Leading through innovation

Leading through innovation.

Even more than its meticulous engineering.

What begins as a breakthrough becomes the standard for every car on the road.

Mercedes-Benz has a history of making history. Since the first car, Mercedes-Benz has set the pace for what all cars might someday become. With an ongoing stream of firsts in safety, performance and driving enjoyment, it's an ever more exciting roadmap to the future. And while there's a neverending roster of new achievements, there's only one reason the world's first automaker remains first in innovation. Carl Benz said it best: "The love of inventing never dies."

The First Car

The first car.

In 1886, Carl Benz is awarded German patent number 37435 for a three-wheeled, self-propelled "Motorwagen". With a rear-mounted single-cylinder engine, the first automobile forever changes the way people move, and sparks a legacy of innovation that continues to this day.

  • 1901 - Honeycomb radiator

    Among the features of the first car to wear the Mercedes name is its closed cooling system, a highly efficient design made possible by the texture of its radiator.

  • 1906 - 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.

  • 1910 - The multivalve engine

    The Benz Special Touring Car is first to employ four valves per cylinder to improve both performance and fuel consumption.


  • 1921 - Supercharged engine

    A compressor driven by the engine noticeably increases the power of several Mercedes models by pressurizing the fuel-air mixture.


4-wheel independent suspension

1931 - 4-wheel independent suspension

The Mercedes 170 features the first-ever fully independent suspension, which allows each wheel to respond individually. Along with a new hydraulic braking system, the 170 sets new performance and safety benchmarks that remain the gold standard today.

  • 1936 - Diesel passenger car

    The first diesel passenger car, the 260D, uses about 30% less fuel than its gasoline counterpart, and does so without the maintenance of ignition components.

  • 1939 - Passenger-car safety development

    Led by engineer Béla Barényi, Mercedes-Benz formally begins safety research with a test vehicle featuring a highly rigid floor, side-impact protection and a collapsible steering column.

  • 1949 - Conical-pin door lock

    Designed to help prevent the doors from opening in an accident, this patented, extremely strong door latch is the first of its kind.


  • 1951 - Crumple zone (series production: 1959)

    Béla Barényi's research leads to a patent for the first safety car body with a rigid passenger cell and defined deformation zones, a concept used universally today.


  • 1958 - Crash testing program

    For the first time, development of every new Mercedes includes an increasingly rigorous regimen of crash-testing. This vital learning tool was initially performed outdoors.

  • 1963 - Gated shifter

    On the first SL to offer an automatic transmission, an ingenious notched layout facilitated selection of all four forward gears without a push button release. It remains an industry standard.

  • 1973 - Offset-frontal crash test

    One of many evolutions of the crash test program, the "partial overlap" barrier crash more accurately simulates the concentration of forces in real-world collisions.

  • 1978 - Antilock Braking System (ABS)

    A concept first unveiled in 1970, ABS helps the driver retain steering control under heavy braking by preventing wheel lockup. It remains both a milestone in automotive safety and a cornerstone, with the ability to individually brake wheels serving as a fundamental element of countless future breakthroughs.

4 wheel drive
  • 1982 - Multilink suspension

    Debuting on the compact 190-Class, this breakthrough 5-arm rear suspension design provides a new level of handling precision, ride comfort and active safety.



  • 1985 - 4MATIC all-wheel drive (AWD)

    The AWD E-Class debuts along with two electronic traction systems for rear-wheel-drive cars: the automatic differential lock (ASD) and automatic skid control (ASR).


  • 1991 - CFC-free climate control

    Long before other automakers, Mercedes-Benz removes these eco-unfriendly chemicals not just from its air conditioning systems but the entire manufacturing process.


  • 1992 - Controller Area Network (CAN)

    A breakthrough in automotive electronics, the networking of numerous components allows more precise and rapid control, along with new levels of feature interaction.



Today, Tomorrow, the Future

The Cognitive Car
  • F 015 Luxury in Motion
  • Concept EQ
  • The Cognitive Car

  • F 015 Luxury in Motion

    The Mercedes-Benz F 015 Luxury in Motion research car and its immersive user experience is an innovative look at the future. Without the need for a driver, the cabin becomes a personal haven for passengers. Four rotating seats allow face-to-face configuration, and six display screens let users interact with the vehicle through gestures, eye tracking and touch. Finally, the walnut trim and soft nappa leather merge with the metal and glass to form a truly luxurious experience. The F 015 is a bold foray into the future of driving, where a car is more than transportation, it’s a retreat.

  • Concept EQ

    The Concept EQ is an entirely new generation of vehicles. The first of its kind in Mercedes-Benz history, it features an electric battery-powered drive system and boasts a totally fresh take on the electric aesthetic both inside and out. For example, the driver interface features user-friendly touch-sensitive surfaces, and the widescreen display places speed, range, trip data or navigation and map details into the driver's field of view. In addition, the navigation system uses GPU technology from NVIDIA which allows the driver to see points of interest highlighted in 3D for a more user-friendly, simplified experience.

  • The Cognitive Car

    In evolving the future of mobility, Mercedes-Benz is developing cognitive vehicles that possess knowledge about their surroundings, enabling them to act autonomously. They can analyse current traffic situations and produce individualized plans suited to the driver’s needs. Cognitive vehicles can even recognize and fulfil the passengers’ wishes with artificial intelligence that both entertains and offers intellectual support such as analyzing traffic or creating a custom mobility plan. Future infotainment systems will even use artificial intelligence and machine learning to collect and analyze information about the driver's behaviour and habits. From there the system can then suggest a destination or music.