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Mercedes-Benz Trim Levels, Configurations, Pros vs Cons

When people hear the name Mercedes-Benz, the thoughts that most often come to mind are luxury and quality. From the earliest days of the company to today, Mercedes-Benz has had a reputation for always being on the cutting edge of technology and innovation. Headquartered in Germany, the company's slogan translates to "the best or nothing," demonstrating the mindset of those who work there.

From its start in the late 19th-century to today, the company has always taken the lead when it comes to vehicle safety. In fact, many of their safety innovations have been added to other vehicles over the years, as have the vast number of technological advances as well.

One of the oldest automobile manufacturers in the world today, Mercedes-Benz continues to amaze the automotive world with its never-ending quest to create the perfect vehicle. The company's history is filled with numerous accomplishments that show it was not just ahead of its time generations ago, but continues to do so today.

1) 1886: Inventing the First Car

As the world began to move to a more industrial economy, Carl Benz saw an opportunity and made the most of it. Along with his wife Bertha, who actually provided financing for his project, Carl was awarded patent number 37435 for his German vehicle called the Motorwagen. Self-propelled and boasting a rear-mounted single-cylinder engine, it forever changed how people in Germany and eventually the world would come to get from here to there.

2) 1906: Electric Cars

The forerunner to today's modern electric hybrids, many Mercedes cars, trucks and firefighting vehicles were made with a combination battery-electric propulsion system. This made them not only more powerful, but also much more dependable.

3) 1931: Independent Suspension

Considered one of the most innovative breakthroughs in vehicle manufacturing, Mercedes-Benz introduced an independent suspension system that greatly increased a driver's ability to control their vehicle. First added to the Mercedes 170, the driver now knew each wheel could respond individually. The suspension, along with hydraulic brakes, gave drivers more control behind the wheel and much more confidence when driving.

4) 1936: Diesel Vehicles

One of the biggest problems most drivers faced with their vehicles was the amount of fuel used to power them. To solve this problem, Mercedes-Benz introduced vehicles that relied on diesel fuel rather than traditional gasoline. In 1936 the 260D, a passenger car, was unveiled to the world. Needing far less maintenance on its ignition system, the car was found to use over 30 percent less fuel than those powered by gasoline. As a result, sales skyrocketed and the diesel vehicle was here to stay.

5) 1949: Conical-Pin Door Lock

Unfortunately, as more vehicles got on the road more accidents began to occur. Mercedes-Benz found one of the biggest problems with accidents was the doors coming open too easily, putting drivers and passengers at risk. Thus, the conical-pin door lock was created. Considered the first of its kind, it's still in use on many of today's vehicles.

6) 1958: Crash Testing

Unheard of at the time, Mercedes-Benz decided to put each vehicle model produced through a series of crash tests to see how they responded under duress. This proved to give valuable information to engineers, leading to numerous changes being made to increase vehicle safety and performance.

7) 1978: Antilock Braking

Yet another safety milestone was achieved in the 1970s as the company began manufacturing vehicles with antilock braking systems. Designed to prevent the wheels from locking up while braking quickly, this system has been called a milestone in vehicle manufacturing.

8) 2000: Tele-Aid

As 21st-century technology began to find its way into vehicles, Mercedes-Benz embraced it and introduced a series of security and navigation features that could be accessed behind the wheel. Tele-Aid connected drivers to Mercedes-Benz Customer Service centers around the globe, helping drivers with navigation and maintenance issues. Accessed through a computer or special buttons located near the dashboard, drivers began to feel as if science-fiction had indeed become reality.

9) 2010: Attention Assist

No, it wasn't a space odyssey for drivers who got behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz in 2010. Instead, it was the latest technology designed to keep the driver as safe as possible. Attention Assist, which made the vehicles seem almost human, was able to examine close to 75 different variables within the first few minutes a driver was behind the wheel. If the car sensed the driver was too drowsy to drive safely, it used an audible warning to tell the driver it was time to get some rest before continuing down the road.

10) 2014: The Self-Driving Car

You often wonder what Carl Benz would have to say about the self-driving car. While it seems impossible, technology now makes it possible to sit behind the wheel and get to your destination without ever touching the steering wheel. While still in the early stages of development, the possibilities are mind-boggling. As a tribute to Carl and Bertha Benz, engineers drove a prototype along a 60-mile route from Mannheim to Pforzheim to demonstrate the car's capabilities.

With manufacturing facilities in over 26 countries, including the United States, Mercedes-Benz is a worldwide brand that continues to be the gold standard among automobile manufacturers. With an international production facility located near Tuscaloosa, Alabama the company produces such models as the GL-Class Luxury SUV, the M-Class Sport Utility and the R-Class Sport Tourer. Since Carl Benz created his company, Mercedes-Benz has been looked at as a company which produces vehicles of the highest quality and durability. In 2014, Reuters determined Mercedes has the lowest recall rates of any vehicles on the market today. A regular winner of awards from J.D. Power and other consumer groups, Mercedes-Benz garners high rankings in the U.S. and nations around the world. As technology continues to play a bigger and more important role in manufacturing vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is always looking for ways to make history with their engineering. As the past years have shown, that is something the company is well-equipped to do.