STUTTGART, Germany — The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class lineup will arrive at U.S. Mercedes-Benz dealerships next spring featuring advanced safety and autonomous-driving features, the automaker announced on Wednesday.
The improvements range from technology that turns a smartphone into a vehicle key to PreSafe Sound, which emits a short interference signal through the vehicle's sound system to protect occupants' ears from loud noises in a crash.
A major leap toward self-driving cars is Mercedes' Intelligent Drive next level system.
With the help of the Distance Pilot Distronic system and at speeds of up to 124 mph, the car can automatically "relieve" the driver, "who doesn't necessarily need to operate the brake or accelerator pedal during normal driving and also receives plenty of steering assistance — even in bends," the automaker said.
Mercedes-Benz also has improved its Active Brake Assist system. It can warn the driver of an imminent crash and apply the brakes automatically in an emergency. In addition to detecting slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles, it now also detects and reacts to crossing traffic at junctions, the tail ends of traffic jams and pedestrians.
The improvements in the Driver Assistance package also include steering assistance to help the driver maneuver around an obstacle or avoid a crash and PreSafe Impulse Side, an occupant protection system that uses inflatable side bolsters to push the driver and front seat passenger away from the doors during a side-impact crash.
High-resolution multibeam LED headlights illuminate the road without blinding other drivers. The 2017 E-Class also features new inflatable seatbelts for passengers in the outer rear seats.
Pricing on the new safety and autonomous-driving features will not be announced until next spring.
One new feature that won't be available in the U.S. is Daimler's Remote Parking Pilot, which allows the vehicle to be moved into and out of parking spaces from the outside using a smartphone app.
"We aren't getting the remote parking assistant, contrary to early reports," wrote Mercedes-Benz spokesman Christian Bokich in response to a query from Edmunds.
When it comes to connected cars, Mercedes-Benz said it has upped the ante with its Car-to-X Communication. The system first debuted in 2013 in the form of a retrofit solution.
The upgrade is described as "the world's first fully integral Car-to-X solution" in series production.
Information can be transmitted via a SIM card in the vehicle that transmits road conditions ahead to a Daimler service. The information can then be sent to a radio station or traffic-alert system.
This "can effectively allow the driver to see around corners or through obstacles," the automaker said. "This means that the driver receives an earlier warning than previously in the event of imminent danger, such as a vehicle in an accident."
The 2017 E-Class will debut at an unnamed auto show next year.
Edmunds says: Safety-minded luxury car shoppers will undoubtedly be drawn to the 2017 E-Class, which races to the head of the pack with these innovations.