Infotainment and architecture, and how they interact
Mercedes-AMG has revealed its facelifted C63 S ahead of the New York motor show this week which, together with the rest of the C-Class line-up, includes a new-look grille, revised drivetrains, new electrical architecture and 25,000 new components.
First demonstrated at an event in Amsterdam this February, the new A-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz to get the shiny new multimedia system, which counts artificial intelligence and a huge widescreen layout among its key selling points.
This, according to Christian Fruh, program manager for the C-Class, is for good reason. Fruh says the car's electrical architecture is based on that of the E-Class and S-Class, not that of the new compact hatchback.
“When we do the next-generation C-Class, we will see the next-generation of our MBUX," Fruh told CarAdvice.
"But for now, the system in the facelifted C-Class has all the same functions, but it’s just that the interface is different."
In other words? You can’t say 'Hey Mercedes' to activate the system, but you can say “switch on passenger seat heating” after pressing the speech button on the steering wheel.
"On this latest C-Class we are using Comand NTG 5.5, whereas A-Class uses the newer NTG 6.0, but the next-gen system is NTG 7.0, and we’re designing the interface for that now, which in reality is an enhanced version of NTG 6.0 that’s in the A-Class," he continued.
“Our motivation to conduct such a major midlife update was that we wanted to incorporate the driver assistance capabilities of S and E-Class, which requires a significant change in the car’s electronic architecture, which we have done.
“The other big factor is the fact that we are also introducing new engines for C-Class. For instance, our new diesel engines reduce fuel consumption by up to 13 per cent, as well as harmful NOx particles by up to 80 per cent”.
In total, these represent a major refresh for all C-Class variants. Another Daimler source also mentioned the possibility of new bodystyles like an All-Terrain version, which is currently only available with E-Class, but being considered as an addition to the C-Class family.
Despite the ever-growing popularity of SUVs in the global luxury market, C-Class continues to be a huge seller for Mercedes-Benz. In Australia, it outsells the GLC, averaging around 650 units to the 500 managed by the GLC.
Interestingly, there isn't a lot of cross shopping between the various C-Class variants, according to David McCarthy, communications head for Mercedes-Benz Australia.
“Someone looking at a C-Class Sedan or Estate isn’t generally looking at an SUV. And that’s usually a very definite decision by the buyer. In fact, C-Class sales are very consistent overall, and while GLC sales are clearly growing, they haven’t really affected each other’s sales numbers.”