Cars

Mercedes E-Class: Legal dispute over faulty assistance system

In the summer of 2021 we reported on Lutz Estel and his trouble with a Mercedes E-Class. A car for 92,000 cars that apparently has a strange life of its own. When Lutz Estel drives with cruise control in a 30 zone at home in Magdeburg, the car always accelerates to 100 km/h in the same place. In the residential area!

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An isolated case? Unfortunately not. When Estel sets the “Distronic” to 80 km/h in a certain 80 zone, it initially works. But then the cruise control suddenly changes on its own. Sometimes at 130 km/h, sometimes at 200 km/h. And that in a car with 340 hp.
Sometimes the 2019 Benz suddenly decelerates on the freeway, says Estel. “On the A14, the car braked from 190 km/h to 40 km/h.”
Over the course of time, Estel brought the car to his Magdeburg dealer several times. After the first report in AUTO BILD, the car dealership calls Estel and asks him to come back. Now the car stays in the workshop for a whole week. It doesn’t get any better.

A 30 zone in Magdeburg. The cruise control is set correctly…


So Estel commissions an appraiser at his own expense. On October 12, 2021, the DEKRA man confirmed in the hearing before the regional court that the “car in dispute” accelerated strongly on its own, as described by Estel. And just as AUTO BILD experienced it with a ride. So does the car have an obvious defect?

Mercedes sees no shortage

The manufacturer sees it differently, arguing in court that the assistance system corresponds to the current state of the art. The phenomena described cannot be prevented technically and may be based on outdated map material in the vehicle’s software. The system is also not aware of any daily changes to the signage.

… and then jumps to 100 km/h in the middle of a curve without warning.


The district court of Magdeburg then decided that an independent expert should take care of the matter. The costs for this, each 4000 euros, must be transferred to the court in advance by both sides.

Estel is lucky that the Mercedes is a company vehicle and his boss bears the costs. The representative for memorial diamonds is still upset. Because the court commissioned an expert in Münster. “I live in Magdeburg, Münster is 340 kilometers away. I didn’t understand that,” says Estel.

Six to eight weeks with the appraiser

On April 18, Estel brings his E-Class to the experts. The expert office had already announced in advance that the vehicle would have to stay there for six to eight weeks.

Estel drives about 1,500 kilometers per working week. “I have organized a private car that I can use in the next few weeks,” says Estel. “At your own expense.”

Lutz Estel during a test drive with AUTO BILD last year. Now he had to bring the car from Magdeburg to Munster to the appraiser.


And what does Mercedes say about the e-scaled dispute? It is said that one cannot comment on ongoing proceedings.
“All in all, the legal dispute has meanwhile incurred costs of 25,000 euros, both sides added together,” says Lutz Estel. “In my opinion, it is now time for Mercedes to agree to a settlement, if only for reasons of economic viability for everyone involved.”

Now a recall letter

Whether Estel will get his car back after the announced six to eight weeks remains to be seen. Because just as he had given his car to the appraiser, a recall letter fluttered into his house. There are problems with the coolant pump, there may be a risk of fire, it says. The car should go to the workshop immediately.

“Immediately” is in bold. But it is not that simple. “Now the appraiser must first ask the court whether he is allowed to take the car to a Mercedes workshop at all,” says Estel.

Incidentally, the letter from Mercedes on the recall campaign begins with the sentences: “We are very pleased that you have placed your trust in us by purchasing your Mercedes-Benz. We make sure that you can always drive with the good feeling of safety and reliability our vehicles continuously.”

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