How Mercedes Benz Changed Motoring Forever

Mercedes-Benz S600

While the Mercedes Benz brand is synonymous with modern day motoring, it was the company’s founder, and namesake, Karl Benz who also invented the first ever automobile, in January 1886. The Benz Patent Motorwagen was the first petrol powered automobile and it paved the way for the company’s 127 year dedication to innovation; a dedication that has helped change motoring forever.

Ever since the first Mercedes automobile was marketed by Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft in 1901, the company, whose vehicles have been in production under the Mercedes Benz brand name since 1926, has continued to push the boundaries of technological innovation, making breakthroughs in performance and safety with overwhelming regularity.


While Mercedes Benz is quite subtle in the marketing of their achievements, they have quietly paved the way for many of the safety mechanisms that we now take for granted in the modern day automobile.

Crumple zones can trace their origins back to Mercedes Benz’s development of the safety cage, with front and rear crumple zones, in 1951. With the improved performance of cars, capable of reaching greater and greater speeds, it is arguable that crumple zones are one of the most important safety innovations in automobile history; their very existence saves thousands of lives each and every year, all over the world.

We can, furthermore, credit Mercedes Benz with the innovation that has seen anti-lock brakes (ABS) become another standard feature of all modern day cars. The company produced the first passenger road car with brakes on all four wheels as early as 1924, and it is upon these foundations that ABS breaking is built.

Quite simply, Mercedes Benz has spearheaded safety within the automobile industry, to the extent that the company has licensed many of its safety innovations for use by competitors, for the greater good of motoring and motorists.


Mercedes Benz also continue to be pioneers in the field of automobile performance. In September 2003, for example, the company unveiled the world’s first seven-speed automatic transmission, the “7G-Tronic.” The new seven speed transmission allowed gear changes to be performed more quickly and smoothly than existing automatic transitions on the market, while also reducing fuel consumption. It was, quite simply, a game changer in the world of motoring.

In addition, Mercedes can also claim to be the producers of the most powerful, naturally aspirated, eight cylinder engine in the world, the Mercedes AMG, 6,208 cc M156 V8 engine, while the (W211) E320 CDI, which has a VTG (variable geometry turbocharger) 3.0 litre V6 diesel engine, has also set three world endurance records.

The future

Mercedes Benz has also played an important role in what is surely the future of the automobile industry, driverless cars. The company developed the first driverless, or robotic, car in the 1980s. The project, in collaboration with Professor Ernst Dickmanns of Bundeswehr University, saw a vision-guided Mercedes-Benz van travel safely at speeds of up to 100km/h. While this test was undertaken on closed roads, Dickmanns and Mercedes were able to develop a driverless S-Class car in 1995 which completed 95% of the journey from Munich to Copenhagen, through traffic, without assistance from any driver. Still in the developmental stage, driverless technology is the future of motoring, and, once again, its origins are intertwined with the innovation of Mercedes Benz.

If you have a classic Mercedes Benz and want to make sure it benefits from the best in tailor-made classic car insurance or classic bike insurance, contact Footman James. Established in 1983, Footman James is a leading classic vehicle insurance broker, providing high-quality, competitively priced insurance to private owners, collectors and professionals.

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