Six things you need to know about the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class
It’s much harder to crash
I’m in an E-Class with a man called Frank Mohn, a Mercedes engineer I was later told basically invented ESP. He’s about to show me the Active Braking system, which is set to be fitted to the new S.
We’re sat at the end of a long strip of tarmac painted to look like a three-lane carriageway. Some distance ahead are cars in the out- and inside lanes, and an inflatable one in the middle. That’s the one we’re aimed at. Frank asks me what I think will happen. “It will stop the car” I reply. “You hope so,” he says.
As Frank accelerates towards the inflatable car, and through the beep warning him there’s an obstacle in his way, I consider the possibility he’s actually gearing up to demonstrate how much more comfortable Mercedes has made its next generation of airbags. Thankfully I’m proven wrong, as the E-Class brakes, quite gently at first, then much harder. We stop a couple of feet from the inflatable’s back bumper. “Have a look at my legs,” says Frank. I peer over the centre console. His foot is still on the accelerator. “This is possible up to 100kph. And we can detect up to 130kph,” he says.