Under the microscope: history - Setting the pace for safety technology

Nov 19, 2012
The luxury-class models from Mercedes-Benz are always at the vanguard of the very latest automotive technology. Time and time again, they showcase brand new features which then come into widespread use. Here's an overview of the safety innovations premiered by the individual S-Class model series:
Models 220 b/220 Sb/220 SEb/300 SE/300 SE long wheelbase, W 111/W 112 (1959 to 1965)
  • Safety passenger compartment with crumple zones (front and rear)
  • Padded steering wheeland "injury-proofed" interior
  • Wedge-pin door lockswith two safety detents
  • Disc brakes (300 SE, from 1961)
  • Dual-circuit braking system (from 1963)
Models 250 S to 300 SEL 6.3, W 108/W 109 (1965 to 1972)
  • Safety steering system (from 1967)
  • Hydropneumatic equalising springs at the rear axle
S-Class 116 series (1972 to 1980)
  • Integral safety concept
    - four-spoke safety steering wheel
    - fuel tank installed above the rear axle for collision protection
    - safety door handles
    - large headlamp units and indicators
    - tail lights with low dirt build-up
    - side windows with low dirt build-up
  • Anti-lock braking system ABS as optional extra (from 1978)
S-Class 126 series (1979 to 1991)
  • Bodyshell with fork-arm structure, the world's first series-production car to fulfil the criterion of the asymmetric head-on collision (offset crash)
  • Driver's airbag and belt tensioner for front passenger as optional extra (from 1981)
  • Front passenger airbag (from 1988)
S-Class 140 series (1991 to 1998)
  • Speed-sensitive power steering
  • Seat belts with automatic height adjustment
  • Sidebags for driver and front passenger (from 1996)
  • Electronic Stability Program ESP® as standard (S 600, from 1995) or optional extra (S 420, S 500, from 1995)
  • Brake Assist BAS (from 1996)
S-Class 220 series (1998 to 2005)
  • Aluminium crash boxes in the front and rear-end structure
  • AIRMATIC air suspension with electronically controlled Adaptive Damping System
  • Active Body Control as optional extra (standard on S 600)
  • Additional indicator lamps integrated into the exterior mirrors
  • Windowbags, sidebags in the rear
  • Front passenger airbag with two-stage gas generator
  • Belt tensioners and belt force limiters in the rear
  • Laminated glass for side windows
  • DISTRONIC proximity control as optional extra PRE‑SAFE®
  • PRE‑SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system (from 2002)
S-Class 221 series (2005 onwards)
  • Active Body Control with crosswind stabilisation as optional extra(standard on S 600)
  • Adaptive brake lights
  • Brake Assist PLUS as optional extra
  • Improved DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control (with braking to a stop) as optional extra
  • PRE-SAFE® Brake with autonomous partial braking (from 2006) or autonomous full brake application (from 2009) as optional extra
  • Active Night View Assist as optional extra (from 2009 as Night View Assist PLUS with pedestrian detection)
  • Blind Spot Assist as optional extra (from 2007, from 2010 as Active Blind Spot Assist )
  • Lane Keeping Assist as optional extra (from 2009, from 2010 as Active Lane Keeping Assist)
  • Adaptive Highbeam Assist as optional extra (from 2009)
  • ATTENTION ASSIST drowsiness detection system (from 2009)