Confirming just how safe its vehicles are, Mercedes-Benz has announced that its 2013 C-Class compact sedan and coupe and M-Class midsize SUV scored five-star ratings in recent U.S. crash safety tests. Mercedes-Benz, to its credit, points out that since 2010, fewer vehicles have achieved five-star ratings. That’s when the government toughened its requirements. It will likely strengthen its tests even more in the coming months, as the nonprofit Insurance Institute of Highway Safety has weeded out a number of vehicles with its new small front overlap test that puts more of the brunt of an impact on a smaller, less structurally sound part of the front of a car.
Mercedes has also noted that both the C- and the M-Class have earned Top Safety Pick ratings with the IIHS, too, but they’ve not yet been tested to qualify for Top Safety Pick+, which includes the new test.
“The C- and M-Class have each passed more than 200 high-speed in-house crash tests and more than 5,000 numerical crash test simulations,” says Professor Rodolfo Schoenburg, the head of Mercedes-Benz Safety Development, in a statement.
Mercedes has a host of newer technologies, including Pre-Safe, which tightens seatbelts before an impact; upcoming Pre-Safe for rear passengers; a rear seatbelt airbag coming in the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class; Attention Assist that senses when the driver is drowsy; blind spot and lane-keeping assist; adaptive highbeam assist that automatically adjusts the headlights to oncoming traffic; an infrared night view camera on higher-end models; and a new Collision Prevention Assist in the 2013 M-Class.
Mercedes-Benz was the first automaker to install antilock brakes in its cars as well as one of the first with airbags and crumple zones. While Mercedes-Benz rightfully pats its own back on making such safety features available, we know that many of these features aren’t quite accessible to the masses. We also know that what’s often in today’s high-end luxury cars will eventually trickle down to more mainstream vehicles within a decade.