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The new Mercedes C-Class is 100 kilos lighter than its predecessor (Photo: Michelin)

DETROIT -- Daimler unveiled the new Mercedes C-Class here, unwrapping a car that has shed 100 kilos of weight while adding a wealth of driver-assistance technologies, many of them imported directly from the bigger E- and S-Class models.

The German premium carmaker took the wraps off the updated version of its best-selling model at the Detroit auto show here. It comes with energy-saving LED lights, a 7 inch freestanding centrally positioned monitor and a head-up display, a first for the C-Class.

The car, which will go on sale later this year, features Daimler's new "Frontbass" sound system, which uses parts of the body structure as a resonance chamber for better in-car audio.

The navigation system in the new C-Class has an option to receive live traffic data through the internet. Through a mobile phone connected via Bluetooth, various online functions are available.

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, when introducing the new model, cited the broad range of options. "This is the most individual and multi-faceted C-Class ever," he said.

Driver-assistance technologies coming from the S- and E-Class models give the C-Class a high level of "automotive intelligence" from day one, Zetsche said. He cited in particular the "Stop-and-Go-Pilot," which allows a form of autonomous driving in cueing traffic.

DSC00184-300x225 VW CEO Martin Winterkorn checks out the new C-Class. Daimler R&D Chief Thomas Weber gives the sales pitch (Photo: Arjen Bongard)

In a briefing with reporters during the auto show, Zetsche said Mercedes will continue to add partial autonomous driving technologies to its cars in coming years. But he said next to remaining technical issues, regulatory and ethical considerations need to be addressed. On the regulatory side, he said discussions between the auto industry and governance bodies are in early stages. With regard to potential ethical dilemmas, he cited a hypothetical situation where an autonomous car has only two bad options in a given situation."If neither choice is a good one, how does the car decide?"

The new C-class will have various gasoline and diesel engines, but will, additionally, be available as a diesel hybrid.