Bureaucrats have seen the light and will update the Australian Design Rules to let the full suite of safety systems in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class be deployed.
Extensive updates to the mid-sized prestige car include LED headlights with an adaptive high beam that automatically adjusts the light to stop dazzling oncoming vehicles.
The existing ADRs weren’t “sympathetic” to the technology but Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman David McCarthy says the regulations will allow the vehicles go on sale in August. “We’ve been in negotiations with Canberra,” McCarthy says. “The technology is so new the ADRs had to catch up.”
The LED headlamps will be standard on the range-topping E400 and E63 AMG models and will be included in a driver-assistance package for the lower-priced cars. Mercedes-Benz E-Class project head Peter Schmidt says the system improves safety by maximising vision at night without dazzling approaching traffic or vehicles in front.
“In Germany only 20 per cent of driving is done at night but 40 per cent of accidents occur at this time,” he notes. Even the base E200 Mercedes will include LED low beam as standard, improving both the light spread and cutting the energy needed to operate the lights by 75 watts, which in turn cuts engine load and trims emissions by 0.5g/km.
Mercedes lighting expert Jens Mertens says every facet of the car has been assessed to meet internal goals of improving safety and trimming emissions
“Owners still want powerful engines so to reach the emissions targets, all other areas have to improve efficiency, even lighting, It mightn’t sound like much but every gram helps,” Mertens says.
The safety first approach extends to the LED tail-lamps. The brake lights operate at full intensity during the day and reduce light output of a night to cut eye strain on following drivers.