The all-new Mercedes-Benz SLK – lifting the lid on safety
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Early next year, Mercedes-Benz will launch the all-new 2012 SLK-Class. The agile sports car will feature a bold, new design, exceptionally high levels of comfort, as well as plenty of open-air driving pleasure. At the same time, it will also set new safety standards for convertible sports cars. The third generation of this trend setting roadster will make use of a whole host of the latest assistance systems to support the driver, including the drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST, developed by Mercedes-Benz and fitted as standard equipment; available occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®, which is unique in the world; and the PRE-SAFE® Brake, which can apply the brakes autonomously in the event of an impending front-end collision. With the 2012 SLK-Class, Mercedes-Benz continues to set new standards of automotive safety.
The best or nothing – the safety experts at Mercedes-Benz have long
adopted this motto, coined by Gottlieb Daimler, as their guiding
principle. Far from chasing ratings targets, they work intensively on
attaining a level of safety which far exceeds the standards stipulated
by the world’s legislators. The most important component of their work
is not in the laboratory or crash test facility, but real-world accident
research. The result of this study is Real Life Safety, a concept which
is based on research into thousands of accidents. Using this evidence,
Mercedes-Benz engineers have created or refined most of today’s
assistance systems which effectively support drivers and have been
adopted by many of the company’s competitors.
ATTENTION ASSIST and ADAPTIVE BRAKE as standard
The 2012 SLK-Class will feature a unique combination of driver
assistance systems to help avoid accidents. These include the drowsiness
detection system ATTENTION ASSIST, which helps monitor the level of
attentiveness of the driver and can provide an early warning of
Also making up part of the standard equipment is the ADAPTIVE BRAKE.
It comprises ABS, the acceleration skid control system ASR and also
active yaw control. In addition, it features the following functions:
- supports the driver when moving-off on an incline, by preventing the vehicle from unintentionally rolling backward;
keeps the vehicle stationary without having to keep the brakes applied
- continuously – for example when waiting at traffic lights;
- if the driver abruptly releases the accelerator, ADAPTIVE BRAKE
brings the brake pads into light contact with the brake discs as a
precautionary measure, so that the necessary braking pressure can be
attained quicker in the possible event of emergency braking;
- automatically applies light brake contact in wet conditions to help dry the brake discs.
Emergency braking – detecting an acute risk of a front-end collision
Available as optional extras are the DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control
as well as PRE-SAFE® Brake, already proven in other Mercedes-Benz
models. Both systems work together and can initiate emergency braking
automatically if there’s an acute risk of an accident. In normal driving
conditions, the radar-based DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control adjusts
the distance to the vehicle in front automatically. If necessary, it can
apply the brakes, even bringing the SLK Roadster to a stop, and
accelerate it again. This takes some of the strain off the driver,
particularly in bumper-to-bumper driving conditions. If the distance
starts to narrow too quickly, the system gives the driver visual and
audible warnings, thereby prompting the driver to take action, at which
point he is also supported by the Brake Assist System PLUS (BAS PLUS).
If the systems detect an acute risk of a front-end collision and the
driver does not react, the electronic system activates the PRE-SAFE®
Brake after visual and audible warnings. In the initial stage, partial
autonomous braking is initiated. If the driver does not react to this,
the second stage of PRE-SAFE® Brake provides full, autonomous emergency
Safety and comfort
The following optional features will be available to enhance both safety and comfort:
- the optional Bi-Xenon lighting system provides lighting functions
(Cornering light function and Active Curve Illumination), which are
activated depending on the driving conditions.
- the optional PARKTRONIC incl. Parking Guidance uses ultrasonic
sensors to measure the length of parking spaces as the car drives past;
the cockpit display then provides a schematic representation of the
recommended parking maneuvers.
Only available from Mercedes-Benz – the anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®
An additional safety highlight which will be available in the new SLK
(as part of the optional DISTRONIC PLUS system) is the anticipatory
occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®. If the system detects an impending
risk of an accident, it reflexively activates precautionary protective
measures for the vehicle occupants, so that the seat belts and airbags
can provide maximum protection during an impact. Mercedes-Benz developed
PRE-SAFE® on the basis of research into actual accidents, and is the
only manufacturer in the world to offer such a system.
In the 2012 SLK, additional post-crash measures will also supplement
the PRESAFE® system to enable prompt assistance after an accident has
occurred. Depending on the damage, the interior lighting can be switched
on automatically, the side windows can be opened by two inches, to
provide better ventilation in the interior, and in vehicles with memory
seats the steering wheel can be moved upwards.
Taking into account all of the requirements of the rating institutes
In developing the new SLK, the requirements of Euro NCAP as well as
all of the global consumer ratings have been taken into account. This
has contributed to the development of the bodyshell structure of the
vehicle, which follows established concepts and has been optimized in a
number of detailed areas. These include, among other things, reinforced
members, a new side impact structure and new fiber-reinforced roll-over
In the event of an accident, front-mounted sensors and lateral
satellite and rollover sensors help the central control unit to predict
the nature and severity of the accident.
New headbag and crash-responsive head restraints
The restraint systems with two-stage driver and front passenger
airbags have also been enhanced. A new feature is the headbag, which
provides generous lateral protection for the head during an impact. An
additional thorax airbag in the seat backrest protects the upper body in
the event of a side impact. The seat belts, with belt buckle tensioners
and speed sensitive belt force limiters are also hallmarks of the high
Mercedes-Benz safety standards.