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Upmarket: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Interior Wows

It won't officially debut for months, but we get to poke around inside the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

By Matthew Askari | November 05, 2013
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class won't be officially unveiled until early next year, but Mercedes allowed us an intimate preview of its next-gen bread and butter model. While the current C-Class is a solid entry-level luxury offering, the 2015 C-Class will feature modern, breathtaking interior design paired with advanced technologies often found on far pricier models. The 2015 C-Class has been years in the making, and Mercedes-Benz's Como, Italy, design studio won the right to advance its vision for the next-gen C, beating out the automaker's other global design studios. The Mercedes design team was anxiously talking about emotion, sensuality, and purity, all of which has lead to its newest "sensual purity" themed interior. That translates to a modern, swooping center console, plush materials in an airy, fresh cabin, and several standard features. In the U.S., all C-Class drivers will have push-button start, a standard seven-inch media screen, with an option to upgrade to an 8.4-inch model. New graphics and colors help the "free-floating" screen -- situated above the center console -- add to the modern, fresh feel inside the cabin. There are six new center console options -- ive new woods and one new plastic treatmen t-- and three of the new wood applications will cross the Atlantic, and make it in to U.S. showrooms. Hartmut Sinkwitz, head of interior design for Mercedes, told a group of us media assembled in Sindelfingen, Germany, that Mercedes drew heavily on the automaker's previous concept models. I asked Sinkwitz if Mercedes looked to the A4 and other Audi models, noted for their interiors when designing the 2015 C-Class. "The biggest inspiration came from our own concepts, but of course we look to see what the others are doing, including Audi." He also stated that he didn't want to influence the design studios in the early stages, so that the designers could feel free to come up with truly new ideas. We got to look and sit inside three prototypes to get a great idea of what's coming. Impressively, the soft touch dash materials also make their way on to the doors, and even hidden areas such as where the driver's knees will brush against. An attractive heads-up display can be turned on or off with the push of a button located to the left of the steering wheel. Mercedes also gave the C-Class an S-Class-like button treatment. A head interior designer from Mercedes-Benz's Como studio said "there's a need for direct access, some customers don't want to have to enter a menu to get to the function." Even the beautiful, metallic-finish circular air vents each have their own buttons. Rotary dials in the center of each air vent allow you to control the air flow to the exact amount desired. A neat attention to detail that helps the next-gen C-Class stand out.

New Touchpad

Expanding on this idea, Mercedes will outfit every 2015 C-Class with a touchpad, in addition to the traditional scroll wheel. The two will have fully redundant functionality, and give the use the option between the wheel and the touchpad. Smartphone and tablet motions such as tapping, pinching, and swiping directly transfer. I got to fiddle with the touchpad, which makes toggling between music, navigation, and phone contacts easy. Most impressive, is the intuitive ability to recognize writing. In the navigation menu, I wanted to get directions to "Berlin," a few hours to the north by car. Using my index finger, I haphazardly scribbled a "b" and something resembling an "e" and immediately several options popped up, with "Berlin," being the logical, highlighted one. Impressive. And I did this with unique symbols, odd characters, and the system was always able to decipher the correct symbol, or offer it as a secondary suggestion.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class offers an alluring vision of interior luxury, one that will raise a few competing German eyebrows, we're sure. We expect the automaker to officially debut the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. We'll be looking out for further details, before we get behind the wheel sometime early next year.

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