In which category? All of them.
Last week's reveal of the all-new 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class was a big deal in many ways. Not only did the German automaker debut its latest flagship sedan, but it also showed off a ton of new technologies that will begin making their down to less expensive models. When will that process begin? Apparently very, very soon.
Speaking to Australia's Cars Guide, Ola Kallenius, chairman of the board for Daimler, indicated the next-generation Mercedes C-Class will not only have significant S-Class styling influences but also impressive new tech. "Back in the day, many years ago now, the logic at Mercedes was 'we got it in the S-Class' - that happens every seven or eight years - and then we have a gradual trickle down," he said.
"We've already departed from this philosophy, I would say, in the last five to seven years. We have switched to say every single new architecture or major model gets innovation. This week we talk about S-Class, but to illustrate it, next year comes the new C-Class."
And then there was this vital statement: "[Even though] the C-Class is already nine months behind its bigger brother, you already have a small S-Class in the C-Class."
One new technology rumored for the next C-Class is a diesel-hybrid powertrain, though it'd be only for European markets. However, the expected AMG model will more than likely boast an electrified engine. Other key pieces of S-Class tech the C-Class will probably share is the new portrait-style multimedia system, a 3D driver display, and an augmented reality head-up display.
But unlike many other automakers, Mercedes has even adopted a so-called "trickle-up" approach instead of always the opposite. For example, the latest MBUX infotainment system premiered in the 2018 A-Class and is now standard in the new S-Class.
"We trickle up and trickle down quickly, and we have developed an engineering system now whereby the innovations that we launch can very quickly come to the other vehicles," Kallenius added.
It's also important to bear in mind the C-Class's longtime rival, the BMW 3 Series, was last completely redesigned for 2018. Although the G20 3 Series boasts impressive tech in its own right, BMW may be forced to speed up its mid-life refresh faster than expected. The next C-Class is due to arrive sometime in the middle of next year.