As part of the latest update to its C-Class, Mercedes-Benz has brought internet access to its COMAND infotainment system for the first time. Unlike some other in-car systems that use a built-in SIM card slot, the Mercedes system will use Terminal Mode – the proposed industry specification for the integration of mobile applications into car dashboard systems developed by Nokia and Consumer Electronics for Automotive (CE4A) – to duplicate the display of a smartphone on the in-dash display and allow control through the COMAND user interface.

The update means users will be able to surf the web – while stationary, mind you – and access integrated services through Mercedes-Benz online, such as weather information and a special destination search via Google. Drivers will also be able to download a route that has been previously configured on a PC using Google Maps. It should be noted, however, that being Nokia’s baby, it is currently the only company to announce Terminal Mode will be installed on its handsets – up to 150 million worldwide from next year.

Other new features for the C-Class include the debut of a new telematics system that will gradually be introduced in other model series, larger displays, telephone directory transfer, the ability to display SMS messages, Bluetooth streaming of music and a USB port in the center armrest.

Meanwhile, the updated navigation system of COMAND Online also sees that addition of a 3D display with plastic city views, the ability to record and repeat routes previously covered, the importation of specific personal destinations via an SD card, and the ability to display four alternative routes on the map at the same time.

Mercedes-Benz will debut the new C-Class at NAIAS 2011 in Detroit in January, with sales set to start in late March 2011.