Safety - at the heart of all our thinking

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The integral safety concept from Mercedes-Benz divides vehicle safety into four phases.

Virtually no other area inspires the Mercedes-Benz engineers to produce such consistently impressive results as the research into new safety technologies. The first milestone towards attaining outstanding safety was reached back in the 1950s with the development of the passenger safety cell, invented by Béla Bárenyi.Today it is just one of many components of the integral safety concept which edges Mercedes-Benz vehicles ever closer to our vision of accident-free driving.

Phase 1: safe driving

The majority of accidents start long before the actual collision: with a lapse in concentration, poor visibility or hazards which cannot be anticipated. That's why the Mercedes-Benz safety concept employs a range of measures to support safe driving in everyday operation and to help you bring critical situations under control.

2-stage Electronic Stability Program ESP®[1]

The 2-stage Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) can reduce skidding, increase driving safety and adapt the vehicle to the chosen style of driving.

To do this, the system constantly compares current driving conditions with the driver's input. If discrepancies are identified, the system applies braking to individual wheels in order to align driver requirements with actual conditions and to prevent the vehicle skidding. In doing this, the parameters for steering angle and lateral acceleration are taken into account.

3-stage Electronic Stability Program (ESP®)[2]

The 3-stage Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) can reduce skidding, increase driving safety and adapt the vehicle to the chosen style of driving.

Three control strategies are available at the push of a button. With the ESP® switch the driver can choose between "ESP® ON" and "ESP® OFF", as well as an additional ESP® mode for off-road driving.To do this, the system constantly compares current driving conditions with the driver's input. If discrepancies are identified, the system tries to align actual operating conditions to the driver's intentions by applying the brakes to individual wheels, and to prevent the vehicle from skidding. In doing this, the parameters for steering angle, lateral acceleration and yaw rate are taken into account.

ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM with Active Roll Stabilisation (optional)[4]
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The ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM reduces the vehicle's roll angle when cornering by using its active suspension stabilisers. This enhances ride comfort for the vehicle occupants and boosts driving dynamics at mid-range speeds (winding rural roads) as well as at high speeds (motorway).The system allows the greatest possible degree of articulation and thus even better traction for off-road driving.

The ACTIVE CURVE SYSTEM determines the roll forces acting on the vehicle by means of pressure sensors in the front and rear axle rotary actuators and a lateral acceleration sensor. An electronic control unit then sends actuating signals to the valve blocks on the front and rear axle, thus controlling the oil flow in the system produced by the hydraulic pump. The pressure in the chambers and the configuration of the active suspension stabilisers mounted on each axle are then adjusted to the driving situation.

Adaptive brake light, flashing

Improved perceptual safety and reduced reaction times for drivers in following cars: the adaptive brake lights can make a significant contribution to preventing rear-end collisions by displaying emergency braking signs to vehicles.

If the driver brakes hard or initiates emergency braking from a speed greater than 50 km/h, the brake lights flash in order to warn traffic behind. If the vehicle comes to a stop from a speed greater than 70 km/h, the hazard warning lamps are switched on automatically.

Active Lane Keeping Assist (optional)[3]

The Lane Keeping Assist feature can warn the driver, by means of a discreet vibration of the steering wheel, as soon as he unintentionally crosses a lane marking and thereby leaves the lane he is in.

If the vehicle is crossing a solid line and the driver does not react to the warning, braking is applied to individual wheels as required.

If, however, prior to crossing the lane, the indicator had been actuated or the steering wheel firmly turned, the system assumes that the lane change is intentional and does not react.

Anti-lock braking system (ABS)

The anti-lock braking system (ABS) can enhance driving safety, especially in critical braking situations. When braking heavily, ABS can prevent the individual wheels from locking by modulating. This ensures that the vehicle remains directionally stable and can be steered while maintaining maximum braking power. In other words: ABS allows the driver to brake and steer simultaneously – allowing precise evasive manoeuvring – in order to avoid an accident.

Acceleration skid control (ASR)

The acceleration skid control (ASR) system works together with the 4ETS Electronic Traction System for all-wheel drive. ASR helps to prevent individual wheels spinning or the car sheering out to the side, particularly when moving off on snow, ice or gravel, by reducing the power supplied to individual wheels in a targeted way. If, however, it registers that a wheel is starting to spin, 4ETS applies braking pressure to the wheel in a controlled way until the necessary grip on the driving surface is restored.

Brake Assist (BAS)

Brake Assist (BAS) can provide assistance to the driver during emergency stops. The system can recognise emergency braking from the speed at which the brake pedal is depressed and can automatically supply full braking power.

The anti-lock braking system (ABS) simultaneously meters the braking power up to the slip threshold – the vehicle remains steerable. Once the driver releases the brake pedal, automatic brake boosting is immediately terminated.

ADAPTIVE BRAKE braking system

The ADAPTIVE BRAKE system improves ride comfort and safety by helping to perform critical braking manoeuvres more safely with the basic function of the ABS anti-lock braking system, while convenience functions support the driver in everyday driving situations.

  • Supportive HOLD function: the ADAPTIVE BRAKE system's HOLD function, which is activated by briefly depressing the brake pedal, prevents unintentional rolling when stopped at a traffic light or in stop-and-go traffic.
  • Extra help: the Hill-Start Assist function prevents the vehicle from rolling back unexpectedly on uphill gradients when moving from the brake to the accelerator pedal.
  • Braking effect with no delay: the "brake drying" function removes the film of water that forms on the brake discs in wet conditions.
  • For an even quicker response: With the "Priming" option, the brake linings on the brake discs are primed as soon as the driver takes his foot off the accelerator quickly.
Electronic Traction System (4ETS) for all-wheel drive

The Electronic Traction System 4ETS can increase safety in critical driving situations: it is a driving dynamics control system which helps maintain traction and handling through appropriate activation of the wheel brakes and engine management.

The system forms part of ESP® and brakes the drive wheels individually if they start to spin. This means that starting off and accelerating is also possible on slippery surfaces, e.g. when the road is icy on one side. In addition more drive torque is transferred to the wheel(s) that still have traction.

Reversing camera (optional)[5]
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The reversing camera offers convenience and added safety. The camera integrated in the tailgate transmits an image of the area behind the vehicle to the COMAND Online multimedia system display. The camera image not only makes parking easier but also aids in manoeuvring on terrain with visibility limitations.

Cross-Wind Assist
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The Crosswind Assist can help the driver to keep the vehicle on course, considerably increase the driver's sense of security and prevent inappropriate responses to sudden gusts of wind. With the ESP® sensor system, strong gusts of side wind can be recognised in good time and the brakes can be actuated automatically to correct the vehicle's direction.

In this way the system can prevent strong, gusting side winds causing the vehicle to go off course suddenly. Actuation of the brakes on the side of the vehicle facing the wind creates a yaw response which counters the crosswind disturbance. The track offset experienced by the vehicle is considerably reduced as a result.

360° camera (optional)[5], [6]
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The system comprises a short-range camera system with four cameras and a control unit, which together can provide a bird's-eye view of the vehicle and its surroundings. One camera is fitted in the centre of the radiator grille at the front, one camera is fitted in each of the exterior mirrors and one camera is fitted in the centre of the tailgate.The resulting "virtual viewpoint" produced by the camera images covers an area of approximately three metres in front of and behind the vehicle. The images are shown on a display in the head unit.

When reversing or parking, additional guide lines, already familiar from the reversing camera function, are displayed to help orientation and the parking manoeuvre. The swivel range when turning the wheel is shown along the sides of the vehicle. The camera image changes automatically when the gear is changed (forwards/reversing). The four camera views can also be selected individually through the central controls in the head unit.

DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control (optional)[3]

The Driving Assistance Package Plus makes an active contribution to safety in everyday driving situations. The proximity control, lane-change control and blind spot warning functions together with the brake system optimisation all contribute decisively to safe travel and a safe arrival.

  • Keeping one’s distance: DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control helps the driver to maintain a specified (timed) distance from the vehicle in front when travelling at speeds of 0 to 200 km/h.
  • Extended field of vision: The Active Blind Spot Assist uses radar and monitors the blind spot areas to the left, right and rear of the vehicle. If a vehicle is detected within the monitored range, a warning symbol is displayed in the driver's exterior mirror. Should the driver fail to notice the warning and start to change lane, the ESP® system can intervene.
  • Staying in line: Active Lane Keeping Assist continuously registers the lane markings on the road. Should the system identify that the vehicle is drifting over a line or markings in an uncontrolled manner, it can counter this with an active braking intervention
  • If required: the BAS PLUS Brake Assist system can help to make the best use of the stopping distance available between the driver's own vehicle and an obstacle, so that the driver behind also has enough space for braking
  • In the event of danger: the PRE-SAFE® brake can help prevent rear-end collisions. The system issues three warning tones to alert the driver if it detects the immediate risk of a rear-end collision. If the driver does not respond, the system initiates autonomous partial braking 1.6 seconds before the calculated collision moment, decelerating the vehicle with around 40 percent of maximum braking power (4 m/s2), providing a further prompt to take action Should the driver fail to react to this haptic signal too, the PRE-SAFE® brake will - if the collision can no longer be avoided - trigger an autonomous full brake application, which can mitigate the severity of the impact.
Tail lights with LED fibre optics

The LED bicolour tail lamps give the car a striking external appearance and improve active safety in traffic with their fast response.

The taillamp and side marker lamp use LED fibre optic technology and the indicators LED technology, while the brake lamp, reversing lights and rear fog lamp use bulbs.

Phase 2: in critical situations

Mercedes-Benz stands for automotive safety. That's why our vehicles can support their passengers even in critical driving situations, so that every journey is as safe as it can possibly be.

COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST
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Too small a distance between vehicles is the main cause of severe accidents. The newly-developed radar-based collision warning system COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST can improve safety and ride comfort by warning drivers when the gap between their own vehicle and vehicles ahead is too small and can support the driver’s braking if it detects danger.

The system can detect gaps that are too small between the vehicle and objects in front when driving at speeds of over 30 km/h. If the system has registered there is a danger of a rear-end collision and possible impact, the driver can be warned visually and audibly.

If the system detects a danger and the driver brakes at the same time, the adaptive Brake Assist can intervene: it provides the driver with the exact degree of braking power needed to ideally avoid an imminent collision. The COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST is an innovative component of the integral safety concept from Mercedes-Benz.

PRE-SAFE® occupant protection system

The PRE-SAFE® occupant protection system, which is fitted as standard, can recognise critical driving situations and, if necessary, pre-emptively activate reversible safety systems to help reduce the risk of injury to the vehicle occupants. To do this, PRE-SAFE® permanently monitors sensor data from systems such as the ESP® and BAS , and can thus, for example, recognise vehicle over/understeering as well as emergency braking.

Phase 3: in an accident

Cars from Mercedes-Benz have a host of safety systems to prevent accidents. Should the worst come to the worst, however, a number of occupant safety measures are activated. They include protection for the vehicle occupants as well as for other road users.

Pedestrian protection with Active Bonnet[2]
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The active bonnet can reduce the risk of injury to pedestrians and cyclists. If the system identifies a collision, the rear section of the active bonnet rises up by approximately 100 miilimeters by means of pyrotechnics. This produces additional deformation space to absorb the impact energy.

ISOFIX child seat attachment points

ISOFIX allows quick and easy child seat attachment in the rear. Its fixed anchorage points ensure a high degree of protection in the event of an accident. Two attachment points per (outer) seat are located in the backrest area and are directly connected to the vehicle chassis.

Windowbags for driver, front passenger and rear passengers

In a side-on collision of a sufficient force (and other accidents with a high level of lateral dynamics), the risk of an occupant's head smashing against the side of the vehicle or objects entering the vehicle is reduced by the windowbags, which cover the side windows upon inflation.

Once released, the windowbag covers the side pane between the A and C-pillars like a curtain. This leads to a large area of the side being covered by the windowbag. The windowbags are inflated at the same time as the sidebags (combined thorax/pelvisbags), as a rule on the side of the vehicle absorbing the side impact.

Kneebag for driver

The kneebag on the driver's side helps to protect the legs during impact and also stabilises the entire body. It can thus help mitigate the potential severity of injuries sustained in an accident. If the crash sensors detect a collision of a certain strength, the kneebag is deployed.

Sidebags in the rear, left and right (optional)

The sidebags for the outer seats in the second row help to protect the body in a side-on collision. They stabilise the entire upper body and can help to reduce the severity of injuries sustained in an accident.

They are triggered if the crash sensors register acceleration or deceleration forces acting on the vehicle in excess of a specific threshold. The sidebags deploy at chest height between the side of the vehicle and the occupants

Sidebags for driver and front passenger (combined thorax/pelvis airbag)

The sidebags for the driver and front passenger (combined thorax/pelvis bags) provide protection for the occupants’ upper torso and pelvis area in a side impact, and also afford additional stability to the entire body. They are thus able to mitigate the severity of injuries sustained in an accident.

Phase 4: after an accident

To reduce consequential damage after an accident and support the work of the rescue services, a number of different actions are initiated, depending on the type and severity of the accident:

  • Best possible protection: the engine can be turned off automatically and the fuel supply can be cut off
  • Eye-catching lighting: hazard and emergency interior lights can activate automatically to lower the risk of accidents and help locate the car
  • Measures to aid rescue: where necessary, side windows are lowered by a small amount and the doors can be automatically unlocked. Additionally, integral crash joints between the wing and the door can make opening the doors after a frontal collision easier
  • Helpful connection: In the event of an accident or breakdown the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system (in conjunction with a connected mobile phone) can automatically contact an emergency call centre.

[1] Available for GL 63 AMG only.[2] Not available for GL 63 AMG.[3] Part of the optional Driving Assistance package Plus.[4] Standard with GL 63 AMG.[5] Only available in conjunction with the optional COMAND Online multimedia system[6] Part of the optional Parking package.