The rating of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class has been upgraded from 2011 to 2012. The car is unchanged and test results have been carried over from the previous year. The 2012 rating reflects the performance of the M-Class against Euro NCAP's latest requirements.
The passenger compartment remained stable in the frontal impact. Dummy readings indicated good protection for the knees and femurs of both driver and front passenger. Mercedes Benz showed that a similar level of protection would be provided to occupants of different sizes and those sat in different positions. The M Class scored maximum points in the side barrier test. In the more severe side pole impact, protection of the chest was adequate and that of all other body areas was good. The front seats and head restraints provided good protection against whiplash injuries in the event of a rear impact.
Forward movement of the 3 year dummy, sat in a forward-facing restraint, was not excessive. In the side impact, both child dummies were properly contained within the protective shells of their restraints, minimising the risk of dangerous head contact. The front passenger airbag can be disabled only by child restraints equipped with Mercedes Benz's automtic sensor system, known as CPOD. As there is no way of disabling the airbag for other rearward-facing restraints, the system was not rewarded by Euro NCAP. Permanently attached labels provided clear warnings of the dangers of using that seating position without first disabling the airbag.
The M Class has an 'active' bonnet. Sensors in the bumper detect when a pedestrian has been struck and actuators lift the rear of the bonnet to provide greater clearance to hard structures underneath. Mercedes demonstrated that the system would deploy correctly for a wide range of pedestrian statures, and over a broad speed range. In all areas likely to be struck by the head of an adult, the bonnet provided good protection. In the areas likely to be struck by a child's head, protection was mixed, with areas of good, marginal and poor performance. The protection offered by the front edge of the bonnet to pedestrians was poor.
The M Class has electronic stability control as standard, as well a seatbelt reminder system for the driver, passenger and rear seats. A driver-set speed limitation device is standard equipment but did not meet Euro NCAP's requirements.