This is the cabin of the new Mercedes C-class, which will go on sale in spring 2014. It’s aiming to out-drive and out-sell the BMW 3-series, new Audi A4, and Jaguar’s upcoming ‘XS’ sports saloon.
Lots of design cues have been taken from the flagship S-class to create the simplified new C-class cabin, but there are still an awful lot of new features. They’re all bolted into a C-class that’s 100kg lighter than the outgoing model, and will boast, Mercedes claims, the lowest fuel consumption in its class.
2014 Mercedes C-class interior: what’s new?
Gone, with good riddance, is the button-peppered dashboard of the current C-class, with its dated plastic phone keypad and function buttons. Instead, there’s one line of climate control switches (pinched from the S-class) and simplified function toggles lower down the sweeping centre stack. Mercedes reckons the overall effect makes stepping from the old C-class into the new one feel like an upgrade from an economy airline seat to business class. Perhaps the voice control stewardess is more polite too?
So, how do I control the iPad-lookalike Mercedes has nailed to the dashboard?
Master of the 7in (or 8.4in if internet is specified) central screen is a new take on the ‘Comand’ control system. The clickable rotary control remains, joined by a touch-sensitive wrist-rest which features haptic feedback and handwriting recognition. Via this central ‘hub’ of control, the front-seat occupants can cycle through menus, set navigation routes, or choose entertainment media. The touchpad can apparently distinguish between a hand deliberately inputting commands and if the driver is simply using it as an armrest, avoiding unwanted data entry.
Essentially, Mercedes has attempted to make the new C-class as intuitive to use as a touchscreen smartphone, hence the swipe, tap and scribble controls.
What other interesting tech is featured inside the new Mercedes C-class?
A head-up display is on the available for the first time in a C-class. It shows the car’s current speed, the relevant speed limit, navigation commands and driver assistance systems status in full colour, collected into a ‘floating’ cluster of information positioned a virtual two metres ahead of the driver, just above the bonnet. In conjunction with the C-class’s voice control and lesser-buttoned approach, it’s aimed at minimising the time a driver spends with his or her eyes averted from the road.
Though steel suspension springs are standard-fit, air suspension will be an option for the new Mercedes C-class, complete with continually variable damping. Revised front suspension geometry is also supposed to have made a vast improvement to the car’s ride comfort and handling, says Mercedes.
The front passenger seat can now detect if a child seat is placed upon it, and will tell the car’s on-board computer to automatically disable the front passenger airbag. When the child seat is removed, the airbag comes back online autonomously.
One more thing: like the S-class, the new C-class will be available with a themed scenting gadget, which Mercedes calls its ‘Air Balance’ package. Talk about company fleet car envy…
>> Will best-smelling equate to best-selling for the new Mercedes C-class? Add your opinion by clicking ‘Add your comment’ below