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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
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The best option by far on that long list, though, are active LED headlamps, a world first. These are the slickest all-singing, all-dancing lamps you've ever seen, with every adaptive lighting function you can imagine being provided by LEDs: they bend in turns, swivel to look ahead when you turn onto side roads, automatically dip the high beams for oncoming traffic-but only on the left side so you can still see to your right.
Active Lane Keeping Assist that vibrates the steering wheel to get a wandering driver's attention. It'll even gently drag the brakes to stop the vehicle from crossing over a road's painted lines if he or she doesn't respond.
there are new optional nannies aboard in the form of lane-departure and blind-spot correction systems.
The 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS doesn't have official crash-test scores yet, but it does have an overwhelming list of safety technology at its disposal, to keep passengers away from harm.
We've rated the CLS highly here, since the closely related E Class sedan has earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick honor. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn't performed any crash testing on the CLS as of yet.
The complete set of safety features offered on the CLS starts with the standard ones. They include dual front, side and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control; and active headrests. Also standard are active LED headlights, that auto-dim with oncoming traffic, and steer along with the car to provide a clearer field of view. Big LED taillamps are included as well, as are front and rear parking sensors.
Down on the options list you'll find a rearview camera, which seems as if it should be standard equipment. Mercedes also offers rear-seat side airbags, which should keep its side-impact test scores strong. There's also a suite of electronic helpers available for a price, including blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist that nudges the car back into its lane if it senses obstacles in the way, or if the car has crossed lane lines; and PRE-SAFE, which applies the brakes and sets seatbelt tensioners when an impact is judged to be imminent.
The e-assists culminate in active parking assist. Like the systems on some Lincolns and the new Ford Escape, this connects the CLS' electric power steering and its cameras and parking sensors to help the car steer itself into a parallel-parking spot, while the driver modulates the brake and gas.
No crash-test data is available, but the 2012 Mercedes-Benz CLS has an extraordinary set of available safety features--though we think some should be standard at the price.