The New E


“You have the right to see it all,” we say on Carte Blanche. And upholding the family motto has taken me to some “interesting” places over the past two decades.

Like The Grand – the upmarket strip club in Rivonia while doing a story on 2010 and the adult entertainment industry.

I have been raving on about the amazing buffet ever since. And when it’s evident I’m talking about the comestibles rather than the concubines, it has been suggested as a first sign of being Chronologically Gifted.

The second sign is going to the launch of one of the best looking cars on the planet and being captivated by the safety features!

Now, before you nod off, this is not a spiel about air bags and crumple zones.

In fact, as a standard feature, this amazing new Merc gives you a wake-up call if you DO nod off behind the wheel. Spooky as it may sound, the sensors measure 70 parameters and if you’re on the drowsy side you’ll be alerted by a loud beep and the picture of a cup of coffee!

And there’s more on the extras list…like Blind Spot Assist. Sophisticated radar beams sniff out any vehicle to the side and rear and you’ll get flashed and beeped when indicating you want to change lanes.

If you drift across the road markings unintentionally, Land Keeping Assist swoops into action and the steering wheel vibrates three times.

Then the Pièce de résistance…the amazing duet of PRE SAFE BRAKE and Brake Assist Plus which recognises a possible impact – like the truck with no tail lights broken down in the left hand lane.

About 2.6 seconds before impact they give you the heads up and bolster the braking system.

At 1.6 seconds…if you haven’t jerked your foot onto the brake pedal, the duet swoops into action applying 40% stopping power.

At just 0.6 seconds before crunch time…it’s all systems go – or rather stop – as these advanced anchors bring you to a belt bracing halt. Hopefully before hitting the truck.

Merc have travelled some 36 million kilometres (I make that about 100 times to the moon) testing this life saving new E. So it must be better than my onboard obstacle recognition system.

Eyes see squash ball – send message to brain. Brain sends message to legs “Get there NOW!” Legs send message back “Who us?”

As soon as the new E starts cruising around Sandton you’ll start going green. In terms of design and instrumentation, Merc handed the “old man’s car” trophy to BMW in the mid 90s and there’s no carping on about keeping the basic design to hold on to the present customer base.

Simply…the new E will take your breath away.

So, is there nothing negative to say about the Merc? Not really…except…do they want to hire me as a spin doctor?

Because a string of would-be customers are about to ask “Why are we paying more than half a million for the latest Merc and not getting the safest car that German engineering can put together?”

Surely safety should never be an optional extra?

About Derek:
Derek Watts has been the host of Carte Blanche since the show first hit the airwaves in 1988. Over the past two decades he has won a number of accolades including a Crystal Award for Best male television presenter, the South African Breweries Environmental Journalist of the Year Award and the Star Best Actuality Reporter award.

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