When Gary Numan sang, “Here in my car, I feel safest of all,” he probably wasn’t thinking about the hundreds of germs and allergens that may be taking the ride with him.

In a study conducted at Queen Mary University in London a few years ago, an average of 700 different kinds of bacteria were found within car interiors, compared to 60 types in the average public toilet. From germs to dust mites to pollen, our cars can easily become a breeding ground for pure nastiness. When the average driver in North America spends approximately 1.5 hours per day in their vehicle, it’s a concern that Mercedes-Benz does not take lightly. 

In addition to testing for inhaled and contact allergens, Mercedes-Benz has been testing interior emissions of all its model series for more than 20 years. It’s this kind of dedication that helped Mercedes-Benz become the only vehicle manufacturer to earn the Seal of Quality of the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation (ECARF) for its passenger cars.

“The constant improvement of air quality in the interior has for many years now been a key aspect of the development of components and materials for Mercedes-Benz vehicles,” said Dr Jörg Breuer, Director Certification, Regulatory Affairs & Environment at Daimler AG.

The extensive testing and analysis carried out by Mercedes-Benz since 1992 has not been limited to avoiding allergens. A team of experts work up to six years before a vehicle is put into production to reduce interior emissions and to keep odors at a consistently pleasant level.

“In our estimation, Mercedes-Benz currently represents the benchmark in terms of allergen optimization for vehicles,” said Professor Dr Torsten Zuberbier, Director of the ECARF.

The new 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the latest Mercedes-Benz model to receive the ECARF Seal of Quality, thanks to several features, including dual-activated charcoal filters with an ionizer that uses an electrical charge to virtually eliminate certain viruses, bacteria and spores from the cabin, while creating a fresh-air sensation.

The new C-Class is also the only vehicle of its kind to offer tunnel detection via satellite navigation. Utilizing map information from the navigation system and the GPS location data, the system detects when the vehicle enters a tunnel, which can concentrate air pollution up to 1,000 times. The system then automatically closes the air recirculation flap in order to prevent the fume-filled air from entering the vehicle through the air vents. The flap reopens once the vehicle has left the tunnel.

It’s this kind of forward thinking that will continue to be necessary if we ever want to win the battle with bacteria.

Learn more about the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class at MBUSA.com.