According to a report by Bloomberg, Mercedes is adding the touchpad technology pioneered by Apple as well as an iPad-like display to its all new C-Class, the German car maker’s best selling sedan. Mercedes unveiled the model’s first overhaul in seven years at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, as it continues its efforts of leaping to No. 1 spot from third in global luxury-car sales by the end of the decade.
Mercedes announced that it is going to offer its best-seller with trendy smartphone-like features and technology from the flagship S-Class sedan, including a 360-degree camera and six radar sensors to enhance safety systems. The new C-Class ($45,690) with top-of-the-line gadgetry goes on sale in Europe in March and the U.S. and China in September, and will help Mercedes overtake Audi for second place next year.
“Luxury customers are becoming much younger, especially in Asian markets,” said Sarwant Singh, an automotive partner with consultancy Frost & Sullivan. “They are looking for more gimmicks. The new C-Class is much more exciting than its predecessor.”
While the exterior remains sedate, Mercedes added more contemporary flair to the interior, including options for open-pore wood trim for a more textured surface, a larger 8.4-inch display and a Burmester surround-sound system. “I could live in the car,” Ola Kaellenius, head of Mercedes sales and marketing, said in an interview in Stuttgart. “The new C-Class is better in every respect. There’s still a lot of room for us to grow” in the segment.
The German manufacturer has been fighting back after losing its ranking as the world’s top-selling luxury brand to BMW in 2005 and dropping to No. 3 in 2011. Last year, Mercedes narrowed the gap to Audi as the upgraded S-Class and new compacts fueled its biggest sales gain in three years.