Following up on a teaser video for the car, Mercedes-Benz has revealed the interior design and technologies that will feature on the 2015 C-Class luxury sedan. Most of the upgrades have trickled down from the recently updated E-Class and S-Class sedans, but several are newly introduced for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Although we have yet to officially see the outside of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class -- though our spy photographers have caught it -- Mercedes has now fully detailed the car's inside. The design is totally new and takes inspiration both from the more affordable CLA-Class sedan and the new Mercedes S-Class. The most dramatic change is the new one-piece center console, which gracefully flows up into the dashboard. Five chrome-ringed air vents adorn the dashboard, which has hand-stitched detailing on its top. The dashboard itself has gentler, more cohesive curves to its upper-most level. The three-spoke steering wheel, which packs 12 buttons, is leather-wrapped and similar to the one in other new Mercedes models.
Atop the dashboard is a new color screen for the Mercedes COMAND infotainment system that measures seven inches diagonal as standard, nearly as large as an Apple iPad Mini. If customers upgrade to COMAND Online, the screen grows to 9.7 inches diagonally. As before, a rotary controller on the center console allows the driver and passenger to operate COMAND. New for the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, however, is a puck-like touchpad that hovers just above the rotary knob. The 4.5-square-inch touchpad allows driver or passenger to control all of the COMAND system's functions, and even to write numbers or letters. Haptic feedback and voice readout of the entered characters means the driver can even keep his or her eyes on the road while using the feature. The built-in buttons are backlit so they can be used at night.
Speaking of keeping eyes on the road, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class adds the option of a color head-up display. It shows images that appear to "float" in the air about 6.5 feet ahead of the driver. A sensor in the windshield automatically adjusts the display's brightness so it is visible in any light condition.
Another new function uses information from the navigation map to detect when the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is approaching a tunnel and automatically switch the climate control to recirculate mode so that the cabin doesn't fill with exhaust fumes. As on the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the climate control also has an ionizer designed to filter out noxious scents and microbes, as well as a perfume ionizer called AIR-BALANCE that can emit one of four special fragrances.
Safety technology, too, mirrors the S-Class, with the latest version of Mercedes Intelligent Drive that includes two forward-facing cameras and a total of four radar sensors. The C-Class thus gains the Steering Assist feature that can keep it driving in the correct lane when the cruise control is activated, as well as a self-parking feature, and a system that pre-charges the brakes if cross-traffic at an intersection may cause an accident. The front passenger seat also recognizes car seats and automatically deactivates the airbag if one is installed there. Mercedes says this is preferable to having a manual switch for owners to disable the airbags as they often leave it disabled even when an adult rides in the passenger seat, which can be dangerous in a crash.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will overall shave 220 pounds from its curb weight, compared to the old car. The body alone is 154 pounds lighter than before. The key to that diet is more extensive use of high-strength steel and aluminum. Aluminum is used for the doors, hood, trunk, fenders, and roof -- it now makes up 48 percent of a C-Class, compared to just nine percent of the outgoing model. Mercedes says this weight loss is responsible for a 20-percent gain in fuel efficiency alone, before any engine or transmission upgrades.
Beneath that chassis, the all-aluminum suspension (a move which saves 4.4 pounds compared to the old C-Class suspension) can for the first time be fitted with the AIRMATIC air suspension. It automatically adjusts itself for the smoothest ride possible, but can also tighten the dampers for improved handling. Mercedes says that even if the suspension is set to Comfort mode, it will automatically sharpen to provide better handling if the driver makes an emergency maneuver.
We'll learn more about the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class later this year as the car's official debut approaches.