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Top Safety Pick 2007 - Mercedes-Benz M-Class: Top rating in US safety test
The prestigious US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has named the Mercedes-Benz M-Class its Top Safety Pick 2007 – the best buy when it comes to safety. The off-roader from Stuttgart performed outstandingly in all areas in the luxury SUV category.
Every year, as a purchasing guide, the experts at IIHS rate new car models according to strict safety criteria. This year, for the first time, they included SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles). In the course of their assessment the second-generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class was subjected to frontal and side-on crashes. The US safety specialists also assessed the level of protection offered against neck injuries in a rear-end shunt. The Mercedes off-roader scored top marks in all three areas. For the first time, one of the criteria for classification as this year’s Top Safety Pick included the availability of an Electronic Stability Program, which can reduce the risk of skidding when cornering and keep the car on track in extreme conditions such as black ice or wet road surfaces. As a safety pioneer, Mercedes-Benz developed the Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) in collaboration with Bosch and was the first car manufacturer to introduce it in its series-produced vehicles back in 1995. This system has featured as standard in all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars since 1999.
In naming the M-Class Top Safety Pick 2007 the IIHS has confirmed the outstanding results the M-Class achieved in the crash tests carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the US version of the NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) tests. The premium off-roader from Mercedes-Benz was one of the first SUVs to be awarded the top rating of five stars in both the frontal and side-on crash sections of the US NCAP test.
The results of the US safety tests clearly show that the second-generation Mercedes-Benz M-Class sets standards when it comes to passive safety too. The basis for its outstanding occupant protection is its self-supporting chassis with high-strength passenger cell and large deformation zones at the front and rear. Adaptive, two-stage front airbags for driver and front passenger, sidebags, windowbags, belt tensioners and belt force limiters are standard features on board.
An all-new feature in the SUV segment is the anticipatory occupant protection system PRE-SAFE®. The system, which is available as an option for the M-Class, is automatically activated in critical handling situations which could result in an accident and prepares the occupants and the vehicle for an impending collision. As a precaution, PRE-SAFE® tightens the driver and front passenger seat belts, moves the electrically adjustable front passenger seat (in conjunction with the memory package, available as an optional extra) to a more advantageous position and can, depending on the driving situation, also close the side windows and the sliding sunroof.
Mercedes-Benz manufactures the off-roader at its US plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Between 2001 and 2005 over USD 600 million were invested in the plant, both to create capacity for manufacturing the R-Class and the GL-Class and to cater for the tremendous market success of the M-Class – because the second-generation M-Class is experiencing record sales. In Western Europe and in the German market the premium off-roader from Mercedes-Benz is the most sought-after vehicle in its class.