Update: A Mercedes-Benz spokesperson confirmed to CNET that the new C-class will integrate Google Maps as part of the Mercedes-Benz Apps feature, a $14 per month option.
The Mercedes-Benz C-class has come due for an update, and our first clue as to how it will look came in some new photos of the interior. Beyond simple design, however, these photos reveal some new connectivity integrated with the head unit: Google maps.
One of Mercedes-Benz's photos shows an apps screen, with an icon for Google Maps sitting next to a Facebook icon, the latter app currently integrated into models such as the S550. Buttressing the idea that Mercedes-Benz has integrated Google Maps, but also confusing the issue somewhat, is another photo showing the new model's LCD with an image that looks like it was taken from Google Earth.
Newer Mercedes-Benz models come with a mobile data connection and integrate such apps as Facebook and Yelp. If the company has integrated Google Maps, it would likely be complementary with a set of maps stored in the vehicle.
Audi uses Google Earth satellite imagery for its navigation system, although the head unit's computer performs all route calculation. The Tesla Model S offers Google Maps for its main navigation system, and buyers can opt for stored maps for navigation when outside of a data coverage area.
In a press release, Mercedes-Benz says the new C-class will use an updated controller for the infotainment system, letting drivers use swipe and tap gestures to call up menus and other vehicle functions.
Mercedes-Benz will build the new C-class at its Tuscaloosa, Ala., manufacturing facility. The new model goes on sale in fall of next year, and should be unveiled at one of the majorshows coming in the next few months.