10-26-2013, 02:57 AM #1Member
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Sampling the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-class’s Hugely Upgraded Interior & Tech
October 25, 2013 at 6:48 pm by Alexander Stoklosa | Photography by Manufacturer
We recently brought you news of Mercedes-Benz’s redesigned-for-2015 C-class sedan’s all-new interior and host of new technologies, but since then, we actually had the opportunity to get our butts in the new car’s seats. Now, before you get too excited, no, we didn’t drive the 2015 C-class. Instead, we were given access to a trio of C-class sedans to poke, prod, and fiddle with while parked in a dark room. This probing session also included an up-close look at Mercedes-Benz’s latest COMAND infotainment system, which comes with a super-slick touchpad controller. Thanks to the CLA-class, the C no longer is Benz’s entry-level offering in the U.S.—but also thanks to the CLA, its already-good innards got a shot in the arm. Here are our key takeaways:
It’s Capital S(-class) Stylish
Brands often harp on about the trickle-down effect their pricey flagships have on less-expensive models, but rarely does this sort of transfer happen within a single model generation. In the case of the 2015 C-class, its interior comes very close to matching that of Benz’s latest top-flight S-class. Visually, the interior is full of drama and style, with a large trim piece—available in piano-black plastic, classic burled walnut, modern thin-line wood, or a sporty and upscale-feeling matte-black-colored open-pore wood—dominating the center stack and a good portion of the doors. The window and seat controls, as well as the headlight switch, are borrowed directly from the S-class—and they feel like it. Another S-class connection comes by way of the COMAND knob; for the first time, the C-class’s knob is the same size as the S-class’s. Benz designers felt its substantial feel was worth neutering the S-class of its knob-size bragging rights.
It all adds up to an interior that, compared to the BMW 3-series‘, feels better built and nicer; and placed against the minimalist Audi A4’s squishy insides, it carries far more style. Literally the only disappointment was the center-console door covering the cup holders; it’s laser-cut from the surrounding trim during production to ensure grain-matched visual perfection, but Benz leaves the sharp edge uncovered and doesn’t add much meat to the door itself, lending it an insubstantial and unfinished feel. Run your hands over the many other surfaces, however, which include thin splashes of chrome, aluminum, expansive soft-touch plastic, and the leather door uppers and dash top, and your fingers won’t be disappointed.
It Has Something the S-class Doesn’t, And You Should Touch It
In Mercedes-Benz’s world, the company’s latest and greatest technology tends to make like gravity and fall from the S-class to its smaller and less-expensive models. In this instance, however, Benz’s latest COMAND infotainment system will debut on the C, and it gets a standard touch-sensitive control pad that augments the traditional knob. Presently, the touchpad isn’t even available on the S-class, although it will seep into that car and other Benz models over time. We diddled around with the touchpad, which is located on the artfully designed aluminum palm rest above the COMAND knob on the center console, and found it to be a slick and elegant interface. It largely works by way of simple axial north/south, east/west finger swipes, and since the surface doubles as the palm rest for the knob, it is programmed to not respond if it senses your hand instead of a finger.
The familiar COMAND screen arrangement stays, with a ribbon menu across the top of the dashboard screen (with tabs for navigation, audio, phone, and the like) and a secondary ribbon menu across the bottom of the screen (specific to each of the menu tabs listed above). Both of these ribbons are accessible by pressing on the upper or lower half of the COMAND knob; but with the touchpad, they now can be called up via single-finger “up” or “down” swipes. Once the screen’s cursor highlights the selected menu ribbon, swiping left or right moves the cursor to different tabs (if using the knob, the user twists it left or right). To make a selection, the user clicks the touchpad once. Regardless of which menu is on-screen, swiping up with two fingers from the bottom of the pad calls up an audio sub-menu, so that you can change songs or radio stations without leaving the menu you’re in. It’s especially useful for, say, those times you want to adjust your tunes while running the navigation system without your map disappearing.
While we previously had no problems with the COMAND knob, the finger-touch control feels quicker and more natural, especially for those who came of age in the smartphone generation. Benz even built in several neat tricks, like a “pinch/pull” zoom function for the navigation map and two-finger “twists” for raising or lowering climate-control temperature settings in the climate menu or altering the audio system’s equalizer settings. Once you’re familiar with COMAND’s menu structure, it’s easy to quickly acclimate to the touchpad; luddites can still use the COMAND knob, while the hand-control-averse can use Mercedes’ Linguatronic voice-command protocol.
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Screens on Screens on Screens
That central display screen might look like “an iPad glued to the dash,” as we’ve previously described it, but at least it comes close to matching the sharpness of Apple’s Retina display. Benz screens have proliferated throughout its offerings, but they generally aren’t very crisp. The 2015 C-class’s available 8.4-inch screen, on the other hand, is relatively high resolution and augments the techy-feeling touchpad perfectly. But the sensation of precision permeates even the full-color gauge-cluster screen and the newly available head-up display. The HUD, especially, is far richer and sharper than the 3-series’, and the full-color projected image appears high up and well in the driver’s field of vision. We didn’t get the opportunity to sample the new driver-assistance tech since, well, we haven’t actually driven the C-class yet, but while we’re sure that stuff will be fascinating, it bears repeating that we want to see how the C-class actually drives even more.
As for what we did experience, we can say the C-class’s interior is much improved over the outgoing car’s rectilinear, more-traditional environs. Brand die-hards might not take much of a shine to it, but we think it looks phenomenal and luxurious. The best part? We hear Mercedes-Benz is trying to hold the 2015 C-class’s base price to 2014 levels while mixing in more standard equipment, meaning buyers’ dollars will get them more than just additional style.
10-29-2013, 10:39 AM #2
It's absolutely beautiful. Mercedes is really impressing with this car.Chrome Space Bar Issue: http://www.boostaddict.com/showthrea...338#post738338
02-09-2014, 09:25 PM #3Member
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Nicest interior on a cheap Benz that I have seen since a long time.
Just hope that I won't have the same "tight" feeling as in the CLA.
02-09-2014, 11:03 PM #4Member
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- jersey, ugh
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02-10-2014, 04:49 PM #5Chrome Space Bar Issue: http://www.boostaddict.com/showthrea...338#post738338