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SAFE HAVEN

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sun, Mar 7, 2010

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

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By Harvey Schwartz The all-new 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-550 sporty luxury sedan breaks new safety and design barriers to become one of the market’s best-engineered and smartest sedans, a definite trend-setter. This E-Class model is the ninth-generation of this highly successful model line with a total of more than 10-million produced over the past 60-years. The design of the new E-Class sedan begins with a cubist treatment of the trademark M-B twin-headlight face. Two parallelogram white LED lights are recessed into the front fenders, bracketing the three-dimensional frame of the front grille. The overall body shape features a sophisticated interplay between line and surfaces. Taut, clearly defined lines help define large concave and convex surfaces. In particular, a graceful line follows each rear wheel-well and shapes the muscular contours of the rear fenders. The new car looks futuristic in many respects and is the world’s most aerodynamic sedan with a co-efficient of drag of just 0.25, giving back better fuel economy and less wind noise.

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The car is available with four engine choices, the standard is the E350 liter with a 3.5 liter V6 making 268 horsepower, the E550 comes with a 5.5 liter V8 making 382 horsepower, the E350 BlueTEC comes with an innovative V6 turbodiesel that makes 210 horsepower. The high-performance E63 AMG is fitted with a 518 horsepower 6.3 liter V8. Any new E-Class is fun and easy to drive whether in sport or luxury trim. All luxury models come with a comfort suspension while the sport models are fitted with a sport-tuned suspension that has stiffer shocks and springs as well as a slightly lower ride height. Besides being one of the best designed and engineered sedans in the world today, the all-new 2010 E-Class models come with several life-saving features – thus becoming one of the safest vehicles to be driving in. The latest is the Attention Assist system that can alert you to the first signs of drowsiness, a factor that causes more than 100,000 accidents a year. A steering wheel sensor is coupled to smart software that uses 70 parameter to establish a unique driver profile during the first 20 minutes of driving. Between 50 and 112 mph, the system identifies the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy and triggers an audible warning, and a Time for a Rest? message with a coffee cup icon that appears on the instrument cluster. This is a fantastic crash avoidance system that really works to alert you.

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Other examples of trailblazing innovations include: Lane Keeping Assist which alerts you by simulating rumble strip vibration in the steering wheel if the car drifts from its lane with the turn signals on. At speeds above 37 mph, the system recognizes lane markings, thanks to a small camera in the windshield and a computer that analyzes the video images. Adaptive Highbeam Assist uses a small video camera to sense both headlights and taillights, then softly and automatically transition between high and low beam lighting. Night View Assist PLUS can now allow you to see pedestrians up to 300 feet earlier than before. When the system recognizes pedestrians, they appear in the display with an outlined frame highlighting each person. In contrast to passive systems that rely on thermal imaging, this active system bathes the road ahead with invisible infra-red light from two beams mounted in the Xenon high-intensity headlights. Extending your ability to see ahead to nearly 500 feet, Night View Assist PLUS uses an infra-red camera in the windshield and displays the reflected images as highly detailed black & white video images in the instrument cluster. The optional DISTRONIC PLUS system now includes Blind Spot Assist which monitors both blind spots behind the vehicle. Whenever a turn signal is activated with a vehicle in the blind spot, you get a visual and audible warning. DISTRONIC PLUS also incorporates Park Assist which utilizes six radar sensors mounted behind the front and rear bumpers. A low speeds the system scans available parking spaces and displays a ‘P’ in the dash if the car will fit in the space. When the car’s in reverse, Park Assist displays a pictogram of the steering wheel and provides helpful steering guidance.

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PRE-SAFE Brake can automatically apply 100 percent braking in emergencies when your E-Class is equipped with the optional DISTRONIC PLUS system. When PRE-SAFE Brake senses an impending collision, the system sounds three warning tones. About 1.6 seconds before impact is likely, partial braking is automatically initiated, and the PRE-SAFE occupant protection system is activated. If you still fail to react, full-power braking is initiated about 0.6 seconds before the collision, reducing the impact and effectively acting as an ‘electronic crumple zone’. All E-Class models are equipped with basic PRE-SAFE – the world’s first system that can sense and take protective measures before a crash. The system first automatically tensions the seatbelts if the car senses an impending collision. PRE-SAFE uses resettable electric tensioners in addition to the existing pyrotechnic belt tensioners. In addition, if the front passenger seat is overly reclined or forward, PRE-SAFE automatically moves it to a more favorable crash position. If the seat cushion angle of the front passenger seat is too shallow, it is also re-adjusted to help prevent submarining. If the vehicle skids, often a precursor to a rollover, the system closes the sunroof and side windows. If a crash is averted, the electric belt tensioners automatically relax and are ready to deploy again.

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If necessary, PRE-SAFE reacts to fishtailing (oversteer) as well as ‘plowing (understeer) by using existing sensors for the electronic stability control system to measure steering angle, vehicle yaw and lateral acceleration. Emergency braking can also trigger PRE-SAFE, which monitors sensors for the Brake Assist system as well. Finally, the 2010 E-Class now comes with a new knee airbag for the driver and minimizes leg injuries in frontal collisions, while new pelvic airbags work with the existing curtain and side airbags to provide extra protection for front passengers in dangerous side-impact collisions. With front airbags as well, the E-Class now boosts nine supplemental restraints, and rear side airbags are optionally available. With the introduction of the all-new 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan, you have the safest and smartest automobile to be driving or as a passenger. Sensors galore help keep you awake, alert and safe at all times for you and your passengers. It is a tour d’force of automotive safety. Prices start at $49,475.00. © Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz SUMMARY JUDGMENT The state of the art in sedan safety comes in an exceedingly comfortable package. For more information about Mercedes-Benz products, go to mbusa.com

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SPECIFICATIONS Name: 2010 Mercedes-Benz E550 Sedan Price: $56,300.00 base, $70,555.00 loaded including destination EPA mileage: 16 mpg/city, 24 mpg/highway Engine type: 5.5 liter DOHC 32-valve V8 Horsepower: 382 at 6,000 rpm Torque: 391 lb-ft. at 2800-4,800 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/rear-wheel drive Transmission type: 7-speed Driver Adaptive Automatic Front suspension: Independent 3-link strut-type with stabilizer bar Rear suspension: Independent 5-link with stabilizer bar, AIRMATIC semi-active Wheels and tires: 17X8 split 5-spoke aluminum alloy, 245/45R17 all-season Brakes: Front: perforated, 14.1-inch vented discs with four-piston calipers Rear: 13.6-inch vented discs, dual-piston calipers ABS, EBD, BA Overall length: 191.7 in. Overall width: 75.9 in. Overall height: 57.7 in. Curb weight: 4,035 lbs.

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