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

New round of AGL email scams hits Gympie

SCAMMED: Tracy Salter, vicitim of a malicious email scam.

AGL customers are urged to be cautious due to a new email scam.

Man's meat cleaver rage after stuffed toy thrown on fire


Inskip camper 'lost the plot', threatened woman with meat cleaver

Vets and horse owners to be more protected from Hendra

A quarantine notice on a property suspected of having a Hendra outbreak.

Hendra report tabled - 11 recommendations made

Local Partners

New youth worker removes stigmas around sex

Sexual health worker employed at Community Action Youth Service

Hoo8Hoo hitting all the right notes

PERFECT HARMONY: Brothers Tim (left) and Sam Aitken, aka Hoo8Hoo, will be hitting the Gympie stage on Sunday afternoon for the Rush Festival concert.

Brothers Tim and Sam Aitken will be taking to the stage as Hoo8Hoo.

What's on in the community this weekend

NOW HEAR THIS: What's on around Gympie region this weekend.

Community Diary for October 22-23

5 fab things to do this weekend

TaxiridePhoto Contributed

This weekend is jam-packed with fun (and ofetn free) things to do.

Kerry Washington wants one more child

Kerry Washington recently gave birth to her second child

Kerry has only just become a new mum again

TRAVEL: Musicals light up Sydney

David Campbell performs in Dream Lover.

We take a trip through one of Sydney's finer scenes

Wine and dine your way around Brisbane this summer

Brisbane has the best places to wine and dine.

NINE of the best places to wine and dine.

In Flames are super 'proud' of new album

In Flames album to be released in November.  Photo Contributed

In Flames to release new album in November

Selma Blair blames flight outburst on 'psychotic blackout'

Selma Blair

"I am someone who should never drink, and I rarely do"

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge

SEQ is the 'greatest market': property guru John McGrath

SPEAKER: John McGrath of McGrath Estate Agents is today's guest speaker at the Better Business Breakfast.

SEQ is the "greatest" real estate market, says property guru.