The interior of both C240 and C320 show a common design
heritage with its larger Mercedes-Benz siblings. There may
be a concern with the many small control buttons presented
to the driver, but that is something the individual buyer
will have to determine. There are a number of functions
that can be controlled from the steering wheel, including
audio, navigation (optional), trip computer and
telephone (a fully integrated digital and portable cellphone
is also optional). With its well-perfected ergonomics, this
handsome interior fits like a perfectly tailored garment.
The driver has all the controls at his or her fingertips
- a key requirement for dynamic driving.
Adopting a higher standard of mater-ials, feel, and quality
appearance led designers to a significant redesign. Many
of the interior surfaces have been created by spraying a
layer of polyurethane into a mold with the desired texture.
To minimize reflection, the upper segment of the dashboard
is finished in Charcoal, while the lower section is finished
in the dominant color of the interior. Central, side and
side-window defrost vents grow out of the upper dash, as
does the new instrument panel with multifunction display.
The lower dash is home to side mirror adjustments, as well
as the large glove box that offers 500 cubic inches of storage.
The new instrument cluster has a central LCD display
within the speedometer for the standard-equipment stereo
adjustments, plus odometer, trip computer and optional COMAND
(Cockpit MANagement and Data) system information. Three
analog gauges monitor engine speed, road speed and fuel
level, while the
multifunction display can call up a variety of other detailed
information, including water temperature.
Dual-zone climate control with rear-seat outlets and
activated charcoal filtration is standard, as is a tilt/telescoping
steering wheel, genuine wood trim and an AM/FM/cassette
audio system. An optional Bose 10-speaker digital audio
system is available as well as a glove-box mounted six-disc
CD changer. On C240 sedans, seat height and backrest adjust
electrically. C320 models come with full power memory front
seats. Bose premium audio system and five-speed automatic
transmission with Touch Shift are also standard on C320
models. The front seats feature headrests that expand forward,
enhancing comfort and safety. All three rear seating positions
benefit from adjustable head restraints and three-point
seat belts, while outboard rear seats have belt height adjustments
and belt force limiters.
The center console echoes the curved contour of the
central dash in wood trim. Each programmable SmartKey holds
memory information for seat adjustment, steering wheel,
rear view mirror and the automatic climate control at the
driver's preferred settings.
The C-Class comes equipped with a tilt-telescoping steering
wheel, leather seating surfaces, and wood trim. The steering
wheel provides large, illuminated rocker buttons for convenient
control of many of the car's systems. Two rockers with eight
detents control the dash display and adjustment of: trip
odometers and the trip computer; audio system (radio station
seek, cassette deck operation, volume, CD changer track
and seek); fault or error messages (for vehicle
diagnostics); clock; interior and exterior light dimming;
and system language. The driver can scroll forward or back
between additional "windows" using the buttons on the left
Passive safety is not overlooked on the C-Class. With
eight airbags, smart seat belts, child seat tethers, and
BabySmart child seat options, the C-Class has an impressive
array of safety features. The eight airbags include dual
powered front airbags, four side airbags and two head curtain
airbags that run the length of the interior on either side.
The BabySmart automatic child seat recognition system, standard
on every Mercedes-Benz model, deactivates the passenger-side
front airbag in the presence of a BabySmart-compatible infant,
toddler or child booster seat (available from Mercedes-Benz
retailers). If an airbag is deployed the standard Tele Aid
system will place a call to an operator who will dispatch
needed assistance. The Tele Aid service is free for one
The trunk is roomy, with a pass-through that allowed
us to head out from the home-improvement center parking
lot with a rug cleaner and a couple of mops.