The Mercedes achieved a two-star front- and side-impact rating. In the frontal test, the C-class suffered excessive intrusion into the footwell area, where stiff structures that came into contact with the driver's right knee presented serious injury risks to his knee, thigh and pelvis. The C-class is due to be revised this autumn. For now, the car tested was fitted with driver and passenger airbags, which are standard equipment throughout Europe. It also had door-mounted airbags for additional side-impact protection. However in the side-impact test, with the seat set correctly for an adult male of average height, the door struck the dummy's chest before the side airbag had fully inflated. If the seat were set further back for a taller driver it was not clear from the test results how much more or less effective the airbag might have been.
The driver's front screen pillar was pushed backwards by 154mm (6.1in). The passenger compartment remained free from damage serious enough to affect its structural integrity and the driver's and passenger's doors could be opened normally after the impact. The steering wheel was pushed back by 123mm (4.8in)and upward by only 49mm (1.9in). However, there was excessive intrusion into the footwell – the brake pedal was moved backwards by 270mm (10.6in).
The driver's head was cushioned by the airbag, giving a good dummy result. However, movement of the steering column was felt to present a potential risk to shorter and taller drivers, so head protection was down-rated to 'adequate'. Neck protection was good and the restraint system kept his chest away from the wheel. Although the driver's left knee struck the lower facia just to the left of the steering column, protection for his left knee, thigh and pelvis was rated as good. His right knee hit the facia just to the right of the steering-column lock, but was given a 'poor' rating because, had the knee struck slightly higher, it would hit the column lock, and if it had penetrated the facia slightly further, injury risks would have increased significantly. Excessive intrusion into the footwell resulted from the impact, and foot and ankle protection was rated 'poor' as a result.
The level of protection provided for the front passenger was generally good and the airbag was effective, although forces exerted by the seat belt during the impact resulted in marginal protection for the chest, and his right lower leg struck the centre console hard enough to leave a clear damage mark. The results for the passenger were not modified on the basis of any structural damage caused by the impact.
The door-mounted airbag (fitted as standard to this car) was triggered by the impact, emerged from the door ahead of the driver and pushed rearwards between the driver and the door as it inflated. But, before this could happen, the dummy's upper chest was struck by the car side as it was pushed in by the impact. This test was carried out with the driver's seat set for a person of average height. Had the driver been much taller or shorter, the degree of protection provided by the side airbag might have been significantly different. Good protection was provided for the driver's head and pelvis, but the amount of protection provided for his chest was rated 'weak' because of the contact that had occurred between his ribs and the side of the car. Protection for his abdomen was rated as 'marginal'.
Child head impact
Three of the six test locations met proposed legislation. One was above the oil filler cap and two were over bonnet strengtheners. Two points were better than average, and one was worse: situated at the join between bonnet and wing.
Upper leg impact
None of the three tests met proposed legislation: all were worse than average.
Adult head impact
No tests met proposed legislation, although one, on one of the windscreen wash nozzles, came close. Four points were better than average. two were worse: one above a bonnet strengthener and one above a wiper hinge.
None of the three tests met the requirements. One of the tests was better than average, two were worse.