Inside, the new generation model differs from the outgoing model with new eye-catching colours, a new four-spoke steering wheel featuring elliptical thumb-operated buttons and a new control unit for the standard-fit THERMATIC automatic climate control. The Mercedes designers have also redefined the coordinated colour schemes, upholstery and materials; for the AVANTGARDE line in particular there are two new colours (cognac brown and sahara beige), which add an extra touch of refinement in conjunction with the black roof lining.
Safety: setting the standards in the premium segment with PRE-SAFE and other innovations
Pioneering innovations help the E-Class continue to set the pace of passenger car safety in its market segment: Saloon and Estate are equipped as standard with the anticipatory PRE-SAFE system whose “reflexes” respond before an impending collision by activating protection measures for the driver and front passenger. As a result, the seatbelt and airbag provide maximum protection in the event of a collision. PRE-SAFE , a world first which went into series production in the S-Class in 2002 and since then has received numerous international awards, heralds the start of a new era in vehicle safety. No other premium-class model can offer this kind of anticipatory protection system.
The standard-fit NECK-PRO head restraints on the E-Class are equally unique. During a rear impact the sensor-controlled head restraints are moved forward to provide protection for the driver’s and front passenger’s heads within milliseconds. The crash-responsive head restraints prevent the upper spinal column from bending as a result of the accident, reducing the risk of whiplash injuries, one of the most common accident injuries costing around eight billion euros annually in the European Union.
Mercedes Benz is fitting the new generation E-Class with flashing brake lights to prevent rear-end collisions. They warn the drivers behind more effectively than conventional brake lights when there is a risk of an accident. Tests conducted by Mercedes engineers show that the drivers’ braking reaction time can be shortened on average by up to 0.2 seconds if a flashing warning light is used during emergency braking. As a result, the braking distance can be reduced by 5.50 metres at 62 mph.
Mercedes Benz has also consistently fine-tuned the occupant safety features on the E-Class. The Saloon and Estate meet the most stringent international crash standards such as the U.S. 50 mph rear impact test or the new U.S. side crash test, which simulates a collision with a heavy off-road vehicle. To date, the E-Class has completed some 330 crash tests as part of ongoing improvements to vehicle safety.
Intelligent Light System: world premiere of new headlamp technology
The new generation E-Class is the first vehicle to feature adaptive headlamps, which respond to the prevailing driving and weather conditions providing a significant improvement in driving safety. The Intelligent Light System, available as an option for the Saloon and Estate, is based on the powerful bi-xenon headlamps and includes five different lighting functions: the new country mode provides brighter, further illumination of the offside verge than the previous low-beam headlamps. Here the driver’s range of vision is increased by around ten metres, which allows him to recognise other road users or obstacles earlier in the dark. The motorway mode, activated automatically at speeds above 56 mph, produces an even light cone that extends to a range of up to 120 metres, illuminating the entire road width. In the centre of this light cone the driver can see around 50 metres further. Thanks to the enhanced fog lamps, also part of the new Intelligent Light System, Mercedes Benz has also improved orientation in fog whilst reducing backglare.
The engineers in Sindelfingen have further developed and improved the Active Light System, which Mercedes Benz unveiled in the E-Class in spring 2003. Another component of the Intelligent Light System is the cornering light function, which provides enhanced safety when turning at intersections or taking bends slowly.