A demonstration of Mercedes-Benz’s new S-Class fitted with its sophisticated radar braking system went wrong recently, leading to a three-car pile-up.

The new car features a radar-based system that monitors the distance between itself and the car in front.  If the car in front brakes suddenly, the new S-Class will automatically apply its own brakes in order to prevent an accident.

The demonstration, at a recent press launch event, involves three Mercedes drivers driving line-astern in close formation.  The driver of the lead vehicle hits the brakes, and the two following S-Class vehicles are supposed to brake automatically.

However, in this demonstration, the system failed and the cars slammed into the back of each other.

Mercedes representatives blamed the steel construction of the hall used to stage the demonstration for interfering with the radar signals, adding that “the system works perfectly in all other circumstances.”

While the complex safety features fitted to the new S-Class saloon no doubt work well in most situations, this failure will be seen by many as a worrying indicator of the lack of improvement in the quality of Mercedes’ electronic systems.