Mercedes adds more new safety tech in next S-Class

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Words: NZ Autocar
30 Jul 2020

The forthcoming S-Class replacement will feature new convenience and safety items like rear-axle steering and rear airbags that are incorporated in the front seat backrests.

The latter are tubular in shape and evidently deploy more gently than regular airbags. Testing has shown that they can greatly reduce the loads acting on the heads and necks of the outer rear passengers in frontal collisions. There’s also a new centre airbag to prevent head clashes between front seat occupants during a serious crash.

And to improve side impact protection, the vehicle body can be raised on one side by 8cm, thanks to the quick-acting E-Active Body Control suspension. Thus, a side collision is minimised because part of the impact energy is dispersed to lower, stronger parts of the vehicle.

E-Active Body control also regulates spring and damper rates at individual wheels, based on what cameras detect ahead. If there are curves, the body leans into them to counteract centrifugal force.

Can a large luxury saloon be almost as manoeuvrable as a compact car? Affirmative says Mercedes, with up to 10 degrees of rear-wheel steering. Thus, the turning circle is reduced by 2m to under 11m for the long-wheelbase S-Class.

Active Parking Assist has been enhanced with a new 3D view assist from the 360 degree camera. Positions of pedestrians, road users and objects are determined and relayed to the driver. When Parking Assist is active, the car will automatically stop to prevent hitting errant pedestrians or objects.

There’s also a new exit warning function. The MBUX system recognises when a hand is moving toward the door handle, and it then illuminates a red warning triangle in the exterior mirror and warns others via the active ambient lighting.

Mercedes says these safety developments are contributing to an accident-free future for the brand.

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