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Mercedes-Benz’s 2015 C-Class is all grown up, with plenty of toys for tech-happy buyers

The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has traditionally been the baby of the Benz lineup, but not anymore. With the smaller, less expensive CLA-Class on dealer lots, it’s time for the redesigned 2015 C-Class to grow up.

The 2015 model certainly looks grown up. The styling is borrowed from the larger E-Class sedan, making the C-Class look like a mini version of that distinguish luxury cruiser. The new look is less formal than previous models, but not quite as out there as the CLA’s “four-door coupe” styling. Overall, it’s quite satisfying to the eye.

That new styling conceals a slightly larger body with a 3-inch longer wheelbase. Despite the growth that seems like an inevitable part of every redesign, Mercedes says the 2015 C-Class is 220 pounds lighter than before, yielding 20 percent better fuel efficiency without any sacrifice in performance. That sounds like a pretty good deal.

Two flavors of C-Class will initially be offered in the United States. The C300 4Matic will have a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 235 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, while the C400 4Matic will have a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6, which produces 329 hp and 354 lb-ft.

Both models will be offered exclusively with seven-speed automatic transmissions and (you guessed it) 4Matic all-wheel drive. Rear-wheel drive versions be be added later, along with an AMG performance model.

The 2015 C-Class is also the first car in its class to be offered with air suspension, Mercedes says. The Airmatic system features four modes: “Comfort”, “Eco”, “Sport”, and “Sport+”, and a customizable “Individual” mode.

As for the interior, Mercedes apparently tried to create the same sporty look as the exterior, albeit less successfully. The thick-rimmed steering wheel and three center-stack air vents look cartoonishly oversized, and the fixed infotainment screen looks a bit cheap for a Mercedes.

That’s okay because tech-happy buyers will probably be distracted by the number of gadgets anyway. The list includes a head-up display (HUD), Mercedes’ “Comand” infotainment system, and an air conditioning system that uses GPS data.

The 2015 C-Class isn’t short on safety features either. Driver aids include: Attention Assist, Attention Assist, Adaptive Brake Assist, Collision Prevention Assist Plus, Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, Brake Assist System Plus and Enhanced Active Lane Keeping Assist, as well as Active Park Assist, a 360-degree camera and Traffic Sign Assist with Wrong-Way Alert.

If all of those systems fail, there’s also a bevy of airbags, including pelvis bags for front-seat occupants and a new window bag. You’ll have to forgive us, but ‘pelvis bag’ makes us giggle.

In the flurry of airbag listing, Mercedes didn’t say exactly when the 2015 C-Class would go on sale, but don’t be surprised if it shows up at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show in January. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.

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