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News of  March 21, 2001


US car insurance crash tests: Mercedes C 320 and E 430 models score top marks

Mercedes C 320 crash test

Photo: DaimlerChrysler

  • Institute twice awards Mercedes-Benz the "best  pick" grade
  • C 320 and E 430 withstood offset frontal crash with flying colours
  • Mercedes concept covers all aspects of vehicle safety
  • The best safety technology as standard

Stuttgart - After exhaustive crash tests, the North American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) certifies that the Mercedes C 320 and E 430 saloons demonstrate exemplary occupant safety. The independent institute for US vehicle insurance awarded both models top marks with the "best pick" grade, an honour previously bestowed on only a few cars.

The test programme included a so-called offset front-end impact at 64.5 km/h against a deformable barrier; this ranks amongst the world’s toughest safety tests for passenger cars. The test involved the IIHS specialists assessing both the effect of the impact on the head, chest and legs of dummies, as well as the intrusions into the occupant cell. The C 320 and E 430 Mercedes models inspected passed this test in all assessment disciplines with "good", the highest mark that can be attained.

"The results of these crash tests confirm our long-term commitment to achieving optimum occupant safety in every model as is typical of Mercedes. Nonetheless, our attention is not directed solely at such rating tests, rather at a comprehensive safety concept based on realistic accident scenarios", explains Dr. Hans-Joachim Schöpf, Head of Development of Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars and smart. "In order to prevent accidents, drivers are supported by electronic assistance systems. For Mercedes-Benz, this is just as important as maximum occupant protection in the event of a front-end or side impact."

To date, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has honoured a total of three Mercedes passenger cars with the "best pick" grade: in addition to the C 320 and E 430 saloons, the ML 320 off-roader also scooped top marks in 1999.

C-Class: already two-times test winner in the safety category

Thus, within just a few months of market launch, the new C-Class has sailed through a second series of crash tests conducted by independent inspection institutes, in Autumn 2000 the saloon was also declared overall winner in the "Super Test" carried out by the German journal, "Auto-Bild", achieving top marks in the "crash properties" discipline. In addition to high-performance belt tensioners and belt force limiters, the standard features of the extensive safety equipment on board the new C-Class also include adaptive front airbags, which trigger in two stages depending on the severity of the impact, windowbags covering a large area for front and rear-seat passengers, sidebags in the front doors, Brake Assist and the Electronic Stability Program, ESP®.

E-Class: safety technology at the cutting edge of accident research

In recent years, Mercedes engineers have consistently upgraded the E-Class and brought it into line with state-of-the-art accident research. Thus, this successful model series has not only excelled since summer 1999 with ESP® and windowbags as standard; the safety package of the saloon and estate cars also includes reinforced structural members in the front area and innovative impact elements on the wheel housings, which further boost occupant safety in the event of an offset collision. The very good result attained in the latest IIHS crash tests confirms how effective these measures really are.

(March 20, 2001)

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