz saloon and estate in July. The system adapts to the car's speed and the type of road and is exclusive to the new E-Class

The intelligent lighting system gives the headlamps four different beam patterns and intensities. The car automatically swaps between them according to your speed and whether you are driving in a straight line or turning:

• On unlit country roads, the right-hand edge of the carriageway, barely visible with conventional headlights, is illuminated to give you a wider field of vision.

• At 56mph, lighting strength increases, then at 68mph the beam becomes longer to allow you to see further ahead.

• There are also two cornering light modes – one for fast curves that gives you another 25 metres' visibility, and one for tight turns that increases your view to the side by up to 30 metres.

• The foglights also give a wider field of light distribution and less glare.

More safety systems
The intelligent lighting system may be exclusive to the new E-Class, but the E-Class also has features found on the latest S-Class limousine.

These include Mercedes' Pre-Safe anticipatory occupant protection system and Neck-Pro anti-whiplash front headrests as standard, as well as adaptive brake lights that flash in an emergency stop to warn following drivers.

The active brake lights flash when you are panic-braking in an emergency. Mercedes claims this cuts the reaction time of following drivers by 0.2 seconds – enough to give them an extra 4.4 metres to stop from 50mph, and 5.5 metres at 62mph.

'We are increasingly focused on rear-end collisions, which account for 17.5% of all collisions in Germany and up to 31% in the United States,' the company says.

Neck-Pro is an integral part of this strategy, helping to prevent injuries if you are hit from behind. The front headrests automatically move up and forwards simultaneously to restrict head movement and reduce the chances of whiplash.

Mercedes is also trying to use the time between an accident becoming inevitable and it actually happening, to ensure that occupants are as well protected as possible.

The Pre-Safe system is part of this. It uses the anti-lock brake sensors to detect potentially critical scenarios and pre-tension the front seat belts, adjust the passenger seat the best angle in relation to the airbag, and close any open windows, including the sunroof.

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