Telematics: A feast for the senses

Jul 15, 2014
Like the Saloon, the new C-Class Estate offers a completely new multimedia generation with intuitive operation, featuring animations and visual effects which present all the functions in a clear and highly attractive manner. The Estate is furthermore also equipped as standard with the unique Frontbass system.
The principle of the Frontbass system, which was honoured with the DAIMLER Research and Innovation Award, sounds simple: instead of installing bass loudspeakers as usual in the doors, one (two with Burmester® surround sound system) is installed in the footwell of the new C-Class in front of the driver and front passenger. This was not possible with earlier bodyshell structures. However, the intelligent C-Class bodyshell concept with a high aluminium content provides the necessary installation space in the front longitudinal and cross members. The loudspeaker(s) is/are installed on the left and right in the footwell in an opening in the bulkhead. The cavities behind the members serve as resonance chambers. Because these structures are inherently very rigid, the bass notes reproduced here are always very precise and have little distortion, even in the case of very high signal levels. To put it in other words: clear, crisp bass with high dynamic range comes as standard in the new Estate.
The position of these independent closed woofers in the footwell creates ideal acoustic conditions. The firewall, the vehicle floor and the underside of the dashboard form a sort of funnel that focuses and concentrates the sound – better performance is the result. Acoustic efficiency also improves significantly. The formula 'low energy, lots of volume' saves energy to boot. In this way, the Frontbass system also contributes towards a CO2 reduction.
Precise, brilliant sound
With the new Frontbass system Mercedes-Benz not only revolutionised bass reproduction in cars, but also created the prerequisites for an outstanding overall listening experience. As no woofers now need to be accommodated in the doors, the irritating vibrations that are typical of such configurations are eliminated. The mid-range speakers and tweeters move closer to the vehicle's beltline and thus almost to the passengers' ear level. As a result, they produce a precise, brilliant sound.
Without conventional woofers in the doors there is additional door stowage space. It also makes it easier for people to get into the vehicle.
Listening pleasure guaranteed
Three infotainment systems are available for the Estate:
  • Audio 20 USB
  • Audio 20 CD
  • COMAND Online
All come with a flat screen positioned above the centre console:
  • The 17.78 cm (7-inch) TFT colour display of the Audio 20 and the Audio 20 CD has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. The 7-inch display is bordered by a high-gloss black front frame.
  • COMAND Online offers a larger 21.3 cm (8.4-inch) display with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels and a special bonded glass cover such as is familiar from consumer devices like the iPhone® or iPad. Both displays use IPS technology (in-plane switching) and have LED backlighting. Consequently they achieve high brightness values of about 500 cd/m² and contrasts of about 800:1 and higher. A light sensor adjusts the brightness to the ambient light. The driver also has the option of adjusting the brightness of the display manually to suit individual preferences.
Internet and diverse data sources already available in the basic version
All three variants of the infotainment system are capable of connecting to the internet with a Bluetooth®-enabled mobile phone with mobile telephony card and data option. This enables the internet to be surfed without restrictions when the vehicle is stationary. Mercedes-Benz Apps such as Weather, GoogleTM Local Search with StreetView and Panoramio, destination/route download and Facebook can be used while on the move in conjunction with COMAND Online.
Audio and video playback is possible from various sources with all three variants. For example, via Bluetooth®, from an Apple iPod® or iPhone®, from an SD card, USB stick or CD/DVD (with Audio 20 CD or higher and with COMAND Online). COMAND Online offers integral hotspot functionality to boot. It allows passengers on all seats to connect different WLAN-capable devices such as laptop or tablet computers to the internet.
Control via the new touchpad
Audio 20 is operated with the familiar Controller on the centre console. Audio 20 CD and COMAND Online can be operated in addition with finger gestures using the new touchpad. As a third operating option COMAND Online also offers the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system for audio, telephone, navigation and music search.
Audio 20 and Audio 20 CD
The new C-Class comes with the Audio 20 system as standard. Its comprehensive features include an RDS/triple tuner with traffic information decoder (TP/TA), two USB ports in the centre armrest for external audio and video devices working with MP3, WMA, AAC and WAV file formats.
The Audio 20 CD can be operated with the touchpad and is furthermore equipped with a CD drive (MP3/WMA/AAC/WAV-capable) and – in conjunction with the Garmin® MAP PILOT or the pre-installation for the Garmin® MAP PILOT navigation system – with an SD card slot. Digital radio for the DAB, DMB and DAB+ standards is optionally available.
COMAND Online
The top-of-the-line COMAND Online is additionally equipped with a Bluetooth® interface that supports the use of text message and email write and read functions as well as audio streaming for music playback. A CD/DVD drive, a slot for SDHC memory cards and 10 GB of storage (Media Register) for compressed audio and video files (mp3, wma, aac, mpeg, avi up to 720p) are likewise integrated. Cover Flow display, song tagging and the "play more like this" function are also included.
COMAND Online also offers the option of playing videos from DVDs and has a picture viewer for photos from SD cards or USB mass storage devices. Optionally Mercedes-Benz equips the COMAND Online system with a six-disc DVD changer and TV receiver for digital TV reception with support for multichannel sound, EPG (electronic programme guide) and video text.
Sound system – concert hall sound
Audiophiles can have their Estate delivered equipped with the high-end Burmester® surround sound system. It brings a concert hall atmosphere to the Estate. The Burmester® surround sound system drives 14 loudspeakers (standard specification 10) with a 9-channel DSP amplifier and a total system output of 640 watts (standard specification 100 watts). All loudspeakers are additionally optimised for performance with the premium sound system.
Modern-style navigation
The Audio 20 CD can optionally be supplemented with the user-friendly Garmin® MAP PILOT navigation system. Its merits include accurate map data and excellent route guidance. The navigation software and map data are stored on an SD card, which is simply inserted in the dedicated slot of the Audio 20 CD.
The large screen above the centre console displays the maps in high resolution and in colour with the Garmin® look and feel. Additional navigation instructions are displayed in the instrument cluster. 3D views with exact representation of streets and buildings and photo-realistic junction and lane assistants make orientation easier.
Intuitive operation is provided by the Controller or the touchpad. The character recognition feature of the touchpad allows text input. The navigation system can also be operated by voice control. Software and maps can be updated easily via the internet.
Hard-disc navigation and more with COMAND Online
COMAND Online with its own fast 3D hard-disc navigation, topographical map display, photo-realistic 3D buildings and 3D map rotations as well as display of NASA satellite images provides a decidedly sensuous experience. The system presents its contents interactively and its features include an animated compass, a "Drive Show" with information for passengers similar to the on-screen presentations on board airliners and Google Maps displayed on the head unit. The navigation system is now also able to provide more accurate real-time information about the situation on the roads when COMAND Online receives its traffic data via the internet by means of the Live Traffic Information service. Unlike the previous data sources TMC and TMCpro, whose data is received by radio, Live Traffic Information uses a fast internet connection and is therefore always up to date.
The scope of functions also includes lane recommendations, following predefined routes and the calculation of four alternative routes.
Telephony via Bluetooth® as standard
The standard-fit Audio 20 USB system as well as Audio 20 CD and COMAND Online all offer basic telephony as standard, which links up a mobile phone to the vehicle via a standardised Bluetooth® interface. The optional Convenience Telephony is available as pre-installation of a universal telephone interface which allows the mobile phone to be connected to a phone cradle in the centre console. A suitable phone cradle for various mobile phone models is obtainable from Mercedes-Benz Accessories.
Digital Owner's Manual with intuitive search function
Voluminous owner's manuals are required to cover the ever increasing scope of vehicle electronics in particular. To make these manuals easier to use, Mercedes-Benz equips the new C-Class Estate in conjunction with COMAND Online for the first time with a Digital Owner's Manual – complemented by a printed version for the most important problem solutions such as in the case of a breakdown.
The benefits of the Digital Owner's Manual: it uses the browser of COMAND Online and is thus always close at hand for the driver. A text search function or a virtual representation of the vehicle help find required information quickly and easily. Let's not forget: instead of 450 or more pages, now only about 100 printed pages have to be enclosed. This saves about half a kilogram in weight.
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