Mercedes-Benz was determined to make the new E-Class one of the market's most sophisticated sedans. The new E-Class, launched in South Africa on June 1 2016, isn’t just about integrating motoring life with your smartphone – it incorporates amazing new developments in the safety and autonomous driving departments.
Here are just some of the highlights of the new E-Class.
1. You can park it with your smartphone
Do you have a really tight garage with lots of things in the way? Or maybe you want that last spot in the car park, but it's located adjacent to a wall? These situations would usually make you think twice about squeezing your premium sedan into a tight parking spot. But, by using the E-Class' automated-parking app, you can get out of your car and park it remotely by rotating your thumb forwards and backwards on your phone's screen. To get it out of the spot, just reverse the procedure. Although in South Africa, the BMW 7 Series will shortly be able to offer this function soon, the E-Class will be the first executive sedan, as opposed to grand saloon, to be available with this technology. Check out the Instagram video below to see it in action.
2. It can steer and change lanes on its own
The new Drive Pilot system in the E-Class enables the car to take over steering duties at speeds of up to 200 kph. On the freeway, you simply double tap the cruise control lever and the car will assume control of the steering. You can take your hands off the wheel for a full 30 seconds before the E-Class will remind you to at least keep your hands on the steering wheel. There’s a full minute of no hands driving before the car decides that the driver is no longer able to drive, stops and puts on the hazard lights. Incredibly, the system will also steer into other lanes on its own; all the driver needs do is activate the indicator for two seconds and the car will then change lanes. The Drive Pilot is also clever enough to only change lanes when it’s safe to do so. For example: If there is a car is speeding up in the lane beside you, it will not make the turn until the speeding car has passed your car. The Drive Pilot system can even read road signs on the side of the road and adjust the car’s speed to match those of the road signs it has detected.
3. New crash safety systems
There are several improved occupant safety technologies in the new E-Class. In the event of a side impact, the E-Class will inflate the bolster of a front seat on the side of the impact to push the occupant towards the centre of the car, which reduces the intensity of the impact on the occupant. The car will also emit a loud static sound from the cars' speakers that diffuse the sound of the accident to protect the occupants ears' from possible injury. Rear passenger safety has been augmented by the introduction of airbags in the seatbelts. The integral airbag reduces the impact of rapid deceleration on the passenger’s chest.
4. It has its own cloud
Just like the virtual cloud that contains a multitude of shareable files, Mercedes-Benz is connected to a cloud for the purpose of sharing accident locations. If you drive past an accident, the E-Class navigation system allows you to alert other E-Class drivers (and soon pilots of all Mercedes-Benz cars and, possibly, other manufacturers' vehicles) that there’s something on the road to be mindful of. The system also warns drivers in the vicinity of the E-Class by means of the navigation system. If the accident scene is clear, the driver can remove the hazard notification from the cloud and it will no longer notify other drivers.
5. It can see 250 metres ahead
To put 250 metres into perspective, the E-Class scans for objects that are two football fields away. What’s it looking for? The long range radar (as it's called) is being utilised by systems such as the Drive Pilot, adaptive cruise control and brake assist systems that detect if there is anything ahead that could cause an accident. If the E-Class suspects it could hit something (pedestrians or another vehicle) it first audibly warns the driver and if nothing happens, it begins emergency braking at the last possible moment. If you begin to swerve out of the way, the vehicle detects the driver making an evasive manoeuvre and adds torque to the steering wheel. This torque controls the evasive manoeuvre and makes sure that it doesn’t get out of hand after the wheel has been turned.
E-Class pricing in South Africa
E200 R709 608
E220d R759 100
E350d R961 036
(prices include CO2-emissions tax and Mercedes-Benz's 6-year/100 000 km maintenance plan).