A full set of crash results for the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class hasn't been published, but the automaker's fitted the latest edition of the sedan and wagon with some of the latest gadgets and technology it plans for the next S-Class--all in the name of keeping the E-Class at the forefront of safety.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the E-Class four stars overall for the four-door and wagon body styles, with four-star ratings for front- and side-impact tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), meanwhile, has given the most recent two-door coupe and four-door sedan a score of "good" in all performed tests, but since the new small-overlap crash test isn't among them, the E-Class does not earn a Top Safety Pick award for 2014.
The E-Class now comes standard with up to eleven airbags on sedans and wagons, including a driver-side knee airbag. Side airbags for rear-seat passengers are an option, as are a rearview camera and parking sensors, while Bluetooth is standard. A new surround-view camera is similar to the one we've seen on new Infiniti models--and it's an ample upgrade in safety, in seeing obstacles in any direction at parking speeds.
Beyond those now-conventional features, the E-Class has been one of the first vehicles to offer some of the newest safety technology, some of it more useful than others. Among the available safety features, depending on body style, are Attention Assist, which keeps a camera eye on attentiveness and suggests a coffee stop when it senses a drowsy driver; blind-spot monitors; adaptive cruise control; automatic headlamps; and night vision. This year, it adds a new front-mounted stereo camera system that enables three-dimensional imaging of road obstacles and traffic at distances up to 55 yards, with overall system effectiveness stretching out to 550 yards.
The most impressive updates come in what Mercedes calls an "intelligent drive" package. Already offered with parking-assist and lane-departure warning, the E-Class now can be fitted with lane-keeping assist that can steer the car gently out of the way, if an oncoming vehicle veers into its path, between about 35 and 120 mph. Not only that, by using adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assist, the E-Class has a limited ability to steer itself in the same path as a vehicle ahead--say, at stop-and-go speeds in highway traffic. With just a tap on the Resume function, the E-Class guides itself with a degree of autonomous driving.