Connect with us

AUTOMOBILE

Mercedes’ new C-Class: The car that lets you control your home from the road.

Published

on

Mercedes’ new C-Class: The car that lets you control your home from the road. 1

 

 

“Did you turn off the hob before we left?” It’s one of a number of panicked questions you’ve likely put to a loved one when you’ve driven a few miles away from home. But with Mercedes’ new C-Class saloon and estate, fears of burning the house down will be no more.

The latest version – the sixth iteration of the compact executive saloon – will be available this year with ‘Smart Home’ tech allowing owners to control devices and features with connective capacity in their houses. From turning up the central heating to setting the TV to record and even switching on the lights in the living room, it can all be achieved from the comfort of the driver’s seat as you return to your property.

This advanced technology was first available from last year in the latest ultra-expensive S-Class but has already been filtered down to this more accessible C-Class that costs around half as much as the flagship Benz limousine (which starts from around £75,000).

Prices for the all-new C-Class saloon are to start from around £38,000 – £39,000 for an estate version. The Stuttgart car company will be hoping that this latest technology – including a Siri-style voice control system – and a swanky interior will make the aspiring middle classes forget all about its biggest rival, the BMW 3 Series.

‘Hey Mercedes, record tonight’s Top Gear…’

Two of the biggest consumer electronic giants have already signed up to make their appliances and devices compatible with the Smart Home tech. Bosch and Samsung are the first to make their products remotely accessible via Mercedes’ vehicle-integrated system – and more firms are set to follow.

Drivers won’t even need to go through the distraction of using the tablet-size screen in the centre console to activate the features in their properties. The introduction of the MBUX digital assistance system – similar to Amazon’s Alexa – will respond to any instruction or command, as long as the phrase is preloaded with the words: ‘Hey, Mercedes’.

Bosses at the car brand say: ‘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.’

Mercedes-Benz C-Klasse T-Modell, 2021, Spektralblau, Leder zweifarbig Nevagrau/Schwarz // Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate, 2021, spectral blue, neva grey/black leather
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate (Photo: Mercedes-Benz AG)

While that might prove helpful and beneficial in some instances – like when you fear you’ve left the oven on – it will raise concerns that skilled criminal hackers will be able to access features in your home via your vehicle. This is especially the case now that keyless car theft is at record levels, quite literally opening the door for unsavoury characters to see when you are – and are not – in your home.

Diesel lives on in electrified engine line-up

While rival brands are stepping away from oil-burning diesel engines, Mercedes is well aware there remains an appeal among big-mileage businessmen who want to profit from lower benefit-in-kind company car tax and better fuel economy. It’s for this reason that both diesels and petrols are retained when the C-Class goes on sale from early this summer, with first deliveries in August or September.

A three-decade Class act for Mercedes

Mercedes has sold more than 10.5 million models in the junior executive vehicle class since 1982. The outgoing C-Class has been the most-bought Merc in the last decade, with 2.5 million purchased from 2014 onwards. And the UK is one of the target audiences: only in China, the US and Germany are more C-Class’ bought.

However, all engines in the C-Class range will have some form of electrification – a first for the German brand for a single model. Every internal combustion powerplant will also have ‘mild’ hybrid tech (using a tiny electric motor to assists the engine) to boost the eco credentials of the premium family car. Mercedes has even turned to Lewis Hamilton’s F1 team to co-develop a new turbocharger that’s more responsive and efficient in a bid to make its internal combustion engines cleaner.

Towards the end of the year there will also be a full plug-in hybrid (PHEV) combining a battery and electric motor with a 2.0-litre petrol engine. This will provide an impressive 62-mile pure-electric range, which is almost enough for three average commuters (23 miles being the UK average, once lockdown lifts). The battery can be charged in 30 minutes with a suitable fast charger. And there is even talk of a diesel plug-in hybrid following at a later date.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon specs

On sale: From summer 2021

Price: From around £38,000 (£39,000 for the estate)

Length: 4751mm

Width (including door mirrors): 2033mm

Height: 1438mm

Wheelbase: 2865mm

Luggage capacity: 455 litres (490 litres for estate)