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Mercedes C-class (2014) interior images and technology revealed

Tue, 22 Oct 2013

By Ollie Kew

First Official Pictures

22 October 2013 18:00

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.

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?

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.

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…

By Ollie Kew