Although sunny southern California would be a great venue to launch a drop-top convertible, don’t look for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK to make an appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Instead, Mercedes continues to tease the new car — this time illustrating a number of the advanced safety features it plans on packing inside the roadster.
A key element of modern Mercedes-Benz vehicles has been active safety, offered in part through a number of advanced systems packed into its current portfolio. Predictably, the new third-generation SLK will be no exception.
Attention Assist, which debuted on the 2010 E-Class, will be fitted on the SLK to help prevent drowsy driving. The system studies driver behaviors for 20 to thirty minutes, allowing it to determine what movements are normal and subsequently identify a maneuver caused by a driver nodding off behind the wheel. Audible and visual alerts will then be triggered, prompting the operator to remain alert.
Mercedes-Benz’s Adaptive Brake System will also make its way into the 2012 SLK, where it will offer several features to drivers. Adaptive Braking can function as a hill-start aid, but it can also apply light brake pad application when the driver abruptly lifts off the throttle. If the driver then needs to slam on the brakes for an emergency maneuver, this action reduces the amount of time needed to trigger maximum stopping power. A similar process is activated in wet conditions, allowing the car to keep its brake pads and rotors dry for optimum performance.
For drivers seeking the utmost in safety equipment, optional proximity monitoring and pre-braking systems are available. When the distance between the driver’s car and a vehicle in front narrows, the radar-based system notifies the driver. If he or she neglects to respond, brake pressure is automatically applied to adjust that gap, or bring the car to a complete stop if needed. Mercedes’ Parktronic system not only provides sensors on the front and rear bumpers to detect objects, but it can also measure the length of parallel parking spots as the car drives past, and provide appropriate maneuvering instructions if the driver decides to park.
Although the 2012 SLK won’t arrive in dealers until June 2011 (perfect timing to enjoy topless driving in the summer), more details should emerge in the months to come. We wouldn’t be surprised if the car breaks cover at an auto show in the first quarter of 2011.