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buying Mercedes Is Marketing Screen Size over Performance in the New C-Class

16:43  24 february  2021
16:43  24 february  2021 Source:   autoweek.com

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a close up of a car: They’re impressive screens, with many features direct from the S-Class, but still. © Mercedes-Benz AG - Global Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans They’re impressive screens, with many features direct from the S-Class, but still.
  • New Mercedes-Benz C-Class arrives in 2022; pricing is not yet announced.
  • It’ll be loaded with safety, infotainment, and driver assistance tech, much of it borrowed straight from the S-Class.
  • Mercedes says the turbo 2.0-liter four, with 255 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, will launch the C from 0-60 in 5.9 seconds and to a top speed of 130 mph.

Nowadays car buyers are more concerned with connectivity, the kind where your smart phone connects with your car in new and fascinating ways. Contact patches and slip angles just don’t fit into the equation.

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And so it goes. The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class was revealed today, and Mercedes spent almost the whole time talking about how great the MBUX was and how many interior electronic features it has directly from the big, expensive S-Class.

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The thing that sells cars nowadays—the few remaining cars even offered in a sea of crossover utility vehicles, that is—is screen size. That TFT touchscreen on the dash that allows you to access a deluge of features is what customers look at when choosing a car. The coming Byton electric SUV has the record, with a screen that sits four feet across, from A-pillar to A-pillar. It’s like a fish tank on the dashboard. Tesla has that 17-incher that is wowing all the techies. And now, here comes Mercedes-Benz with respectably grosse 11.9- and 12.3-inch screens on the new C-Class that’re connected right up to many of the features you could previously only get on the mighty, mighty S-Class.

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In fact, the C-Class backgrounder started out not with engine specs or tire size but with a bunch of connectivity and screen facts:

  • All-new, best-in-class 11.9” central Touchscreen multimedia display adopted from the S-Class, its portrait orientation particularly advantageous for full-screen navigation, further enhancing the driver experience
  • A freestanding 12.3” digital instrument panel and central display tilted six degrees toward the driver
  • Driver display and media display screens that can be individualized in three styles (Sporty, Classic, Understated) and three modes (Navigation, Assistance, Service)
  • New-generation Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system with advanced Voice Control (“Hey Mercedes”) and 50% more processing power compared to the previous system, and available MBUX Augmented Video for Navigation
  • Next level of Intelligent Drive and available driver assistance systems to reduce workload in day-to-day situations for more comfortable and safe driving
  • Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC can automatically maintain a preset distance from vehicles ahead. One new feature is the response to stationary vehicles on the road at speeds up to approximately 62 mph (previously 37 mph)
  • Active Steering Assist helps the driver to stay in lane at speeds up to 130 mph. New features include additional lane recognition with the 360° camera, significantly improved availability and performance in bends on country roads and improved lane centering on highways

Then they finally started talking about all the other stuff. The C-Class will come in two basic powertrain configurations: C300 Sedan and C300 4MATIC Sedan, drawing power from a 2.0-liter inline-four engine. Just those two, at least at launch, which will be early next year. The Europeans, as usual, get the wagons, the diesels, the plug-in hybrids, the All-Terrain, and even something as seemingly simple and basic as rear-wheel steering, none of which we get here.

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The U.S. C-Classes do get (here we go!) the first application of the integrated starter-generator (ISG) that essentially makes it a hybrid. ISG uses a 48-volt onboard electrical system that can add up to 20 more horsepower and 148 more lb-ft of torque. That gives the new C-Class 255 peak hp at 5,800 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque from 2,000 to 3,200 rpm. That’ll launch the C from 0-60 in 5.9 seconds and to a top speed of 130 mph.

The new engine is mated to Mercedes’ 9G-TRONIC transmission specially developed to work with the ISG.

All that sits in a new“cab-rearward” chassis that is longer, wider and with a longer wheelbase and wider track.

Inside, the design“represents the latest interpretation of modern luxury,” with highlights from the S-Class like new-generation MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system, better voice control and MBUX Augmented Video for Navigation. It’s not clear if the new C will get the cool head-up display from the S, but it will get some kind of HUD as an option, along with just about every safety acronym you can think of, as well as PARKTRONIC parking assist and enhanced ambient lighting.

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Driver Assistance Systems include: adaptive cruise control, with route-based speed adaption and stop and go assist, active steering assist with active emergency stop assist and lane change assist, active brake assist with cross-traffic function, active blind spot assist, active lane keeping assist, integrated toll pass, and a dash cam. And that’s probably not everything.

Because, you see, that’s what buyers want nowadays.

We should be able to drive one of these by the end of the year to tell you what that’s like, but for now, it looks like you’re getting a lot of S-Class for a lot less money. How much less we don’t know yet, but pricing on the current C-Class ranges from $41,600 to $43,600, minus destination and all that. Loaded with all the tech it will have, the new C-Class will almost certainly represent a techno-bargain when it comes out in 2022.

Scroll through the galleries and let us know what you think of the new C-Class—and if screen size is one of your main criteria when shopping for a new car.

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