The interior and fresh details have been revealed for the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class that will arrive here in the second half of next year, following its global debut at the Detroit motor show in January.
Taking the fight to the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, Mercedes says the all-new car will be better specced, up to 100kg lighter and have 20 per cent better fuel-economy -- but without any sacrifice of power. The weight savings largely come from extensive use of aluminium body panels which has risen from nine per cent in the current model to 48 per cent in the new one, which partly counters the extra features and technology it gains.
The upgraded interior styling borrows from Merc's flagship S-Class and the CLA-Class, with saddle-stitched upholstery and a raft of high-tech goodies led by a heads-up display that projects satnav, speed, adaptive cruise control status, speed limits and other information.
There's a 7-inch (17.8cm) COMAND infotainment screen that can be optioned up to 8.4-inch 21.3cm), with a new 6.5x4.5cm haptic touchpad control.
Innovative GPS-linked air conditioning can detect when it automatically needs to switch to recirculation -- to avoid ingesting, say, a tunnel's cloud of fumes -- and offers improved air filtering, ionisation and 'fragrancing'.
Safety features include a front passenger airbag that disengages if sensors detect a child seat has been positioned there, plus an array of braking, parking, lighting, inattention and other warning and assistance systems including one that can read some traffic signs.
Leading the options list is the electronically controlled Airmatic suspension system that lets you choose between four different firmness settings from cushy to extra-sporty -- or dial in your own combinations -- and automatically lowers the body at higher speeds to improve aerodynamics and economy.