Safety: The safest G-Class of all time

May 5, 2018

The latest assistance and safety systems make the new-generation G-Class one of the safest vehicles in its segment. The luxury off-roader has ATTENTION ASSIST on board as standard, for example. This is able to give the driver a visual and audible warning when microsleep threatens, significantly improving safety on long journeys and at night. After the warning appears in the instrument cluster, COMAND Online automatically offers a service station search.

Also included as standard, Active Braking Assist is able to prevent impending collisions or mitigate their consequences, and assist the driver during emergency braking. If necessary it will brake autonomously if the driver takes no action to defuse a detected dangerous situation. In addition to slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles, the system can also detect pedestrians and cyclists crossing in the danger zone ahead of the vehicle.

Active safety at a high level

Active Lane Keeping Assist, which is included as standard, can use one-sided braking action to prevent the vehicle from unintentionally leaving its lane – for example when inadvertently crossing uninterrupted lane markings. The system uses a camera to recognise when the driver is crossing a lane marking. Steering wheel vibrations alert the driver to the situation. If the driver fails to react, the G-Class is braked on one side to return it to its lane.

Image recognition and information from the digital road map in the navigation system allow the permitted maximum speed and any restrictions on overtaking for the current route section to be computed and shown in the instrument cluster. Additional restrictions such as speed limits in wet conditions (warning when the windscreen wipers are switched on) or speed limits only for trucks are also taken into account. Traffic Sign Assist is also able to recognise no-entry signs and warn the driver to check the direction of travel.

Biomechanical ear protection

The preventive occupant protection system PRE-SAFE® intervenes when an accident threatens. This includes for example reversible seat belt tensioning or automatic closing of open side windows and the glass sliding roof to protect the occupants from penetrating objects. When PRE-SAFE® Sound recognises an impending collision, it prepares the hearing of the occupants for the expected crash noise to reduce harmful effects. By emitting a brief rushing sound from the sound system, it activates the stapedius reflex as a natural protective reflex in the inner ear. The stapedius muscle contracts, reducing contact between the ear drum and the inner ear. This better protects the inner ear against high sound pressure.

Less stress in convoy driving

The Driving Assistance package specially tailored to the G-Class is also optionally available. This further relieves driver workload in day-to-day driving with new and improved assistance systems, especially in convoy and stop-and-go traffic. The Driving Assistance package includes Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Blind Spot Assist. DISTRONIC automatically maintains a set distance from the vehicle ahead. This particularly relives the driver's workload in convoy traffic.

Blind Spot Assist warns the driver when it detects vehicles in the blind spot. The warning is both audible and by warning symbols in the left or right exterior mirror.

Also available as optional equipment are the Parking package with reversing camera or the Parking package with 360° camera, which also include the parking assistant PARKTRONIC and Active Parking Assist. PARKTRONIC monitors the area to the front and rear of the vehicle, and warns against detected obstacles.

The new Active Parking Assist uses six ultrasonic sensors to recognise suitable parking spaces, and assists the driver with steering and braking when entering the space. Manoeuvring into and out of parallel and end-on parking spaces is made easier. In addition, Rear Cross Traffic Alert in conjunction with the optional Driving Assistance package can warn of crossing traffic when reversing out of parking spaces.

The view to the rear, and therefore safety when reversing, if further improved in the new G-Class because the camera is mounted below the spare wheel and allows a wider angle of vision. As the camera is positioned below the fording line of the G-Class, it is protected in a way similar to an underwater camera and covered by a flap. The protective mechanism opens as soon as the driver engages reverse gear, and the very special "diving equipment" of the G-Class is ready for action.

In conjunction with the optional 360° camera of the Parking package, an all-round bird's-eye view is possible with the reversing camera and three further cameras. This view shows an area of approx. three metres around the G-Class. This means that obstacles located below the window line or in front of the vehicle, e.g. a kerb or a hill crest, do not remain hidden. The information is clearly shown in full HD in the display of the multimedia system. Dynamic guide lines show the road and the width of the G-Class. The driver can choose between a detailed, side or full-screen view. A front view with an off-road view is also possible. All this guarantees an outstanding view during a variety of manoeuvres or in the dark.

If the vehicle is equipped with a trailer coupling, it is possible to activate trailer mode. In this case the driver is assisted when manoeuvring, and able to hitch up a trailer without outside help.

The off-road display specially developed for the G-Class appears in the multimedia system, and shows a diagram of the G-Class in the off-road environment. In addition the components important for off-road driving are shown:

  • lockable transfer case with low-range gear flange-mounted to the automatic transmission
  • shafts from the transfer case to each axle gear
  • lockable rear axle differential incl. rigid axle/side shafts to the rear wheels
  • lockable front axle differential with side shafts to the front wheels

In addition, the off-road screen shows data such as altitude, gradient, incline, steering angle, low-range gear and activated differential locks. The direction of travel is also visible in a segment of a circular compass in front of the virtual G-Class. A diagram of the all-wheel drive system at the lower right edge of the screen shows the front and rear wheels, the front and rear side shafts, the front and rear axle differentials, the front and rear longitudinal shafts and the transfer case.

Passive safety: protecting the occupants

The passive safety of the new G-Class is based on a new body design with a particularly rigid passenger cell, the ladder-type frame and specifically deformable crumple zones. In a frontal crash, the ladder-type frame uses a special support to direct longitudinal forces into the floor structure. The extra-rigid passenger cell gives the occupants sufficient protective space. It also reduces the deceleration forces acting on the occupants in an accident.

Several restraint systems protect the occupants. These are activated as needed:

  • front airbags for the driver and front passenger
  • two kneebags
  • thorax-pelvis sidebags in the front
  • windowbags for the front and rear
  • Optional: sidebags in the rear
  • 3-point seat belts with belt tensioner, anchor fitting tensioner and belt force limiter in the front and pyrotechnical belt tensioner with belt force limiter for the outer rear seats

Pedestrian protection is very important

Active safety systems such as Braking Assist with its emergency braking function for crossing pedestrians and cyclists help to prevent or considerably mitigate the consequences of accidents, particularly those involving more vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. In the interests of passive safety, the deformation spaces between the bonnet and the components below it have been adjusted. The developers went to considerable effort in order to retain the iconic design feature of mounted direction indicators: plastic frames were bonded into apertures stamped out of the upper surfaces of the front wings, and the indicators were attached to these. In the event of an impact with a pedestrian, predetermined fracture points in the plastic frames give way and the indicators disappear into the space provided in the front wings.

More light

The G-Class is equipped with LED High Performance headlamps as standard. Their colour temperature is closer to that of daylight than xenon headlamps, for example. This is more restful on the eyes and therefore provides relief to the driver at night.

All lighting functions including the daytime running lamps are integrated into single headlamp units. Thanks to the LEDs, the road ahead is illuminated better than by conventional halogen headlamps. The 20.2 watt LED low-beam headlamps also have very low energy consumption thanks to the new technology – around 58 percent less than a 35 watt xenon headlamp and around 40 percent less than a 50 watt halogen headlamp. Standard equipment in the new G-Class also includes headlamp washer nozzles. These are particularly useful for removing mud splashes after a cross-country tour. Like the reversing camera, the tail lights and headlamps are waterproof.

High-resolution MULTIBEAM LED headlamps are available as an alternative to the LED High Performance headlamps. These each use 84 individually controlled high-performance LED modules to illuminate the road surface automatically with an extremely bright and precisely directed beam of light, without dazzling other detected road users. That is because this individual control allows the light distribution of the left and right headlamps to be adapted separately, quickly and dynamically to suit the changing situation on the road. This improves safety for all road users. With the enhanced fog light function, the MULTIBEAM LED technology also allows the headlamp on the driver's side to illuminate that side more actively, while masking any rise in the light beam. As a result, the outer half of the road surface is more brightly illuminated and back-glare from the light reflected from the fog is reduced.

New safety-enhancing functions

Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus also benefits from the performance of MULTIBEAM LED technology: thanks to a larger number of pixels, the dark areas in the light distribution are more precise and dynamic than ever before in partial main-beam mode, and the main beam can be used for longer than before. Once switched on, the system always makes the best possible headlamp range available.