Mercedes-Banz_E-Class_Safety_3The latest, tenth generation, version of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class model is due to be released here within a few weeks. We’ll be attending the Australian launch and will provide a full review of this luxurious, prestigious and stylish medium-large car at the time.

To avoid the information overload that would otherwise occur, Benz has given us a pre-launch overview of the remarkable range of technologically advanced safety and other features within the car. While many of these have been seen previously there are a number of new features that combine to make the new E-Class one of the smartest and safest cars ever produced.

Details of some of the most notable of these features are:

Drive Pilot
Semi-autonomous driving is the way of the future and Mercedes-Benz has incorporated a number of features into the new E-Class within its Intelligent Drive package. Drive Pilot is activated through the cruise control lever and uses a combination of cameras, radars and sensors to effectively allow the car to drive by itself. There are three components, Distance Pilot (adaptive cruise control), Steering Pilot and Active Lane-Change Assist each of which performs different function. Importantly in these early days of autonomous driving Drive Pilot requires the driver to touch the steering wheel at least once every minute for the system to continue to operate.


Pre-Safe Impulse Side
This is an extension of the airbag principle (the E-Class comes with nine of them) and has small air chambers inside the front seats that inflate when the car’s monitoring systems sense an imminent side impact from up to 40 metres away and pushes whichever occupant is at risk towards the centre of the car.

Pre-Safe Sound
While it’s not one of the most obvious consequences of a collision, the extreme noise from an impact can cause permanent damage to the occupants’ hearing. When the vehicles’ sensors detect a collision is about to happen Pre-Safe Sound uses the car’s audio system to emit a short interference signal that triggers a contraction of the inner ear muscle and mutes the noise of both the actual impact and the airbag explosion.

Active Brake Assist
A feature that we’re familiar with which first warns the drive of an impending collision and applies the brakes where necessary. It includes a Cross-Traffic function that also operates when a collision with either vehicles or pedestrians approaching from the sides of the car.

Parking Pilot
Another increasingly common feature Parking Pilot allows the car to automatically park itself. Unfortunately it doesn’t come with an enhancement available in overseas markets where the car can to be parked remotely using a smartphone app paired with Bluetooth without the driver having to be within the car.

Attention Assist
There are signs that driver inattention is finally starting to receive the focus that it deserves as a cause of road casualties. While most are the result of distraction caused by the use of smartphones and similar devices, drivers’ falling asleep at the wheel remains at major problem, especially in long-distance trips such as those for which the E-Class is ideally suited. Attention Assist creates an individual profile of the driver, recognizing behaviour while the driver is fully alert and using it as the basis for comparison during the rest of the drive. When the system notices such changes and eliminates other causes it sends an audible and visible alert to the driver.


Multibeam LED Headlights
An important feature for long-distance night driving, each headlamp in the new E-Class incorporates 84 individually activated LEDs for more precise and higher illumination. The light distribution on each headlamp can be controlled separately to adapt to changes on the road ahead.

Widescreen Cockpit Display
The most visible change in the interior of the new E-Class is the pair of adjacent high-resolution 12.3-inch screens that cover around two-thirds of the dashboard. The smaller of the two is located directly in front of the driver and contains the instrument cluster, the other, with comfort and infotainment features, sits in the centre of the dashboard.

There are a number of other features in this remarkable car that your local Benz dealer will be happy to show potential buyers … but you’ll need to put aside a couple of hours.

We’ll report further on the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class when we attend the full launch but in summary it will come with the choice of three four-cylinder engines; two diesel (2.0- and 3.0-litre) and one 2.0-litre petrol engine, all of which are mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission. Prices start at $89,990 for the E200 petrol with the E220 d priced at $92,900 and the E350 d at $134,900.

Two more powerful petrol-powered models will be added to the range in late 2016.

About Alistair Kennedy

Alistair Kennedy is Automotive News Service and Marque Publishing's business manager and the company's jack-of-all-trades. An accountant by profession, he designs the Marque range of motoring book titles, operates the company's motoring bookshop on the NSW Central Coast and the associated web site, as well as its huge digital and hard copy database. Whenever we can escape from the office he does so to cover new vehicle releases and contributes news stories. Alistair's other interests include cricket and family history on which he has written three books.
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