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Mercedes E-class estate (2009): latest spyshots
06 January 2009 09:15
Mercedes’ technology-laden new E-class, snapped here by our spy photographers in wagon form nine months ahead of its official unveiling, will pioneer a new drowsiness detector that prevents drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
A Merc insider swears this clever tech isn’t designed to offset the boringness of Benz’s next mid-sized model, which is so green some versions will emit less than 140g/km of CO2. In fact, the next E-class promises to be much less snoreworthy than its predecessor our snitch tells us, a proper mini S-class with sharper styling, interesting engines and a much better quality cabin.
The E-class gets interesting? Excellent…
The anti-drowsiness technology uses sensors in the steering column rather than facial recognition software to detect changes in your driving. Mercedes engineers discovered that a driver’s wheel inputs became more ragged the more tired they were.
Attention Assist offers an audio-visual warning when it has detected a sleeping driver but doesn’t actually steer the car for you (that would require a fully electric steering rack which Merc doesn’t yet have) or apply the brakes, although there’s no reason why it couldn’t in future.
Sounds a bit big brother…
Within three years Attention Assist will be standard on every Mercedes passenger car from the successor to the A-class upwards. But we’ll experience it first on the E-class which makes its debut in saloon and coupé forms at the Geneva show in March 2009.
The estate version seen here wearing minimal disguise for the first time is launched at the Frankfurt show in September 2009, six months after its siblings.
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