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Mercedes’ new £38k C-Class launched with ‘Smart Home’ technology

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If you’ve ever wanted to check on who’s in your house, turn up the central heating, prepare the TV, turn on a smart oven or toaster, switch on the lights or shut the blinds – all from the comfort of your car when you’re still on the move, Mercedes-Benz has now got the answer.

Its brand new Alexa-style ‘Smart Home’ technology is at the heart of the new-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon and estate – the ‘bread and butter Benz’ for the aspiring middle classes – which is launched today in a global online world premiere.

The new C-Class priced from £38,000 is so packed with technology and upmarket features that it is already being hailed as the ‘baby S-Class’ – yet costs half the price of the German car-giant’s flagship limousine. 

It shares this system with the range-topping S-Class and can be updated via the internet over the air, meaning middle-class owners of more modest cars have the sort of tech which is usually only the privilege of the wealthy, captains of industry, and rulers of nations. 

The new 'bread and butter Benz': Mercedes has taken the covers off the new-for-2021 C-Class saloon (pictured) and estate models that will go on sale later this year, priced from £38,000

The new ‘bread and butter Benz’: Mercedes has taken the covers off the new-for-2021 C-Class saloon (pictured) and estate models that will go on sale later this year, priced from £38,000

Consumer electronic giants Bosch and Samsung are the first to adapt their equipment so it can be controlled remotely by the Mercs, with other firms set to follow.

The new C-Class’s ‘Smart Home’ function allows the driver or passenger to check remotely on their home and even run appliances from their car-seat using Alexa-style voice commands. It is part of the wider hi-tech Mercedes-Benz User Experience or ‘MBUX’ digital assistant system fitted to its cars.

It allows occupants to make Alexa-style instructions via the command ‘Hey, Mercedes’, which the car then carries out. Mercedes-Benz said: ‘The C-Class now becomes a mobile control centre for the home of many people. 

‘Thanks to the Smart Home function, domestic equipment and household appliances can be networked with the vehicle and controlled remotely.’

The new C-Class has been hailed the baby S-Class, given that it shares heaps of technology you'd usually find on the flagship Mercedes that costs twice as much money to buy

The new C-Class has been hailed the baby S-Class, given that it shares heaps of technology you’d usually find on the flagship Mercedes that costs twice as much money to buy

The new C-Class is more than just a car - it can become part of your home smart hub and control devices at your house when you're on the move

The new C-Class is more than just a car – it can become part of your home smart hub and control devices at your house when you’re on the move

The new C-Class¿s ¿Smart Home¿ function allows the driver or passenger to check remotely on their home and even run appliances from their car-seat using Alexa-style voice commands. It is part of the wider hi-tech Mercedes-Benz User Experience or ¿MBUX¿ digital assistant system fitted to its cars

The new C-Class’s ‘Smart Home’ function allows the driver or passenger to check remotely on their home and even run appliances from their car-seat using Alexa-style voice commands. It is part of the wider hi-tech Mercedes-Benz User Experience or ‘MBUX’ digital assistant system fitted to its cars

It noted that the internet allows domestic equipment fitted with sensors and actuators in the home to be ‘increasingly intelligent and communicative,’ adding: ‘Temperature and lights, shutters and electrical appliances can be remotely monitored and controlled. Motion detectors and window contacts inform the user of welcome or unwelcome visitors.’

It said ‘conversations’ between the driver or passenger might start with the driver asking via a voice command: ‘Hey Mercedes, is there anybody in my home right now?’.

The Alexa-style response might come back: ‘I checked. The last movement detected was in the kitchen one hour ago.’

While that might prove helpful and beneficial in some respects, some home-owners and families may be nervous about the implications of what is essentially a ‘spy in the car’ surveillance system checking movement in homes and even individual rooms.

The ‘Hey Mercedes’ system understands questions and commands in four languages or variants – German, Chinese, US and ‘British English’.

Consumer electronic giants Bosch and Samsung are the first to adapt their equipment so it can be controlled remotely by the Mercs, with other firms set to follow

Consumer electronic giants Bosch and Samsung are the first to adapt their equipment so it can be controlled remotely by the Mercs, with other firms set to follow

Motorists will be able to control devices from the comfort on the driver's seat
And it's an especially lavish place to be, with the cockpit changing colour depending on the selected driving mode
Slide me

Motorists will be able to control devices from the comfort on the driver’s seat. And it’s an especially lavish place to be, with the cockpit changing colour depending on the selected driving mode

The company said: ‘You can address lamps, sockets, thermostats, shutters and blinds, motion detectors and door or window contacts, as well as temperature sensors.

‘So the system can also answer this question: ‘Did I remember to turn the heating down?’.

It added: ‘Depending on the response and the thermostats installed in the home, it is possible to change the setting.’

The driver will instruct via voice-command: ‘Set the temperature to 18 degrees in the whole house!’

‘In this way, Smart Home integration helps to reduce energy consumption. It also enhances comfort, because the heating can also be remotely turned up again in good time.’

Mercedes-Benz said: ‘At the market launch, the MBUX Smart Home function will support numerous devices offered by important smart home providers – corresponding contracts have already been concluded with Bosch Smart Home and Samsung SmartThings. Further providers will follow, and be announced at a later stage.’ 

Longer, wider but lower than the model it replaces, prices for the new sixth-generation C-Class start from £38,000

That's around half the £78,000 of the S-Class designed for owners to driven or be chauffeur driven

Longer, wider but lower than the model it replaces, prices for the new sixth-generation C-Class start from £38,000 for the saloon and £39,000 for the estate – around half the £78,000 of the S-Class designed for owners to driven or be chauffeur driven

Mercedes-Benz designers have given the C-Class a slightly more aggressive look, with a chiseled profile and almost vertical front and rear end

Mercedes-Benz designers have given the C-Class a slightly more aggressive look, with a chiseled profile and almost vertical front and rear end

All-new C-Class to cost between £38,000 and £50,000 

Longer, wider but lower than the model it replaces, prices for the new sixth-generation C-Class start from £38,000 for the saloon and £39,000 for the estate – around half the £78,000 of the S-Class designed for owners to driven or be chauffeur driven.

Top of the range C-Class models will be around £50,000.

The firm described the C-Class’s tech as a ‘future-proof comfort zone.’

On sale from early Summer with first deliveries in August or September, a range of petrol and diesels are available at launch with a frugal plug-in hybrid to follow at the end of the year.

Inside the new C-Class also offers more rear headroom and legroom, as well as more elbow and shoulder room front and back.

The big-booted C-Class estate will start from £39,000 - just £1,000 more than the saloon

The big-booted C-Class estate will start from £39,000 – just £1,000 more than the saloon

While the saloon model has a 455-litre boot, with the rear seatbacks up the Estate offer 490 litres of space. Flatten the seats down and that increased to 1,510 litres

While the saloon model has a 455-litre boot, with the rear seatbacks up the Estate offer 490 litres of space. Flatten the seats down and that increased to 1,510 litres

The estate is also slightly higher than the saloon, meaning easier entry and exit plus additional headroom especially for those seated in the second row

The estate is also slightly higher than the saloon, meaning easier entry and exit plus additional headroom especially for those seated in the second row

The upmarket dashboard mirrors that of the S-Class with a large free-standing screen at its centre, tilted slightly towards the driver.

The new C-Class digital assistant system also benefits from online music streaming with millions of songs to choose from.

There are four dashboard display settings: Classic, a dynamic red Sporty; Discreet, and Assistance Mode.

The car firm notes: ‘The full-screen navigation was adapted was adapted from the S-Class and gives the driver the best possible guidance on a journey.’

A colour head-up display is also an option: ‘The driver sees a virtual image measuring 9 x 3 inches (approx. 23 x 8 cm) floating above the bonnet at a distance of about 4.5 m.’

The new C-Class digital assistant system also benefits from online music streaming with millions of songs to choose from

The new C-Class digital assistant system also benefits from online music streaming with millions of songs to choose from

Beautifully sculpted front seats and upmarket materials means the Mercedes C-Class should lead the way in luxury when it comes to premium feel

Beautifully sculpted front seats and upmarket materials means the Mercedes C-Class should lead the way in luxury when it comes to premium feel

This image o the second row in the estate shows just how much headroom is on offer. If you're carrying taller occupants regularly, this is the one to choose

This image o the second row in the estate shows just how much headroom is on offer. If you’re carrying taller occupants regularly, this is the one to choose

Augmented Video is available as an option. Mercedes-Benz said: ‘A camera registers the surroundings in front of the vehicle.

Moving images are shown on the central display. In addition, virtual objects, information and markers are superimposed on the video image.’

These include traffic signs, directional arrows, lane-change recommendations and house numbers. This can make navigation much easier, especially in urban areas.’

For added security, there’s also a fingerprint scanner below the central display which allows users to log into the digital assistant MBUX system, and protecting personal settings and data such including most recent destinations, , business calendar entries, emails and online payments.

The saloon and estate models are the same length and width but the estate sits slightly higher.

Will it fit in my garage? New Mercedes-Benz C-Class 

On sale: June/July

First deliveries: August/ September

Prices:

Saloon: From £38,000

Estate: From £39,000

Dimensions:

Length: 4751mm

Width: 1820mm

Width (including door mirrors): 2033mm

Height:

Saloon: 1438mm Estate: 1455mm

Wheelbase: 2865mm

Luggage capacity: 

Saloon: 455 litres

Estate: 490 to 1510 litres

Gears: 9-speed automatic 9G-TRONIC

PETROLS

C200 mild hybrid 1.5 litre 204 horse-power

0-62mph: 7.3 seconds (7.5 seconds for the estate)/Top speed: 152mph (149mph for estates).

C300 mild hybrids 2.0 litre 258 horse-power

0-62mph: 6 seconds/Top speed: 155mph

DIESELS

C220D mild hybrid 2.0 litre diesel 200 horse-power

0-62mph: 7.3 seconds (7.4 seconds estate)/Top speed: 152mph (155mph estate).

C300D mild hybrid 2.0 litre diesel 265 horse-power

0 to 62mph: 5.7 seconds/ Top speed: 155mph.

Fuel consumption & emissions: TBC

PLUG IN HYBRID

Plug in Hybrid (PHEV) petrol-electric.

Electric only range: 62 miles

Price: from around £45,000

On sale: end of 2021

Engine: 2.0 litre petrol engines linked to an electric motor

Total power: 313 horse-power.

Charging time: 30 minutes using a high-power 55kW DC charger.

Top speed on electric power only: 87mph

DIESEL PLUG-IN HYBRID

To follow, though no confirmation of details 

Mercedes not ready to ditch diesel and is set to unveil an oil-burning hybrid

In the UK there will initially be four engine options – two petrol and two diesel.

The C200 mild hybrids are powered by 1.5 litre 204 horse-power petrol engines and will accelerate from rest to 62mph in 7.3 seconds (7.5 seconds for the estate) up to a top speed of 152mph (149mph for estates).

The more powerful C300 mild hybrids are powered by 2.0 litre 258 horse-power petrol engines that will accelerate from rest to 62mph in 6 seconds up to a top speed of 155mph.

The C220D and C300D mild hybrids are powered by 2.0 litre diesels.

The 200 horse-power C220D saloon accelerates from rest to 62mph in 7.3 seconds up to a top speed of 152mph (7.4 seconds and 155mph for the estate).

The 265 horse-power C300D saloon covers 0 to 62mph in 5.7 seconds up to a top speed of 155mph.

Towards the end of the year there will be a full plug-in petrol-electric hybrid (PHEV) C300e with a 62 mile electric-only range – nearly double that of the outgoing model’s 35 miles – priced from around £45,000 (£46,000 for estate).

These will use 2.0 litre petrol engines linked to an electric motor with a total of 313 horse-power.

Top speed in electric power only will be 87mph.

Batteries can be charged in 30 minutes using a high-power 55kW DC charger. Repositioning of the batteries means more space in the plug-in hybrid estate’s luggage area, up 45 litres to 360 litres, and, with the rear seats folded down, up 40 litres to 1,375 litres.

A diesel plug-in hybrid is also planned.

In the UK there will initially be four engine options ¿ two petrol and two diesel powerplants

In the UK there will initially be four engine options – two petrol and two diesel powerplants

While many other car brands are looking to ditch diesel engines, Mercedes will continue to offer them in the C-Class and is also set to reveal a diesel plug-in hybrid

While many other car brands are looking to ditch diesel engines, Mercedes will continue to offer them in the C-Class and is also set to reveal a diesel plug-in hybrid

The C-Class is also packed with smart safety kit. Active Steering Assist helps the driver to stay in lane has also been improved. Traffic Sign Assist recognises more signs an even conditional instructions such as when wet

The C-Class is also packed with smart safety kit. Active Steering Assist helps the driver to stay in lane has also been improved. Traffic Sign Assist recognises more signs an even conditional instructions such as when wet

There are four trim levels: Sport; AMG Line; Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus.

Driver assistance systems have also been upgraded. On all types of roads – motorways, country roads or in town – the Active Distance Assist system can automatically maintain a pre-set distance from vehicles ahead at speeds up to 62mph (previously 37mph).

Active Steering Assist to helps the driver to stay in lane has also been improved. Traffic Sign Assist recognises more signs an even conditional instructions such as when wet.

While the C-Class shares much of the technology as the S-Class, some of the pinnacle features are left out, such as the 3D screen and so-called ‘augmented reality.’

Sadly, UK models will not have the rear-axle steering which is available in Germany and on the S-Class.

More than 10.5 million C-Class Mercedes have been sold over five generation since launch in 1982. More than 2.5 million of the outgoing fifth-generation C-Class have been sold since 2014 – and it was the biggest selling Mercedes model over the last decade. The UK is one of the big four markets for the C-Class after China, the USA and Germany. 

CARS & MOTORING: ON TEST

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