• Jun 9th 2009 at 2:00PM
  • 9

Mercedes-Benz ESF 2009 concept – Click above for image gallery

An inordinate number of the safety features that we now find commonplace in roadgoing automobiles made their debut in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. So where better to look for the next generation of safety technology? You guessed it.

To that end, Mercedes is slated to unveil a concept S-Class to showcase the safety features it is working on next. The ESF 2009 Concept is based on the S400 Hybrid – as if to show that "green" and "safe" can co-exist – and it comes packed with a bunch of new airbags. There's a new curtain airbag in between the seats (you know, so you don't butt heads), airbags in the seatbelts themselves, and perhaps the most innovative feature, a giant airbag underneath the vehicle that inflates in the case of an imminent crash, adding friction to help the car decelerate and lifting the front of the car a bit to compensate for brake dive. That last part worries us a little, as it strikes us that it could hinder any attempt to steer away from the crash, but for the time being we'll trust that Mercedes knows what it's doing. There are also seat bolsters that can move the occupants a couple of inches away from the doors in case of a side impact, metal beams that can actually inflate – thereby cutting weight and saving space on impact beams – and reflective tires.

With the airbag count rising rapidly, a potential crash is looking more expensive by the day, but Mercedes seems to revel in the "how can you put a price on safety?" approach. Stay tuned for more information, and check out the images in the gallery below in the meantime.

[Sources: Autocar and eMercedes-Benz]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thing about nose-diving under braking - doesn't it increase braking effectiveness by putting more normal force on the front tires? Won't this airbag negate that? It had better giveth more friction that it taketh away.

      And yes, I know the point is bumper height. I think stopping distance is probably more important.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yo Dog, I haerd you like Airbags, so I put Airbags on your Airbags.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How about more airbags than Beverly Hills? Or more airbags than a porn conventinon? Or more airbags than a colonoscopy office?
      • 6 Years Ago
      In the event of a water landing, your Mercedes-Benz automobile doubles as a flotation device.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Don't know about the underneath airbag, have to see how it works in real situations. The airbags between the seat and on the seat belts are great features.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Of course the front under airbag will not lift the front wheels off the ground. it's just keeping the front bumber at the proper impact height.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So when do we just give up and move on to the safety foam-ish stuff like in Demolition Man?
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's exactly what I was thinking. Get off your butt Mercedes and give us foam filled cars!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Next they'll place a pony in the trunk so that you can make it to work after the accident with 'Acceptable and minimal delay.'
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