Move Over Laptops; Touchpads Are on the Rise in Cars

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A budding group of automakers is embracing something that's ubiquitous outside the car: the humble touchpad. Popularized by laptops since the 1990s, the touchpad is everywhere, including in more and more cars.

We first saw Audi incorporate a touchpad with its Multi Media Interface, thereafter dubbed MMI Touch, in November 2009, and we got a hands-on look just six weeks later. MMI Touch augmented MMI with map scrolling and character recognition, which helped with writing-intense functions like navigation entries. MMI Touch debuted on the A8 (pictured above) and subsequent S8 sedans, and Audi has since thrown it in the new A7/S7 and redesigned A6/S6.

In 2012, BMW joined the fray with iDrive Touch, and Mercedes-Benz is close behind with the 2015 C-Class, which mounts a touchpad above the control knob to operate the Comand multimedia system. Lexus is joining the party too; its forthcoming RC Concept adapts a touchpad to the brand's Remote Touch Interface. Touchpads buck the trend in multimedia systems for touch-screens or control knobs — but seldom both. How shoppers will react? For now, the sample size is still too small.

By Kelsey Mays | November 12, 2013 | Comments (2)

2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: More Details, Interior Photos

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Yesterday, Mercedes-Benz unveiled a teaser video of the next-generation C-Class. Today the automaker gave us a peek of the cabin with a number of interior images of the European-spec 2015 C-Class sedan, which arrives at Mercedes dealers in fall 2014. Expect full production details at January 2014's North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The new C-Class cabin boasts shapely contours and circular air vents, and the transmission shifter moves from the center console to the steering column. Like in several other Mercedes cars — from the CLA-Class sedan to the G-Class SUV — a tabletlike display governs the navigation and multimedia systems. Along the center console, a new touchpad sits atop the knob controller; we expect the system to use Mercedes' Comand structure, but two company officials have yet to confirm details. The automaker says finger gestures on the touchpad can control the screen — much like with Audi's latest MMI touch-pad — with haptic feedback, too. A head-up display is also new, as are automatic air recirculation with tunnel detection (via GPS) and the new S-Class' active fragrance enhancer.

By Kelsey Mays | October 23, 2013 | Comments (6)

Mercedes-Benz Teases New C-Class

If you're quick, you can catch a glimpse of the next Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The automaker released a teaser video today hinting that the successor to its compact sedan will wear the more athletic lines of its larger S-Class sibling. Expect to see the entire car unveiled early next year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. In the meantime, check out the video above.

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By Jennifer Geiger | October 22, 2013 | Comments (1)

Mercedes-Benz Is Luxury Car Thieves' Most Wanted

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That Mercedes-Benz in your driveway might have turned the tables on the Joneses, who are now trying to keep up with you, but that envy doesn't end with your neighbors. According to a report released today by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, to steal a Mercedes-Benz is considered an honor among thieves. The German automaker's iconic three-pointed star adorns three of the top 10 most-stolen luxury models in the U.S., with the C-Class taking the No. 1 spot with 485 thefts from Jan. 1, 2009, through Dec. 31, 2012.

The Des Plaines, Ill.-based nonprofit's analysis divided the luxury-vehicle segment into three subclasses — compact, midsize and premium — with thefts across all three totaling 4,384 for the 2010-12 model years. The compact class accounted for the greatest portion of that total, with 2,150 thefts, followed by the midsize class' 1,734 thefts and the premium's 500. By state, the distribution of thefts largely correlates with population size: California lays claim to 1,063 of the total luxury thefts, the most, while South Dakota and Wyoming each had only one. By core-based statistical area, which includes a densely populated urban center and its surrounding areas, the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island area had the largest number of luxury thefts at 806, followed by Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif., with 491, and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla., with 452.

By Matt Schmitz | July 30, 2013 | Comments (5)

Cars.com Reviews the 2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

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The 2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class' ride is comfortable. Very comfortable. And quiet too — don't forget quiet. But if Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays were to stop there out of respect for the virtue of "If you don't have anything nice to say ... ," he wouldn't be saying much at all about the C-Class, which curiously remains a top seller despite superior sport-sedan competitors. In nearly every other category — interior space, styling, acceleration, fuel economy, brakes and handling — this last-place finisher in Cars.com's $46,000 Sport-Sedan Challenge is strictly riding on its rep, Mays says.

2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review

By Matt Schmitz | April 8, 2013 | Comments (0)

2014 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Edition 507: First Look

2014 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Edition 507
  • Competes with: BMW M3, Audi S4, Cadillac CTS-V
  • Looks like: The family man's SLS AMG
  • Drivetrain: 507-hp, 6.3-liter V-8; seven-speed automatic transmission; rear-wheel drive
  • Hits dealerships: Late 2013

Perhaps you've considered the current Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, the German uber sports coupe and sedan based off of Mercedes' C-Class and stuffed with a monster 6.3-liter V-8, but felt that its 451-horsepower rating was only just adequate. Well you're in luck: Mercedes-Benz just announced the new 2014 C63 AMG Edition 507, which takes the current car and miraculously boosts output by another 56 hp to a solid 507.

It's done by borrowing heavily from components that go into the fire-breathing SLS AMG gull-wing coupe, including the SLS engine's connecting rods, lightweight crankshaft, forged pistons and composite brake system. This drops the C63 AMG's zero-to-60 time from 4.4 seconds to 4.1 seconds and raises the car's top speed to 174 mph - but to get that top speed, one must attend a course at the AMG Driving Academy, which is included in the car's price.

By Aaron Bragman | February 4, 2013 | Comments (2)

2013 Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Join NHTSA's Five-Star Club

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Several new vehicles joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's five-star club today, earning the top score of five stars overall in crash tests performed by NHTSA. New inductees are the 2013 Ford Fusion, 2013 Lincoln MKZ and the 2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Meanwhile, the all-new 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid and redesigned 2013 Nissan Sentra didn't fare as well, with both having to settle for four stars overall.

The Fusion's and MKZ's front-, all-wheel-drive and hybrid models all received five stars in the frontal crash test and four-star ratings in side and rollover crash tests. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class' rear- and all-wheel-drive models scored five stars in the side crash test and four stars in frontal and rollover crash tests.

Both the C-Max Hybrid and Sentra fell short, receiving five-star scores in only the side crash test and four stars in the other two tests.

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By Matt Schmitz | January 18, 2013 | Comments (0)

2013 Detroit Auto Show: What To Expect

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As what is widely regarded as the most important U.S. auto show of the year opens next week in Detroit, an automotive icon returns to the claim the spotlight.

The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette is poised to be the star among the more than 50 production and concept vehicles slated to debut at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The show runs Jan. 19-27 — with press, industry and charity preview events on Monday-Jan. 18 — at downtown Detroit's Cobo Center. Last year's NAIAS attracted nearly 771,000 people, according to organizers.

Sunday night's press debut of the seventh-generation Corvette is hotly anticipated, and for nearly the past three months Chevy has done much to fan the flames, teasing us with tidbits of information and blink-and-you-missed-it video images. The automaker has disclosed that the new 'Vette will have a new 6.2-liter V-8 engine that's good for 450 horsepower and a zero-to-60-mph time of less than four seconds — all while improving on its 2013 predecessor's 26 mpg; Chevy also has said the 2014 model's aerodynamics were designed with Corvette's years of racing in the American Le Mans Series in mind.

Check back for full coverage of the 2013 Detroit auto show. Until then, here are the vehicles we know about now:

By Matt Schmitz | January 10, 2013 | Comments (2)

Recall Alert: 5,800 Mercedes-Benz Vehicles

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Mercedes-Benz is recalling 5,800 model-year 2011-12 S400, S550, S550 4Matic, S63 AMG, C300, C300 4Matic, E350, GLK350, GLK350 4Matic, CL550 4Matic and CL63 AMG vehicles because of a problem in the fuel system that could cause fire, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The affected vehicles were manufactured from April 18, 2011, through July 12, 2011. The problem is due to an irregularity stemming from the molding process; the fuel filter flange could crack when operated under high temperatures. If cracking occurs, fuel may leak and cause a fire if an external ignition source is present, NHTSA stated.

Mercedes-Benz will notify owners starting in January, and dealers will replace the fuel filter at no cost. For more info, owners can contact Mercedes-Benz at 800-367-6372 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236, or go to www.safercar.gov.

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By Matt Schmitz | December 11, 2012 | Comments (0)

August's Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Cars

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The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport topped last month's fastest-selling cars — a list that mixed the usual influx of redesigns and introductions with a lot of older cars. The 2013 Toyota Corolla, Honda Fit, Mini Cooper, Audi A3 and Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen flew off dealer lots last month. All but the A3 saw sales increases, with the Corolla, Fit and Cooper up more than 25% apiece. But all five cars have been on the market for some time since their last update, and none offer major incentives. One possible factor is gas prices, which have risen 20 cents in the past month. All five cars have variants with combined EPA mileage of 30 mpg or better.

Response to the redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe has been "nothing short of remarkable," Hyundai sales chief Dave Zuchowski said in a statement Tuesday. However, sales for the nameplate — whose redesign sprouts a new Santa Fe Sport derivative that's lumped into the same sales figure — fell nearly 50% for the month. What gives?

By Kelsey Mays | September 6, 2012 | Comments (0)

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