With this excellent result the patented sandwich-floor safety concept of the A-Class has now also proved its effectiveness in this rating test. In a severe frontal impact, this design causes the engine and transmission to slide downwards out of the way, rather than being pushed into the car's interior. This means that a larger front-end crumple zone is available than on other cars of this size category. In addition, the sandwich design is also advantageous in the event of a side impact because the occupants sit higher up than in a conventional compact car.
The occupant safety package is rounded off by adaptive front airbags which deploy in two stages, depending on the severity of the accident, plus newly developed head/thorax bags. The latter help to protect both the head and upper torso of those in the front seats in the event of a lateral collision. A belt status indicator in the instrument cluster tells the driver if the occupants are wearing their seat belts or not.
The exemplary levels of safety in the A-Class are derived from analyses of real-life accidents. The Mercedes approach defines vehicle safety as an all-encompassing task that covers everything from accident prevention by means of electronic support systems such as ESP® and Brake Assist, through to occupant protection tailored to the severity of the actual accident itself, and on to the fastest possible rescue of the people in the car after a collision has happened.