2014 MERCEDES-BENZ C-CLASS
The three-pointed star has been busy this week, also releasing a teaser video and photos of the overhauled interior which is the focus of the all-new model.
A new lightweight body and suspension improvements are also on the cards. So what else can we expect when the C-Class arrives in showrooms next year?
A tablet-style touchpad is the big news, protruding from the top of the dashboard and operating like a smartphone with hand and finger gestures.
Another key new feature is a location-aware air-conditioning system. The system uses satellite navigation to determine when the vehicle enters a tunnel, and automatically switches from fresh to recirculated air.
Mercedes calls it the “Air Balance” package, and it’s a valuable trickle-down feature from the bigger and more upmarket S-Class. It also features fragrance control and ionisation.
In addition to the touchpad is a head-up display, similar in execution to the technology now appearing with other brands, including BMW.
Mercedes says the display projects important information such as current speed, speed limits and navigation instructions in the driver’s field of view “like in a jet fighter”.
Benz also says the information appears to float over the bonnet, around two metres in front of the driver; and it’s fully adjustable.
The new C-Class will also be safer, with a new sensor which deactivates the front passenger airbag when a child seat is installed. Removing the child seat reactivates the system.
Some of the driver-assist features from the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive system will also make their way down the line from the new S-Class.
Mercedes-Benz claims the new C-Class has the lightest body shell in the segment, with added rigidity over the outgoing model.
The new body is a ‘hybrid’ construction, using a combination of aluminium and high-strength steel which makes the body 70kg lighter than the conventional steel body of the current C-Class, while contributing to an overall weight reduction of 100kg.
Mercedes says this will dramatically improve fuel consumption, but those claims are yet to be tested. The German carmaker also says that its new body shell construction aids in improving occupant safety.
Underneath, the 2014 C-Class scores a new four-link front axle. Benz claims this makes the new model light-footed and agile while maintaining ride comfort.
The new C-Class is also the first in its segment to be able to accommodate Mercedes’ Airmatic air suspension. The optional system is electronically controlled and features continuous variable damping.
The all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is expected to makes its international debut at January's Detroit Auto Show before arriving in local showrooms later in the year.