Mercedes C-Class Saloon interior
The Mercedes C-Class’ cabin’s elegant and stylish cabin owes lots to the S-Class’ interior, but the infotainment system isn’t as easy to use as some rivals
The Mercedes C-Class interior has plenty of clever and stylish details that make it a more interesting cabin than the sporty BMW 3 Series or the smart-and-sensible Audi A4. The brushed metal air vents in the centre console look like something you would see on a classic vintage aeroplane, and they fit seamlessly into the minimalist, swooping dashboard design.
There is a variety of interiors to choose from, with the SE and Sport cars coming with glossy black plastic (try not to drop your keys on this, though – it scratches easily…) while the AMG Line gets beautiful unvarnished wood inserts.
Every version gets the high-class brushed aluminium trim on the doors and solid metal switches on the climate control, though. These look even better alongside the laser-etched speaker grilles of the Burmester stereo.
You also get a very convincing man-made leather covering on the seats. It’s called Artico Leather and it feels just as plush as real leather, but should be just as easy to clean and will be almost as hard wearing. If you really want authentic leather then you have to go for a Sport, AMG Line or C43 model – it’s only available on those versions.
There’s also an AMG Interior Carbon Pack for the performance AMG C43 model. This brings more aluminum trim on the doors a silver carbon-fibre-effect finish for the centre console and an analogue clock below the central air vents.
The infotainment is the weak spot of the C-Class’s cabin - where others look slick and well integrated, it looks tacked on and isn’t intuitive to use.
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Sadly the standard Mercedes C-Class infotainment system doesn’t match up to the high bar set by the rest of the cabin. The 10-inch screen that sits high above the central console looks a little like it has been tacked on as an afterthought, and it is a bit of a disappointment when compared to the slick and smooth dual-screen arrangement you get in the smaller A-Class.
It’s not that easy to use, either. The shortcut buttons on the dashboard are useful, but if you want to scroll through the various menus on the system then you have to use the scrolling wheel down on the central console and it sits below an awkward touchpad.
You can cut a load of this fiddling out, though, thanks to the voice command system that you can operate without taking your hands off the steering wheel. However, BMW’s (optional) Personal Assistant version is better.
The touchpad controllers on the steering wheel are very good, though. They let you navigate through the various menus on the digital driver’s display without taking your hands off the wheel. They also mean that there aren’t many buttons on the steering wheel.
The optional 12.3-inch display can show three different dial designs, display the satellite navigation directions and show you what you are listening to through the stereo. This is only available on the AMG Line and up, though.
If you’re a serious music fan you’ll want to upgrade to the optional Burmester stereo system to make the most of your collection. This 590W surround-sound system packs plenty more punch than the standard C-Class setup, but it only comes as part of an even pricier Premium Plus pack.
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