A History of Making History
Innovation is our opportunity to change the world. At Mercedes-Benz, we’ve been doing it since 1886, pioneering some of the greatest advancements in performance, safety and all of mobility. Carl Benz said it best, “The love of inventing never dies.”
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This Is What Makes “The Best or Nothing.”
It’s in our commitment to innovation, to pushing the boundaries time and time again. Jump ahead or scroll to discover our greatest achievements throughout the years.
The First Automobile
It began with the Motorwagen. Carl Benz was awarded German patent #37435 for a three-wheeled, self-propelled vehicle with a rear-mounted single-cylinder engine. In that instant, the world became smaller, and it set the course for our legacy of innovation that continues to this day.
The Driver Who Paved the Way
While Carl Benz was unsure if his invention was ready for the road, his wife Bertha Benz had a different idea. Without his knowledge, she took her sons on the first long-distance drive from Manheim to Pforzheim, Germany. Along the way, she cleaned the carburetor and made various repairs and improvements. Her bold spirit and courage began a revolution that would change the world forever.
Innovation that Powers Performance
The Honeycomb Radiator
Developed for the Mercedes 35hp, the honeycomb radiator uses its unique texture to efficiently cool the engine, and is remarkably similar to what’s used today.
The Electric-Powered Car
Several Mercedes passenger cars, trucks, buses and fire service vehicles became available with battery-electric propulsion, an early ancestor of today’s hybrid drive.
The Multivalve Engine
The Benz Special Touring Car is the first to employ four valves per cylinder, improving both performance and fuel consumption.
The Supercharged Engine
A compressor driven by the engine noticeably increases the power of several Mercedes models by pressurizing the fuel-air mixture.
The 4-Wheel Independent Suspension
The first-ever fully independent suspension allowed each wheel to respond individually and paved the way for future handling innovations.
Build It, Crash It, Build It Again
The Conical-Pin Door Lock
Designed to help the doors prevent from opening in an accident, this patented, extremely strong door latch was the first of its kind.
The Crumple Zone
Invented by legendary Mercedes-Benz Group engineer Béla Barényi, the crumple zone utilizes a rigid passenger cell surrounded by defined deformation zones, and it’s used universally to this day.
The Crash Test Program
For the first time, development of every new vehicle would include a rigorous regimen of crash testing to make Mercedes vehicles the safest on the road.
The Offset-Frontal Crash Test
An evolution of the original crash test program, the “partial overlap” barrier crash is a more accurate simulation of real-world collisions.
True Stopping Power: The Antilock Braking System
The invention of ABS is one of the biggest developments in modern automotive engineering. First unveiled as a concept in 1970, it remains a safety milestone, allowing the driver to retain steering control under heavy braking and contributing to future breakthroughs because of the ability to brake wheels individually.
Precision, Feature by Feature
The Multilink Suspension
Debuting on the compact 190-Class, this breakthrough 5-arm rear suspension provided new levels of handling, precision and safety.
4MATIC All-Wheel Drive
The AWD E-Class debuts with two electronic traction systems for rear-wheel drive cars: the automatic differential lock (ASD) and automatic skid control (ASR).
CFC-Free Climate Control
Long before other automakers, Mercedes-Benz removed these harmful chemicals from their air conditioning systems and manufacturing process.
The Electronic Stability Program
Perhaps the most important breakthrough since the airbag, ESP helps maintain control during corners and evasive maneuvers, and it’s now required by law on every car.
An achievement in convenience and anti-theft technology, the compact SmartKey uses an electronic code to start the car rather than a mechanical lock.
The Car as a Computer
Beginning in 2000, Mercedes-Benz vehicles began to communicate with the outside world – through computers and later phones – bringing customers a new level of connection, and leading the way for internet connectivity within the vehicle’s cabin.
A groundbreaking system, PRE-SAFE detects an accident before it happens, snugging the seat belts, adjusting the head restraints and more to optimize protection during a crash.
After measuring over 70 parameters in the first few minutes of a drive, Attention Assist can detect signs of drowsiness and audibly alert the driver to take a break.
Pioneered in the 2017 E-Class, Car-to-X Communication shares critical information with other vehicles to warn of potential danger, such as slippery roads or broken-down vehicles.
The Future of Mobility is Being Invented Today
From electrification to ridesharing to autonomous driving, the ways we travel are changing faster than ever before. At Mercedes-Benz, our past and present inform our vision for the future, where luxury travel comes in shapes and sizes you never imagined.
All New Energy
The future is electric and so are we. The Mercedes-Benz EQ lineup consists of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles that will take the road by storm, combining world-class luxury with optimal efficiency. The all-new drive system puts a premium on performance with electric drivetrains at each axle, as well as unique styling and technology that blazes a new path for electric driving.
We’re also investing heavily in charging services and home energy storage units. It’s part of our effort to bring energy solutions to every corner of America, and ensure that the best cars in the world are also the best cars for the world.
In the future of driving, driving is optional. That means less time stuck in traffic, less time commuting and more time for you. Many existing Mercedes-Benz features are already built to augment the human touch, mostly for safety reasons.
Moving forward, the role of the automobile will shift, and Mercedes-Benz will be the ones to do it. It’s why we’re creating vehicles like the Luxury in Motion, and partnering with companies like Bosch to study urban development and intelligent software. Because since the day we invented the automobile, we’ve never stopped and never will.