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2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class can read your fingerprint and talk to other cars – Mercedes-Benz could’ve been forgiven for holding off on renewing its C-Class for a while. After all, even though the current model dates from 2016, it still looks and feels pretty fresh, and drivers around the globe have been trading in sedans in favor of SUVs anyway. But the company’s long-running C-Class remains a critical part of its portfolio and Mercedes-Benz developed a ton of new tech in the last five years, so here goes everything. Making its debut Tuesday, this is the 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

No longer assembled in Alabama, all North American-bound C-Classes will henceforth hail from East London, South Africa. Set to arrive in US dealerships early next year, this latest C-Class sedan looks quite a bit like today’s smaller and swoopier A-Class, but with a generous dash-to-axle ratio and more of a “cab-backwards” design, the new C not only looks different enough, it carries a more upscale attitude that recalls Benz’s top-dollar S-Class.

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class can read your fingerprint and talk to other cars

2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class gains S-Class tech and swagger

Mild-hybrid details and performance specs

Riding atop a new platform and carrying standard 48-volt mild-hybrid technology, the 2022 C-Class will only be available with Benz’s M254 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. This twin-turbocharged I4 is good for 255 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, but the aforementioned mild-hybrid assist with its integrated starter-generator can deliver up to 20 additional horsepower and a whopping 148 pound-feet of torque for short-term boosts. A nine-speed automatic transmission is mandatory.

Like pricing data, fuel economy figures won’t be released until closer to the model’s on-sale date, but company officials tell Roadshow they’re ballparking a 10-15% improvement in fuel economy thanks to the mild-hybrid electrification. This e-hardware allows for coasting with the engine shut off under light loads as well as regenerative braking and a smoother stop/start system. For reference, the outgoing C300 RWD sedan achieves an EPA-estimated 23 miles per gallon city, 35 mpg highway and 27 mpg combined. That suggests the new car could get as high as 26 cities, 40 highways and 31 combined.

Mercedes has yet to unveil complete performance specs, but regardless of whether a buyer selects rear-wheel drive or 4Matic all-wheel drive, the German automaker is touting a 0-to-60-mph time of 5.9 seconds en route to an electronically limited top speed of 130 mph. Interestingly, that’s actually 0.2 seconds slower than the company’s time for an equivalent 2020 C300 sedan (which has 255 hp and 273 lb-ft).

The 2022’s slightly slower acceleration may have something to do with the new model’s larger — and presumably heavier — size. The C-Class’ new, stiffer platform rides on a slightly longer 112.8-inch wheelbase and at 187 inches, the body is longer by 2.5 inches.

MBUX and fingerprints

The new dashboard features a standard 12.3-inch reconfigurable digital gauge cluster, but the most notable feature is a portrait-oriented 11.9-inch center screen running the latest in MBUX infotainment. The next-generation system allows for over-the-air updates for downloadable features and bug fixes, as well.

For the first time in a Mercedes sedan, the center screen is canted towards the driver for more of a cockpit-like feel and there’s been a concerted effort to minimize physical switchgear in favor of touchscreen and voice-activated functionality. This is an industry-wide trend that we’ve seen executed with wildly varying degrees of success. We’ll have to wait for a test drive to see how intuitive and responsive these new controls are.

Key additional tech upgrades include fingerprint recognition for enhanced information security as well as optional augmented-reality navigation. The latter adds turn-by-turn instructions overlaid onto the front-camera video feed seen in the digital gauge cluster. We’ve sampled similar tech on the 2021 Cadillac Escalade and it’s pretty remarkable how the directional arrows look like they are floating over the road to guide you.

By Sunrise

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