Technically, the E 400 4MATIC is safer without you touching anything, with the human doofus behind the wheel the one variable it can’t control. And one day soon, that will undoubtedly be the only way to travel.
For now, expect nine airbags (front, pelvis and window in the front, curtain airbags for the rear and a knee airbag for the driver), a 360-degree parking camera and hill start assist, along with Merc’s ‘Attention Assist’ program that will monitor your inputs to see if you’re getting drowsy.
But the really clever stuff arrives as part of the ‘Driver Assistance Package Plus’, which includes lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control, but this is also the closet thing to an autonomous car that Merc’s got in its stable. So the E 400 4MATIC will keep up with traffic on the highway, and keep within the lane markings even as you turn around a corner. It will also change lanes for you when you hit the indicator, and scream to a stop if there’s an emergency.
There’s some truly clever crash detection systems, too. If the E 400 senses a t-bone collision, for example, your seat will jolt you away from the point of impact. And if it senses a rear collision, a high-pitched sound will play through the speakers, preparing you ears for the sound of the impact and minimising the chance of eardrum damage.
The E-Class range scored the maximum five star ANCAP safety rating when crash tested in 2016.