Lifestyle

Mercedes-Benz adopts run-flat tyres

Run-flats have been criticised for their harsh ride and the lack of availability of replacement tyres in remote areas.
Run-flats have been criticised for their harsh ride and the lack of availability of replacement tyres in remote areas.

MERCEDES-BENZ is expecting a customer backlash for introducing controversial run-flat tyres to its Australian range, nearly nine years after arch-rival BMW pioneered them here.

The Australian operation has always resisted the introduction of run-flats in Australia, despite the fact that Mercedes-Benz cars in Europe use the technology.

In 2006, a local Mercedes-Benz spokesman told Drive: "We do use run-flats in Europe but here we have a request with the factory [for] a full-sized spare wherever possible or a space-saver spare at the very least ... bearing in mind the vast distances in Australia and the limited tyre outlets in remote areas."

Run-flats, which allow a car to be driven at lower speeds after a tyre has been punctured, have been criticised for their harsh ride and the lack of availability of replacement tyres in remote areas.

The harsh ride is caused by the fact that the tyre's sidewalls are made stiffer to allow them to run while deflated.

The new B-class compact wagon comes standard with run-flat tyres and with no spare tyre. Its smaller brother, the A-class, which launches in early 2013, will come equipped the same way.

However, Benz's new ML SUV - which launches later this month - will not be equipped with run-flats, the German brand refusing to follow the lead set by BMW which equips its X1, X3, X5 and X6 SUVs with them.

BMW has stuck doggedly to its run-flat policy in Australia, despite consistent complaints from customers.

Benz has now decided to adopt run-flats on some models because it believes the technology has improved to the point that ride quality is acceptable.

One reason for that is the run-flat ability of some run-flats has been reduced to about 200-250km from up to 1000km by reducing sidewall stiffness.

"We expect backlash but it's only a matter of explaining why we think it is the right move," says Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific Car Group managing director Horst van Sanden.

He says run-flat tyres are particularly suited to a family-oriented car such as the B-class, which would often be driven by women.

"Would you want your wife stuck somewhere in the middle of the night having to change tyres. The advantages clearly outweigh the disadvantages.

"It is very comforting to know you can continue to drive at a maximum speed of 80km/h to a safe place to fix the tyre."

A spare tyre can be optioned for the B-class, but there is no wheel well in the boot in which to fit it.

Omitting the tyre allows Benz to free up more luggage capacity, although at 488 litres the new B-class is still 56 litres smaller than the original. It also provides a small weight saving of around 15kg, which contributes to improved fuel economy.

Topics:  bmw, drive, mercedes benz




Muster wristbands yield $21,000 in unclaimed refunds

Muster-goers collectively left about $21,000 worth of unused spending funds when they failed to claim back money on their bands after exiting the Muster.

Muster wristbands yield $21,000 windfall for organisers

Three to hospital after Bruce Hwy Brisbane Rd crash

INJURIES: The crash scene where three people were injured.

THREE injured in Brisbane Rd-Bruce Hwy crash

Missing man could be heading towards Gympie

Paul Horsfield's friends and family have not seen him for six days.

The man disappeared from a medical facility

Latest deals and offers

Competition winners visit Tin Can Bay

THE luckiest road trippers in Australia celebrated their arrival in Tin Can Bay with local residents and travel enthusiasts at Tin Can Bay Tourist Park.


Seniors learn options for staying in their own home

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER: Gympie's senior citizens are invited to a conference empowering them with the knowledge they may need to ensure they stay living in their own homes for as long as possible.

Gympie region seniors can learn how to stay in their own home longer

Muster wristbands yield $21,000 in unclaimed refunds

Muster-goers collectively left about $21,000 worth of unused spending funds when they failed to claim back money on their bands after exiting the Muster.

Muster wristbands yield $21,000 windfall for organisers

MOVIE REVIEW: Ben-Hur isn't likely to become a new classic

Toby Kebbell plays Messala Severus and Jack Huston plays Judah Ben-Hur in a scene from Ben-Hur.

ANYTHING less than grand in a remake of Ben-Hur won't do.

Coming up on your TVs this September...

Don't miss A Place to Call Home as season four launches this September.

HERE'S a sneak peek at what's coming up on Foxtel.

Taylor Swift dismissed from jury duty

Taylor Swift was dismissed from jury duty in a sexual assault case

Zumbo's Willy Wonka hat trick trips up Queensland brickie

Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo with Zumbo's floating dessert in a scene from Zumbo's Just Desserts.

NOOSA'S Michael Basset asked to recreate floating chocolate dish.

John Lennon's killer denied parole for 9th time

John Lennon

John Lennon's killer has been denied parole for the ninth time.

Bunnings starts demolition of historic foundry buildings

SAWTOOTH GONE: Demolition of Foundry sawtooth shed to make way for new Bunnings building.

Lane and footpath closures will take place

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates

Receivers move in on Springfield's 'Tower of Power'

The 10-storey tower at Springfield is up for sale with interest high in the iconic structure.

Interest high in iconic 10-storey office building

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd

Warning for unit investors with price plummet prediction

The warning signs are flashing for one real estate sector in 2017 despite others performing the best they have in years and it's not going to be pretty.

One real estate sector looks set for a rocky 2017

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale