Safety - at the heart of all our thinking


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

Virtually no other area inspires Mercedes-Benz engineers more than researching new safety technologies. They passed their first key safety milestone as early as the 1950s with the development of the passenger safety cell, invented by Béla Barényi. Today it is one of numerous elements of an integrated safety concept that edges Mercedes-Benz vehicles 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.

DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control (optional)[1]

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.

The BAS PLUS Brake Assist system helps to avoid rear-end collisions more effectively. If radar sensors identify the danger of a rear-end collision and the driver applies the brake, BAS PLUS is primed to supply the braking pressure required in order to make full use of the available braking distance.

If a potential collision is identified up to a speed of 200 km/h, the PRE-SAFE® Brake system emits visual and audible signals. If the driver does not respond to this warning, the PRE-SAFE® Brake system first initiates independent partial braking approx. 1.6 seconds before the calculated impact and activates comprehensive PRE-SAFE® measures. If the system categorises the situation as highly critical and there is still no reaction from the driver, an independent full brake application can be initiated automatically 0.6 seconds before what is considered an unavoidable impact. This reduces the impact speed and the resulting severity of the accident. If the original speed was less than 30 km/h, it may be possible to avoid an accident entirely.

Active Body Control (ABC) (optional)[2]

The Active Body Control (ABC) active suspension provides the maximum driving comfort combined with enhanced driving dynamics through a combination of active suspension and passive damping. With it, the sprung mass vibrations of the vehicle body when pulling away and braking can be reduced just as significantly as vehicle roll when cornering.

The driver can choose between the two settings "Comfort" and "Sport". The combination of active suspension and passive damping means that vehicle occupants need hardly make any compromise in ride comfort, even when the suspension set-up is sporty. At high speeds the vehicle body is automatically lowered, to improve driving stability on high-speed road stretches.

Adaptive Highbeam Assist[3]

The Adaptive Highbeam Assist system makes it possible to identify the course of the road ahead, pedestrians, cyclists and obstacles sooner than with conventional low-beam headlamps.

A camera is used to control headlamp range adjustment and the main beams in such a way that the road receives the best possible illumination in line with the current driving scenario and with any vehicles travelling ahead with their lights on. The main beams are automatically switched on if no other road users with their lights on are detected. A special feature: there are no abrupt changes in light intensity, but gentle transitions from one type of light to another instead.

Adaptive brake lights

The adaptive brake lights warn following traffic that emergency braking is taking place. If the driver brakes or makes an emergency stop from a speed greater than 50 km/h, the brake lights flash in order to warn following traffic.

If the vehicle comes to a stop from a speed greater than 70 km/h, the hazard warning lamps are switched on automatically. In the event of emergency braking the adaptive brake light function warns following traffic of a dangerous situation ahead by flashing the brake lights during the braking process.

Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC (optional)[4]

Active Parking Assist makes parking the vehicle considerably easier. It automatically steers the new SL Roadster into parking spaces while the driver need only operate the gas pedal and brake.

Active Parking Assist automatically begins looking for parking spaces at speeds below 36 km/h. If the SL is driving at less than 36 km/h, the Active Parking Assist system shows a "P" and an arrow in the instrument cluster display to indicate that it has found a suitable parking space.

If the driver changes into reverse gear, confirms the parking selection shown and drives no faster than 10 km/h, the active Parking Assist carries out the steering manoeuvre on its own.The driver only needs to operate the accelerator and brake pedal; in a maximum of five moves, parking is complete. The driver can at any time intervene and correct the parking manoeuvre.

If Active Parking Assist is not used, the PARKTRONIC electronic parking aid monitors the front and rear of the vehicle during manoeuvring and warns the driver when it detects a potential collision. It is active at a speed of up to 16 km/h.

Active Lane Keeping Assist (optional)[1]

Active Lane Keeping Assist continuously registers lane markings on the basis of contrasting differences captured by a combination of camera and control unit.If the system detects that the lane markings are being crossed involuntarily, it is assumed the driver has not noticed this, and as a result, the driver can be warned by means of vibration of the steering wheel. However, if the warning is not followed by a course correction and the vehicle crosses a solid line, active braking intervention can counter this, "pulling back" the vehicle into its original lane.

Active Blind Spot Assist (optional)[1]

The Active Blind Spot Assist system uses radar to monitor the blind spot areas to the left, right and rear of the vehicle. If a vehicle is detected in the monitored area, a warning triangle with an exclamation mark lights up in the exterior mirror. If the driver does not heed this warning, an additional audible warning sounds, if he should actuate the turn indicator to change lane. If he continues, and begins to move into the neighbouring lane where the vehicle has been detected, the system can actively intervene, via the ESP® control to counteract the risky lane-changing manoeuvre, and with a targeted braking intervention, bring the vehicle back on course into its original lane.


The ATTENTION ASSIST function is particularly helpful on long journeys and when driving at night; the system warns the driver if it detects signs of failing attention and increasing weariness.

At speeds of between 80 and 180 km/h, ATTENTION ASSIST warns the driver visually and audibly as soon as it detects any signs of drowsiness or inattention. The background: sensors analyse driving behaviour and can detect any changes compared with the previously determined individual driver profile.

ADAPTIVE BRAKE braking system

The standard ADAPTIVE BRAKE system improves ride comfort and safety by helping to perform critical braking manoeuvres with the basic function of the ABS anti-lock braking system while convenience functions make coping with daily driving situations easier.

  • Supporting HOLD function: The HOLD function of the ADAPTIVE BRAKE system supports the driver when the vehicle is stationary by holding the vehicle at a standstill, if the driver briefly depresses the brake pedal once again. The vehicle is held both on inclines and on the level automatically without the driver having to keep his foot on the brake pedal.
  • Extra help: The Hill-Start Assist function can prevent the vehicle from rolling unexpectedly on inclines when the driver moves his foot from the brake to the accelerator pedal.
  • Full braking power immediately: The "brake drying" function can regularly remove the film of water that forms on the brake discs in wet conditions, thus considerably improving the braking response.
  • For an even quicker reaction: The "priming" function shortens the braking response time by moving the brake pads close to the discs whenever the driver takes his foot off the accelerator quickly in a potential emergency braking situation. This can help reduce the brake response time.
Intelligent Light System ILS

The Intelligent Light System – as an active component of the safety concept – ensures the best possible visibility in all weather conditions and the most diverse traffic situations. In conjunction with High Beam Assist the system adapts to oncoming traffic, curves, fog or free stretches of road and adjusts the characteristics of the light individually to the traffic situation to ensure the best possible illumination.

  • Shining light on things: In the “country light” mode the light from the low-beam headlamps is distributed in such a manner that the edge of the carriageway is significantly better illuminated than with conventional headlamps.
  • Adapts to the actual speed: The motorway mode is automatically activated in two levels: from 90 km/h the system increases the output of the bi-xenon lamps. From 110 km/h the setting of the headlamp on the inside of the traffic lane also changes to uniformly illuminate the entire width of the lane for a distance of up to around 120 metres.
  • For all weather conditions: With the extended fog lamp function the system improves the visibility when fog is present. The left-hand bi-xenon headlamp pivots outwards and the light cone is simultaneously lowered. This light function is automatically activated as soon as the rear fog lamp is switched on if the vehicle is not travelling faster than 70 km/h.
  • Follows the driver: Sensor data on the steering angle, yaw rate and vehicle speed allow the bi-xenon headlamps to pivot to the side in fractions of a second as soon as the vehicle enters a curve. With the “cornering light” function the cornering lamps automatically switch on when the driver actuates the turn indicator or turns the steering wheel. The Adaptive Main-Beam Assist function makes exceptionally good vision at night possible without dazzling oncoming traffic or drivers of vehicles in front.
  • Helpful in all weather conditions: The integrated headlamp cleaning system minimises soiling of the lights.
Reversing camera (optional)

The reversing camera offers convenience and added safety. Integrated in the boot lid, the camera transmits an image of the area behind the vehicle to the COMAND display. The camera image not only makes parking easier but also aids in manoeuvring on terrain with visibility limitations.When manoeuvring, the driver can select the "back-in" mode, in which dynamic guide lines indicate the relevant path of the vehicle.

Torque vectoring brake

When driving in a sporty style, the Torque Vectoring Brakes contribute to ensure better roadholding right up to limit situations, by slightly reducing the effective rotational speed of the rear wheel on the inside of the curve, thus improving handling. The targeted distribution of drive torque to the wheels enables a stable handling without engine torque reduction when "driving with sporty aspirations". In addition, the enhancement of its agility thanks to the drive force distribution in accordance with the situation by means of ESP® is clearly perceptible.

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.

Brake Assist BAS PLUS (optional)[1]

The BAS PLUS Brake Assist system helps to avoid rear-end collisions more effectively. If radar sensors identify the danger of a rear-end collision and the driver applies the brake, BAS PLUS is primed to supply the braking pressure required in order to make full use of the available braking distance.

PRE-SAFE® occupant protection system

The PRE-SAFE® occupant protection system 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® continuously evaluates sensor data from systems such as the ESP® and BAS, and can thus, for example, recognise vehicle over/understeering as well as emergency braking.

If a typical critical driving situation is detected by the system, the electromotive belt tensioners can be activated, the electrically adjustable passenger seat with a memory function can be moved to a better position for the event of impact and the side windows can be closed automatically, all within fractions of a second.

PRE-SAFE® Brake (optional)[1]

If a potential collision hazard is identified within the speed range from 0 to 200 km/h and the driver fails to apply the brakes in good time, the PRE-SAFE® brake system emits visual and audible signals. If the driver does not respond to this warning, as a first measure independent partial braking can be activated approx. 1.6 seconds before the calculated impact. If the system classes the situation as highly critical and there is still no reaction from the driver, an independent full brake application can be initiated automatically 0.6 seconds before what the systems deems is an unavoidable impact. If the initial velocity was lower than 30 km/h, the collision can be prevented completely.

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.


Depending on the predicted severity of a collision, the adaptive front airbags in the new SL Roadster can be deployed in two stages. For example, in the first deployment stage only a part of the gas to fill the airbag is generated in order to reduce the risk of injury. In minor collisions the airbag is only partially filled.

In lateral impacts that exceed a defined impact threshold, the head/sidebags in the flanks of the seat backrests are deployed on the impact side. The headbags deploy from the upper edge of the door inner sides, the sidebags are integrated on the outside edges of the seat backrests. Both can significantly reduce the risk of serious injury.

NECK-PRO head restraints for driver and front passenger

The crash responsive driver and passenger head restraints are activated if the system registers a rear impact; they can considerably reduce the risk of whiplash injuries.

They ensure that the head receives support and the load on the spine is reduced at an earlier stage by employing a spring mechanism to move the head restraints forwards by c. 40 millimetres and upwards by around 30 millimetres. The restraints can be pushed back to their original position by hand after their deployment.

Roll-over bar for driver and co-driver

The roll-over bars provide additional safety for driver and passenger. They are stored in two cassettes behind the seat backrests and are deployed in a split-second when the sensor system detects the vehicle is in danger of overturning.

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 impact:

  • 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.
  • Accessibility from the outside: the door locking mechanism can be automatically released. 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] Part of the optional Driving Assistance package Plus [2] Not available for AMG models [3] Part of the Intelligent Light System [4] Standard equipment for the SL 65 AMG