Equipment on new European models (1): Daimler, BMW, and Volkswagen

More availability of start/stop system, variable headlight range control, and active safety equipmen



 The following summarizes the availability of major equipment used in new passenger cars that Daimler, BMW, and Volkswagen launched in Europe in and after the summer of 2011. Twelve models are reported - four Mercedes-Benz models, two BMW models, one MINI model, three VW models, and two Audi models.

 Concerning driving stability equipment, the system that allows the driver to choose driving characteristics including the characteristics of suspension and power steering, is increasingly available. Among systems to improve fuel efficiency, a start/stop system is available in 9 out of the 12 models and is increasingly available as standard equipment.

 As for visibility features, headlamps that automatically adjust the lighting range and angle depending on the existence of a vehicle running ahead and on surrounding brightness are becoming increasingly available.

 Among the collision safety systems of increasing availability are the knee airbags for the driver and the side airbag for rear seat occupants, which M-Benz also uses in its compact cars.

 With regard to driving and parking assist systems, the active safety system is becoming increasingly available including the availability of a collision mitigation brake system in the VW up! subcompact. Each OEM is also increasingly using a parking assist system that automatically performs steering maneuvers during parallel and double parking.

 Systems addressing greater comfort and convenience that are growing more available include a two-zone automatic climate control that automatically controls the climate separately for the driver seat and the passenger seat. M-Benz and BMW have adopted a system in which users can open and close the trunk lid by moving the foot below the rear bumper even when their hands are full.

BMW 3 Series (photo: the ActiveHybrid 3)
BMW 3 Series (photo: the ActiveHybrid 3)

VW Passat Alltrack
VW Passat Alltrack
Related reports:  Features on new US models (June 2012)
Features on new Japanese models (March 2012)
Features on new Hyundai/Kia vehicles (September 2012)

Advanced systems introduced by Daimler, BMW, and VW (on new models launched in Europe in and after the summer of 2011)

Driving stability
fuel efficiency)
Driving performance select M-Benz M-Class/SL-Class/A-Class,
BMW 1 Series/3 Series,
VW Passat Alltrack, Audi A3
Start/stop system M-Benz M-Class/B-Class/SL-Class/A-Class,
BMW 1 Series/3 Series, VW Passat Alltrack,
Audi A1 Sportback/A3
Visibility Variable headlight range control M-Benz M-Class/B-Class/SL-Class/A-Class,
BMW 3 Series, Audi A3
Collision safety Knee airbag for driver M-Benz B-Class/A-Class, Audi A3
Rear side airbag M-Benz M-Class/B-Class/A-Class
Driving/parking assist Park assist M-Benz M-Class/B-Class/SL-Class/A-Class,
BMW 1 Series/3 Series,
VW Passat Alltrack, Audi A3
Collision mitigation brake system VW up!/Passat Alltrack,
Speed limit assist M-Benz M-Class, Audi A3
Comfort & convenience Two-zone automatic climate control M-Benz M-Class/B-Class/A-Class,
BMW 1 Series/3 Series,
VW The Beetle/Passat Alltrack, Audi A3
Remote boot closing
and hands-free access
M-Benz SL-Class, BMW 3 Series

Daimler: features a start/stop system in the entire new model as standard equipment

 Daimler features multiple advanced driving stability systems and drive assist systems including Adaptive Damping System, which controls the damping force of the suspension, and Active Curve System, which minimizes the body roll when cornering, in M-Benz midsize SUV, M-Class. The premium compact cars, A-Class and B-Class, have enhanced its safety equipment by using a driver-seat knee airbag and rear-seat side airbags. The entire new model including Roadster SL-Class features a start-stop system as standard equipment.

Daimler: Main features on M-Benz cars

Models introduced in Europe in and after the summer of 2011
◎=Standard on all grades, ○=Standard on certain grades, △=optional
M-Class B-Class SL-Class A-Class
SUV Car Car Car
Driving stability
fuel efficiency)
Tyre pressure loss warning system
Downhill speed regulation
Hill start assist
ESP with Acceleration Skid Control
ESP Trailer stability assist
Four-wheel electronic traction system (4TES)
AirMATIC air suspension (1 in Table below)
Adaptive Damping System (2)
Selective Damping System ○△
Active Curve System (3)
Active Body Control (4)
Torque Vectoring Brake
ECO start/stop function
Visibility Intelligent Light System (5) ○△
Headlamp assist - automatic headlamp activation
LED tail lights
LED daytime running lights
Automatically dimming driver's door mirror
Automatically dimming rear-view mirror
Magic Vision Control (6)
Rain-sensing wipers ○△
Heated windscreen wash system
Collision safety Pre-Safe anticipatory safety system
Neck-Pro active head restraints
Airbags for driver and front passenger
Dual-stage airbags for driver and front passenger
Side airbags in front seats
Knee airbag for driver
Rear side airbag
Roll-over bars with crash sensor
Adaptive Brake System
(with full HOLD function and flashing brake lights)
Crash-responsive emergency lighting
Active bonnet
Attention assist
Active Park Assist including Parktronic ○△
Distronic Plus (with Pre-Safe brake)
Blind Spot Assist/Lane-Keeping assist
Active Blind Spot Assist/Active Lane Keeping Assist
Speed Limit Assist (7)
Speedtronic cruise control ○△
Collision Prevention Assist
Brake Assist (BAS Plus)
Electric parking brake
On- & Off-Road Package (8)
Night View Assist Plus
Reversing camera ○△
Comfort &
Heated steering wheel
Multi-zone function with separate air distribution
settings for driver, front passenger and rear
Two-zone automatic climate control
Airscarf - neck-level heating
Front seats with full electric adjustment
Memories for front seats, front head restraints,
steering column and exterior door mirrors
Front seats - comfort ventilated
Front seats - heated
Multi-contour front seats - massage function,
luxury head restraints and seat cushion depth adjustment
Heated rear seats/Heated steering wheel
Panoramic vario-roof with Magic Sky Control
- switchable transparency
Easy Pack powered tailgate
Remote boot closing and hands-free access (9)
Frontbass system (10)
Bluetooth interface for hands-free telephony
Source: Daimler On-Line Catalog (UK) as of late September 2012
(Note) 1. M-Class is a third-generation midsize premium SUV. It is characterized by sporty styling and high-quality interior, excellent engine performance and fuel efficiency by a newly-developed powertrain, and off-road drivability of the latest four-wheel-drive system.
2. B-Class is a new compact hatchback. The new model has completely changed its design from the former model's image of a family car. The vehicle height is 65mm lower and has adopted a sporty and dynamic form.
3. SL-Class is the sixth generation 2-seat premium sports roadster. The model has used the all-aluminum body for the first time as M-Benz's commercially-available model. It is lighter than the former model by up to 140kg.
4. A-Class is a new hatchback that is slightly smaller than B-Class. The former model has a tall MPV-like form, but the new model has a sporty styling that is about 400mm longer and 160mm lower, aiming to attract young customers.


Daimler: Major advanced features
AirMATIC air suspension
 AirMATIC air suspension features an electronically-controlled air spring with enclosed compressed air, automatic-regulation of vehicle height, and an advanced version of Adaptive Damping System (ADS).
Adaptive Damping System(ADS)
 Adaptive Damping System (ADS) adjusts damping force depending on the road conditions, driving style, and cargo weight to enhance comfort and safety. The ground clearance is automatically lowered to 161mm at high vehicle speeds; when the vehicle is running on rough roads, the driver can manually raise the ground clearance up to 236mm. There are two modes for suspension, sporty and comfort, which the driver can choose manually.
Active Curve System
 Active Curve System minimizes the body roll when the vehicle is cornering or off-roading by using active anti-roll bars of the front/rear axle. In addition, by improving maneuverability, straight-line stability on the expressways is also improved.
Active Body Control
 Active Body Control controls the suspension depending on driving conditions. By monitoring the behavior of the vehicle when accelerating, decelerating, and turning, the hydraulic unit of the coil spring for each of the four wheels is electronically controlled instantly. The roll when turning is reduced by more than 60%.
Intelligent Light System
 Intelligent Light System comprises a variety of modes and functions: country mode and motorway mode, in which the headlamps' range is adjusted depending on the driving situations, fog mode, in which fog lamps are enhanced, cornering light function, in which the surface of the inside road is illuminated when cornering, Active Light System, which illuminates the road ahead, and Adaptive High Beam Assist, which automatically maximizes the headlamps' range or dips the beams by detecting oncoming vehicles or other vehicles ahead. M-Class is equipped with special off-road light for off-roading, which has particularly wide headlamp range and high brightness.
Magic Vision Control
 Magic Vision Control is a system in which multiple holes of the wiper blades splash appropriate amount of washer fluid in the wipers' direction of movement to clean the windshield. Washer fluid does not fly in all directions and the interior does not go dirty when the roof of the Roadster is open.
Speed Limit Assist
 Speed Limit Assist is an optional function of COMAND Online. With the windshield-mounted camera, Speed Limit Assist can recognize speed limits and displays them in the instrument panel and on the display of COMAND Online to alert the driver.
On- & Off-Road Package
 With On- & Off-Road Package, the driver can choose the most appropriate driving mode depending on the road and driving conditions to enhance maneuverability and driving safety. There are six driving modes: Auto, Off-Road 1(for sandy or less challenging terrain), Off-Road 2 (for rougher terrain), Sport, Snow, and Towing.
(9) Remote boot closing and hands-free access  Remote boot closing and hands-free access opens and closes the tailgate only by moving the foot close to the rear bumper. This is the first system that not only opens the tailgate, but also closes it.
Frontbass system
 In Frontbass system, since the body of the Roadster SL-Class is made of aluminum, room for the bass speaker is secured not on the door, but in the legroom of the driver/passenger seats. This is the first unit of this kind for in-vehicle audio system. Without being influenced by the opening or closing of the roof, the audio system offers balanced audio and powerful bass sound.



BMW: advanced visibility system is available to the 3 Series

 BMW uses advanced features in its 3 Series, its top seller, including SmartBeam DFL, which generates "block-out" zones with shutters that block portions of the high beams of the headlamps in order to prevent blinding surrounding traffic while continuously optimizing forward lighting, and Surround View, which, with five cameras, provides clear view in less-visible situations. The 1 Series and 3 Series have Real-time traffic information available as part of infortainment functions, which displays real-time traffic information on the map of the navigation system.

BMW: Main features on BMW/MINI cars

Models introduced in Europe in and after the summer of 2011
◎=Standard on all grades, ○=Standard on certain grades, △=optional
1 Series
3 Series
Sep. 2011 Oct. 2011 Feb. 2012
Driving stability
fuel efficiency)
Tyre puncture warning system
Driving Performance Control
(Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Eco Pro) (1 in Table below)
Auto Start Stop function
Visibility Rain sensor with automatic headlight activation
Adaptive headlights
High-beam assistance
SmartBeam DFL (Dynamic Forward Lighting) (2)
Surround View (3)
Rear-view mirror, automatically dimming
Exterior mirrors - automatically dimming
Collision safety Airbags - driver and front passenger
Side airbags - driver and front passenger
ITS head airbags - front and rear
Dynamic brake lights (flashing function for emergency stop)
Crash sensor activating central locking release
Park distance control -front and rear
Reversing assist camera
Parking assistant
Hill-start assistant
Cruise control with brake function
Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function
Speed limit information
No-passing information
Lane change warning system
Lane departure warning system
Collision warning
Comfort &
Automatic air conditioning with 2-zone control
Head-up display (full colour 3D display)
Comfort Access with smart opener (4)
Bluetooth hands-free facility
Internet connectivity
On-Board Computer
BMW ConnectedDrive/MINI Connected (5)
Real-time traffic information (6)
Source: BMW On-Line Catalog (UK) as of late September 2012
(Note) 1.  The 1 Series is BMW's entry model and is a 3/5-door hatchback sedan in the C segment. The model is the only FR model in this class. It has a 30mm longer wheelbase than the former model. It is a sportier model that boasts better fuel economy.
2. The MINI Coupe is MINI's first 2-seater. The model is characterized by a unique "helmet roof" design in which the roof is smoothly tilting and the rear end of the roof spoiler looks like the brim of a helmet.
3.  The 3 Series (sedan) is a D-segment model and BMW's top-seller. Compared to the former model, the model is 93mm longer with a 50mm longer wheelbase, which makes available more room for rear seat occupants, but it is 40kg lighter. The 3 Series competes with M-Benz C-Class.


BMW: Major advanced features
Driving Performance Control
 Driving Performance Control allows the driver to change the settings of steering, transmission, suspension, and others depending on the driving style. The driver can choose from four modes - Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Eco Pro. Eco Pro is a fuel efficient mode that improves fuel efficiency by up to 20%.
SmartBeam DFL
 SmartBeam DFL is a new high-beam system with a CMOS camera integrated into a rear view mirror, and related electronics. When the system detects the presence of other headlamps and taillamps, it generates "block-out" zones around vehicles that it is either trailing or moving closer with shutters that block portions of the high beams. The vehicle's high beams are in a 'constant on' position, resulting in significantly better forward vision during nighttime driving, whereas the system prevents blinding surrounding traffic. SmartBeam DFL is made by Gentex.
Surround View
 Surround View secures the visual field of the driver with five cameras. Two right and left side view cameras in the front bumper show front view and right and left views simultaneously so that the driver moves ahead on roads with poor visibility. Two top view cameras in the exterior mirrors and Rear View Camera convert data from each camera into one image from the bird's-eye view to display it in order to help the driver to park the vehicle and with other maneuvers.
Comfort Access with smart opener
 Comfort Access with smart opener locks and unlocks the doors of the driver and passenger seat and the tailgate, and starts/stops the engine if the driver carries the remote control key. When the driver moves his or her foot below the rear bumper, the smart opener detects the movement of the tip of the foot and unlocks the tailgate, which opens automatically.
(5) BMW ConnectedDrive/
MINI Connected
 BMW ConnectedDrive/MINI Connected is a general name for the systems that connect the driver, vehicle, and society through a variety of technologies and that provides service concerning comfort, safety, and infotainment.
(6) Real-time traffic information  Real-time traffic information is among the functions of ConnectedDrive and displays the real-time traffic information on the map of the navigation system. The information is updated every three minutes. The system estimates the future traffic jam and recommends an alternative route.



VW: The Passat Alltrack and the Audi A3 feature multiple advanced equipment

 VW features Adaptive Chassis Control, which allows the driver to choose the setting of the suspension, and Off-road mode, which helps the driver to drive on rough roads, in Passat's off-road model - Passat Alltrack. The Beetle and the Passat Alltrack have the comfort systems including a zone air conditioning system and Heated front seats available. City Emergency braking system, which is a collision mitigation brake system, is available to the up! subcompact car and the Passat Alltrack.

VW: Main features on VW cars

Models introduced in Europe in and after the summer of 2011
◎=Standard on all grades, ○=Standard on certain grades, △=optional
up! Passat
Driving stability
fuel efficiency)
Adaptive Chassis Control (Normal, Comfort, Sport)
(1 in Table below)
Electronic differential lock
Off-road mode (2)
Start stop with brake energy recuperation
Tyre pressure indicator
Visibility High beam assist
Automatic headlight control
LED daytime running lights
Heated windscreen washer jets
Rain sensor
Automatic dimming interior rear-view mirror
Collision safety Driver's and front passenger's whiplash optimized head restraints
Driver's and front passenger's airbags
Front seat side impact airbags
Combined head and side airbags for the front seat occupants
Curtain airbag for front and rear passenger
Passenger airbag deactivation switch
Parking sensor - front and rear
Parking sensor - rear
Park assist (3)
Rear view camera
Cruise control ○△
Adaptive cruise control
City Emergency braking system (4)
Electronic parking brake - with auto hold function
Hill hold function
Hill descent control
Comfort &
2 zone electronic climate control ○△
Parking heater (5)
Bluetooth telephone preparation for hands free profile
Heated front seats
Heated outer rear seats
Electric tailgate
Touch-screen navigation/radio infotainment device
with integrated voice control
Source: VW On-Line Catalog (UK) as of late September 2012
(Note) 1. The Beetle is a third-generation Beetle compact car. The new model continues to have the design image of the first-generation model, but is 152mm longer, 84mm wider, and 12mm shorter than the second-generation model.
2. The up! is VW's smallest 4-seater model. 3540mm x 1640mm x 1480mm with a wheelbase of 2420mm.
3. The Passat Alltrack is an off-road model based on the Passat Variant station wagon. The overall length and width of the model is the same as that of the base model, but the ground clearance is 30mm higher, which improves the roadability on the rough road.


VW: Major advanced features
Adaptive Chassis Control
 Adaptive Chassis Control is a system that controls the damping force of the damper and the power steering characteristics instantly. Depending on the driving style, the system lets the driver select three ride settings with different damping force - Comfort, Sport and Normal.
Off-road mode
 Off-road mode is a system that helps the driver to drive off-road safely. When the driver presses the OFF ROAD button on the dashboard, five drive-assist systems are activated. (1) Hill descent assist automatically controls the brake when the vehicle runs down a slope of 10 degrees or more, (2) ABS generates higher braking forces, (3) Electronic differential locks (EDS), which controls the difference of the revolution between the right and left tires faster in order to prevent the slipping, (4) DSG dual-clutch transmission automatically selects the gear that provides maximum traction and engine braking when the vehicle is running on a hill , and (5) the press-response characteristics of the accelerator pedal is changed to make precise throttle control possible.
Park assist
 With Park assist on, in a parallel parking, when the driver presses the button, the ultrasonic sensor mounted on the front bumper scans both sides of the road to find a parking space. When it finds an appropriate space, Park assist automatically steers into the space while the driver has only to operate the gear, accelerator, and brake. The latest system can help park your car when you want to reverse into even smaller spaces in one or more moves. The driver determines the parking space, and Park assist steers the vehicle.
City Emergency braking system
 City Emergency braking system monitors the distance between the vehicle and the one ahead when it is running at 5-30km/h by using a radar sensor. When the system detects the possibility of collision, it alerts the driver on the display or audible warning and also prepares braking to minimize the braking distance. If the system judges that the collision is unavoidable as the driver does not apply the brake, it automatically applies the brake to avoid collision or mitigate damage.
(5) Parking heater  Parking heater is a system that activates the heater of the vehicle being parked by remote control and a timer.

 Audi features multiple advanced systems in the A3 including Drive Select which allows the driver to choose the characteristics of the power steering and accelerator, Variable headlight range control, which automatically adjusts headlights from high-beam to dipped beam depending on the amount of surrounding light, and Active lane assist, which sounds an alert and helps the driver to steer back when the vehicle is coming too close to a lane marking.

VW: Main features on Audi cars

Models introduced in Europe in and after the summer of 2011
◎=Standard on all grades, ○=Standard on certain grades, △=optional
of 2012
Driving stability
fuel efficiency)
Audi Drive Select
(Comfort, Auto, Dynamic, Individual, Efficiency) (1 in Table below)
Adaptive shock absorbers/Magnetic ride suspension
Electronic limited slip differential
Brake disc wiping
Start-stop system with energy recuperation
Visibility Xenon Plus headlights with LED daytime running lights
Adaptive headlights/High-beam assistant
Variable headlight range control (2)
Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
Auto-dimming driver's door mirror
Door mirrors with automatic kerb view dipping function (reverse gear)
Light and rain sensor
Automatic windscreen wipers
Heated rear windscreen
Heated windscreen washer jets
Collision safety Driver, front passenger and front side airbags
Head level airbag system for front and rear
Knee airbag for the driver
Front passenger airbag deactivation switch
Adaptive brake light
Audi Parking System, rear
Audi Parking System plus, front and rear
Park assist (3)
Reversing camera
Electromechanical parking brake
Hold assist (4)
Audi Pre sense basic safety system
Cruise control
Adaptive cruise control
Audi side assist
Audi active lane assist (5)
Speed limit display
Comfort &
2-zone electronic climate control ○△
Bluetooth interface for hands free mobile phone connectivity
Through-load facility
Driver's Information System
Voice control system
MMI satellite navigation plus with MMI touch (6)
HDD satellite navigation
Source: Audi On-Line Catalog (UK) as of late September 2012
(Note) 1. The A1 Sportback is a 5-door hatchback that is based on the A1 (3-door hatchback model), which is Audi's smallest model. The model shares the platform with the VW Polo.
2. The A3 is a new compact hatchback. The model is the first one that has adopted MQB modular system (VW Group announced in February 2012) for transverse-mounted engine vehicles. It is as long and high as the former model, but is 80kg lighter.


Audi: Major advanced features
Audi Drive Select
 Audi Drive Select is a system in which the driver can choose the assist level of power steering, the response of the accelerator, the shift point of the transmission, and other settings. The driver can select three modes - Comfort, Auto, and Dynamic - and Individual, in which the driver can set each item individually, and Efficiency, which is for fuel-efficient driving.
(2) Variable headlight range control  Variable headlight range control detects the light source including another vehicle or street lights with a vehicle-mounted camera to adjust headlights from high-beam to dipped beam.
Park assist
 With an ultrasonic sensor, Park assist detects a space for parallel /double parking. This system automatically steers the vehicle and the driver only accelerates or brakes the vehicle. This latest system is capable of parking the vehicle in a smaller space or in more curved space than the former system. Even when multiple moves are needed, the system steers the vehicle.
Hold assist
 Hold assist is activated by push-button and holds the vehicle stationary for unlimited periods after stopping on hills. Without having to operate the parking brake, the driver can do a hill start easily.
Audi active lane assist
 Audi active lane assist identifies the lane markings on both sides with an on-board camera to sound an alert to the driver when the vehicle is coming too close to a lane marking and also helps the driver to steer back towards the middle of the lane by making gentle steering movements. Steering wheel vibration can be activated as an additional warning when crossing lane markings. This system is activated at above speeds of 25km/h.
MMI navigation plus with MMI touch
 MMI stands for Multi Media Interface. MMI consists of an electrically-retractable high-definition 7-inch monitor mounted on the dashboard and operating switches on the center console. The latest-version MMI Touch is adopted as an operating switch. The surface of MMI Touch's round button-like switch is a touch-pad and by directly writing onto the touch-pad with a finger, the user can enter characters or move the pointer.

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