Mercedes-Benz said it will no longer use an ad for its new E-Class car that touts the company's semi-autonomous driving system by using words such as “a vehicle that can drive itself” and showing the driver taking his hands off the wheel, leaving the impression that the car is fully autonomous.

The automaker's decision follows a request from Consumer Reports and other auto safety groups Wednesday for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the ad. In a letter [PDF], the groups said the ad was "likely to mislead a reasonable consumer by representing the E-Class as self-driving when it is not," and could give consumers "a false sense of security in the ability of the car to operate autonomously."

"We are relieved that Mercedes-Benz is doing the right thing for consumers by pulling these ads," said William Wallace, policy analyst for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports. "Consumers deserve clear communication about what new technologies in vehicles can and cannot do. All auto companies should be sure that their marketing choices don't run the risk of making consumers think a car or safety feature is more capable than it is."

The ad began airing in the late winter, but stood out amid the intensifying national debate over self-driving features after a Tesla Model S with Autopilot enabled drove under a trailer in May, killing the driver.

It appeared that two videos showing drivers taking their hands off the wheel of the new E-Class, which features a system called Drive Pilot that helps steer the car, were removed from public view on the Mercedes channel on YouTube Thursday. In one, the narrator says, “What it means to be self-driven,” and the driver removes his hands from the wheel. In another, the narrator says, “Is the world truly ready for a vehicle that can drive itself? Ready or not, the future is here. Introducing the 2017 E Class from Mercedes-Benz, a concept car that’s already a reality.” Again, the driver takes his hands off the wheel.

Mercedes spokeswoman Donna Boland said in an email that “given the claim that consumers could confuse the autonomous driving capability of the F015 concept car with the driver assistance systems of our new E-Class in our ad ‘The Future,’ we have decided to take this one ad out of the E-Class campaign rotation.”

It was unclear whether Mercedes considered both videos, which had different content, part of “The Future” campaign. Boland did not respond to a follow-up email on that question. Only one featured the concept car.

Mercedes also had print ads showing only the E-Class and calling it a self-driving car. Boland said the print ads had “changed over the past few weeks,” but did not elaborate.

Consumer Reports experts evaluated Drive Pilot on a Mercedes E-Class at our test track in Connecticut, and found the technology to be an effective driving aid when used properly. The system modulates speed, keeps the car in its lane, and even changes lanes automatically. Consumer Reports testing also found that it does allow drives to take their hands off the wheel for as long as 45 seconds despite Mercedes saying in an email earlier this week that drivers had to keep their hands on the wheel. Consumer Reports believes drivers should be required to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.