Interior: Friendly, high-quality, sporty

Jul 15, 2014
Unusual for a vehicle with a focus on a high level of functionality is the high-quality interior of the Estate, which was adopted from the Saloon. With straightforward sportiness, thrilling flowing lines and high-grade materials, it realises a modern, luxurious and at the same time sporty ambience.
Mercedes-Benz not only raises the character and perceived value of the interior to an absolutely new level for this category with the new C-Class Estate. Here carefully chosen, high-class materials with a pleasant touch and feel dominate as well as precisely crafted details. This gives rise to an exceptional quality feel – surprising particularly for a vehicle where the emphasis has actually been squarely on everyday versatility. Thus the driver and passengers also in the new Estate, just like in the Saloon, enjoy unobtrusive, modern luxury whose clear-cut style fits in with contemporary tastes.
The basis is the new Mercedes-Benz design idiom, which combines sensuousness and clarity perfectly with dynamic sportiness and picks up on the key basic exterior traits on the new C-Class Estate inside the vehicle. This applies, for instance, to the scintillating play of contrasts between the clearly sculpted lines and surfaces which grow organically from them. The hallmark contemporary Mercedes-Benz design idiom of the dropping line sloping to the rear is, for instance, picked up in the doors. At the same time, the style-defining interior meets the most discerning design expectations which are today characterised by devices such as high-end smartphones and tablets.
A sweeping centre console cast from a single mould
The interior styling consciously demonstrates the courage to embrace the new in many respects and skilfully combines the architecture of the Mercedes-Benz sports cars with a newly interpreted, sporty and flowing centre console design. As a DIRECT SELECT lever handles gear selection on vehicles with automatic transmissions, the centre console in a large, one-piece dashboard console panel sweeps elegantly from the centre air outlets to the equally new touchpad in the handrest above the Controller on the centre tunnel. These seamless, clear-cut lines create a sense of open space and convey a sense of simple, purist modernity.
The large solitary component is available in numerous material finishes – such as with wood surfaces, bordered by a chrome surround, or with an exclusive piano-lacquer look – and characterises the interior's unique ambience with its avant-garde yet sensuous character. The three-dimensional shape of the genuine fine wood veneers in the centre console conveys modernity and craftsmanship. The cover of the stowage compartment, for example, is cut from the veneer of the centre console with virtually no material waste to ensure the individual wood grain continues in the cover without a visual break – the surface of the centre console consists in fact of a single piece of fine wood veneer.
On vehicles with manual transmission, the centre console is slightly steeper and features two separate trim elements in order to create ample space for ergonomic operation of the shift lever.
The progressively styled centre console provides an extremely fluid transition to the dashboard and beyond into the doors. As a result, visually soft volumes envelop the passengers and equally convey a sense of security and sportiness.
A wing-like trim element separates the upper and lower section of the sportily designed, broad dashboard. Its design makes it seem to be floating in the air. Skilfully staged ambience lighting further emphasises this floating effect. The visual separation makes it furthermore possible to choose different material and colour combinations for an individual feel-good atmosphere.
Commands with finger-tip control
The new touchpad developed by Mercedes-Benz with its 65 x 45 millimetre control surface made out of scratch-resistant material is built into the handrest on the central control panel in the centre console. While other solutions with a touch-sensitive surface only support selected operating steps, the driver and front passenger can use the touchpad in the new C-Class Estate to control all the functions in the central infotainment control panel using the kind of single and multi-touch finger gestures familiar from smartphones and tablet PCs. Slow and fast gestures are possible. The touchpad also permits letters, numbers and special characters to be entered using handwriting – in any language supported by Audio 20 or COMAND Online. The user receives clear tactile feedback when operating the touchpad control surface. Characters entered using the handwriting function can also be read aloud by the system, thus supporting blind operation. The acoustic output also ensures that drivers do not need to take their eyes off the road, keeping distraction to an absolute minimum.
Users can input commands with their hand sitting firmly on the ergonomic handrest without any need for hovering fingers. A new handrest detection feature also increases operating safety and helps prevent incorrect inputs. To this end the system analyses a sensor signal in three dimensions, thus detecting whether the hand is simply being placed on the handrest or is actually inputting data. The icons on the control surface are illuminated in the dark to help the user locate the various functions.
Three touch-sensitive buttons are arranged behind the touchpad which can be used to operate key functions quickly and directly (back function, switch to favourites menu, audio quick menu).
The touchpad in the Estate thus offers an additional, fully fledged and innovative input option to complement the existing Controller and the LINGUATRONIC voice-operated control system. Users can choose at any time which input method they prefer.
Elevated sportiness and high-value appeal
A centrally positioned free-standing central display is the main eye-catching feature above the centre console – with a screen diagonal of 17.78 centimetres (7 inches), or 21.33 centimetres (8.4 inches) if COMAND Online is specified. Both versions ‘float’ in the best ergonomic position above the centre console and are connected to it elegantly with a slim horizontal trim piece. Thanks to its ergonomic positioning, the eye easily adapts to the central display. Its surface is completely protected by a glass cover for the first time and is bordered by a galvanised silver shadow frame. Visualisations and animations on the central display enhance the emotive appeal and quality feel, augment operating convenience and bring the driver assistance and communications systems functions to life.
Head-up display: info in focus
Just like the Saloon, the new C-Class Estate can also be fitted with a head-up display. As in a jet fighter, it projects important information directly into the driver's field of vision, ensuring that there is less distraction from the road ahead. The information is displayed in the windscreen using mirror optics in full colour with a resolution of 480 x 240 pixels. The system provides a virtual image measuring approximately 21 x 7 centimetres and keeps the driver abreast of vehicle speed, posted speed limits, navigation instructions and DISTRONIC messages.
A light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness of the head-up display to the exterior lighting conditions. The driver can adjust the height of the virtual image based on their personal needs, enable or disable a range of display content and individually adjust the brightness of the display.
Sporty, stylish touches
Five round air outlets lend the instrument panel a sporty touch. Three-dimensional trim elements emphasise their high-value appeal – as does the carefully crafted topstitching, for example on the upper section of the instrument panel, the door centre panels and the upper body edge at window level. The door lining has also been redesigned and is characterised by high-grade materials as well as a striking surface grain and eye-catching curves.
The driver sits behind a wheel that comes in different designs depending on the selected equipment line. While each variant features a 3-spoke leather steering wheel with twelve function keys, their distinct colours and materials boost the character of the respective equipment lines. The steering wheel for the new AMG Line has a flat bottom. This provides the interior with wide-ranging differentiation options, running the whole gamut from "tangible contemporary luxury" to "sensual purity".
All switches feature a three-dimensional design. High-gloss black, genuine metal and galvanised surfaces, as well as effect paintwork matching the interior appointments colours form a key element of the high-value appeal. Surfaces with uniform styling and a minimal number of switches provide a serene atmosphere and enhance operating safety. Another example of the attention to detail is provided by the loudspeaker covers. Their delicate structures are elaborately photo etched and bordered by a surround made from genuine stainless steel if the Burmester® surround system is fitted.
Attractive and sporty seats with seat cushion length adjustment
Even the standard-fit sporty front seats underscore the Estate's sporty character. They offer more comfort in the shoulder area and their special shape is a factor in the greater legroom for the rear passengers. Their height adjustment range increased by ten millimetres compared with the preceding model series. The head restraints can be moved fore and aft and their height can be adjusted by about 55 millimetres via four detents.
"Cobra-look" front seats with an organic, sporty design and integral head restraint are available for the three lines: AVANTGARDE, EXCLUSIVE and AMG Line. For the first time the front seats can also be ordered with a seat cushion whose length can be adjusted by 60 millimetres, which offers even more options of finding the perfect seating position.
A large selection of seat covers with a variety of materials (e.g. fabric, fabric/ARTICO, ARTICO, leather) and refined colour combinations help C-Class customers to configure their vehicles to best suit their individual preferences.
High-strength steels and intelligent lightweight construction are the technical hallmarks of the sturdy rear seats. Their newly designed seat cushions furthermore enhance the comfort for the rear-seat passengers who also enjoy considerably more legroom and kneeroom.
The backrest of the rear seat can be folded with a 40/20/40 split. A folding armrest is integrated in the middle. Compared with the predecessor it offers more stowage space and larger cup holders. The three height-adjustable head restraints also provide improved rearward visibility.
The following optional extras are available for the seats independent of the selected line:
  • Seat Comfort package with 4-way lumbar support, manual seat cushion length adjustment and electric seat cushion angle adjustment
  • Fully power-adjustable 12-way seat adjustment with Memory package
  • Three-stage seat heating with automatic intensity reduction/deactivation for seat cushion and backrest
  • Climatised seats with seat ventilation and reversible airflow, as well as seat occupancy and automatic child seat recognition in the front passenger seat
The automatic child seat recognition system omits the previous transponder and uses a weight mat instead. This enables any child seat to be used. The airbag is automatically deactivated in this case and reactivated once the child seat has been removed.
Interior lighting with LED technology
The interior lighting primarily uses durable, energy-saving LED technology. This also applies to the optionally available ambience lighting in the three colours solar (amber), polar (ice blue) and neutral (white), which are selected via a menu item on the head unit and can be set to five brightness levels.
The allergy label confirms high air quality
It is not just the high-quality materials, harmonious shapes and functional equipment that characterise the atmosphere in the Estate interior. The interior is also allergy-friendly – as demonstrated by the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF) seal of quality, which was awarded to the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class Saloon and Estate. ECARF uses it to approve products whose suitability for allergy sufferers it has scientifically verified.
As part of their tests, the independent researchers took into account that the pollen count in spring is not the only problem to afflict motorists who suffer from allergies: emissions given off by the materials used in the interior or when contact surfaces are touched can also lead to a strong reaction, with symptoms such as swelling and inflammation of the nasal passage, hay fever or asthma.
Hence vehicles have to meet extensive requirements before the ECARF awards them the seal of quality for an allergy-friendly interior. To certify the vehicle experts test all equipment lines of a vehicle in numerous tests for inhaled allergens. They also conduct dermatological tests on all materials that might come in contact with the skin as well as testing the function of the pollen filter in both new and used condition. The air conditioning filters must also meet the strict criteria applicable to the ECARF seal of quality.
And then there are tests with human "guinea pigs". Driving tests, for example, were also conducted in the C-Class Estate with people suffering from severe asthma, with lung function tests providing information about the impact on the bronchial system.
Mercedes-Benz is the only vehicle manufacturer whose passenger cars bear the ECARF seal of quality. Apart from the C-Class Saloon and Estate, numerous other Mercedes-Benz model series from the A-Class to the S-Class meet the criteria for the allergy label. To ensure an allergy-friendly interior, Mercedes-Benz has been comprehensively testing for inhaled and contact allergens and has been testing the interior emissions of all its model series for 22 years now. A team of olfactory experts also works to ensure that odours in Mercedes-Benz vehicles remain at a consistently pleasant level.
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