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C means Comfort mode.

On my van there's a button [ correction ] named DYNAMIC near the emergency lights button, to switch the transmission profile between Comfort, Manual and Economy. The van shifts differently, but MB wore me out with the fact that it defaults to C, every time I started the van and I just wanted E. So, I'm no longer doing the daily push to Economy. It is all in the right foot :)
 

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I believe the button was left out on newer models with 9-speed; and the shift pattern is always Comfort. As it is on most Benzes. It may be something that adapts on the fly, these days to the driver. Our other vehicles have C or Sport.
 

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While I initially disliked paddle shifters on our SUV and my van - like seriously we’re not going to the track ;) - they are handy when towing or loaded up. Once the break in period kind of had passed I started using them when I have a trailer in tow, or I am carrying a good load, I will coast down and use the - paddle / downshift to engine brake a bit in small steps, in combination with having my foot ready on the brake. Then just hold the + upshift to go back to full auto.
 

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Surprisingly, Mercedes kinda encourages using the transmission for braking on grades, noting the extra brake wear from the downhill speed control cruise control. Back in the dawn of time, I was taught that "brake linings are cheaper than transmissions."

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I have a few straight short downhill stretches on my usual backroad route. I know it will automatically brake so I just switch off the speed control for a few seconds and let it coast until I'm on the flat again.
Plant Tree Infrastructure Road surface Natural landscape
 

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Question, when it brakes automatically, do the brake lights go on?
Great question -- not that I am aware of, but I've never actually checked. I am saying this based on the reaction of other drivers on steep downhills when I am holding speed right on the limit.
 

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Surprisingly, Mercedes kinda encourages using the transmission for braking on grades, noting the extra brake wear from the downhill speed control cruise control. Back in the dawn of time, I was taught that "brake linings are cheaper than transmissions."
I don't think anything has changed. Brakes are for deceleration, and gears are selected for the speed you want to maintain. You wouldn't want to ride the brakes to maintain speed on a long descent, then or now.
 

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I don't think anything has changed. Brakes are for deceleration, and gears are selected for the speed you want to maintain. You wouldn't want to ride the brakes to maintain speed on a long descent, then or now.
Respectfully questioning as to a hard downshift on an automatic transmission -- the 7G-Tronic has a maximum torque input of 295 ft-lbs. But the 7G does have a locking torque converter, so I suppose it's fine to rev the engine for speed control. I'm still willing to pay for brakes and rotors given my gentle driving style -- I am at 35,000 with plenty of wear left (getting rechecked Thursday when the recalls get done). But my parking brake is getting close to the floor.

Never use the automatic transmission to slow down
If you were taught to drive with a manual gearbox, you may have learned to downshift the transmission to slow the vehicle down while approaching a stop light or descending a hill. This practice is not acceptable in automatic transmissions because a forced downshift at high-engine RPMs can result in excessive transmission wear, specifically to the clutch friction plates and the transmission bands. When you need to come to a stop or slow down in an automatic vehicle, always apply pressure to the brake and leave the gear selector alone.
 

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I don't think anything has changed. Brakes are for deceleration, and gears are selected for the speed you want to maintain. You wouldn't want to ride the brakes to maintain speed on a long descent, then or now.
Also, why wouldn't Mercedes simply program the cruise control to prioritize lower transmission gears over braking for the cruise control? Sounds contradictory to me.
 

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Never use the automatic transmission to slow down
If you were taught to drive with a manual gearbox, you may have learned to downshift the transmission to slow the vehicle down while approaching a stop light or descending a hill. This practice is not acceptable in automatic transmissions because a forced downshift at high-engine RPMs can result in excessive transmission wear...
I think this is a bit mixed up. Downshifting to decelerate (as when approaching a stop light) has always been bad practice in manuals or automatics. Use the brakes. But holding on to a gear on a long descent to maintain speed (instead of riding the brakes) is good practice.

With no engine braking a laden van would set its brakes on fire descending the Tejon Pass.
 

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I learned to downshift stick shift while driving with a load, was told a bit of engine breaking doesn't hurt, so I have done some careful downshifting at times to come to a stop or to go down long downhill stretches, mostly with a manual and sometimes with an automatic. Especially when loaded or towing. Vehicles were in my possession passed onto the next owner with >100k km, 120k miles, 200k miles. No transmission issue.

If MB didn't want us to shift, why do they give manual mode and paddle shifters in possibly every vehicle these days??

99% of the time, I let the computer do its thing.
And, I have tried to drive in manual mode with the paddles ... my brain is not yet wired for it, if ever. LOL.
 

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I learned to drive a manual at 13. I was instructed to drive the track as fast as possible without using the brakes. I'm ruined for life.

The biggest concern I have with the paddle shifters is that a driver that hasn't read the manual (everyone) wont know what happened or how to reverse it when they bump the shifter by accident. Also, the manual says don't down shift or put it in park incorrectly. Can't the computer prevent that? I have to over-warn people how to use the wipers to prevent breaking the transmission by hitting P by accident.
 

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This practice is not acceptable in automatic transmissions because a forced downshift at high-engine RPMs can result in excessive transmission wear, specifically to the clutch friction plates and the transmission bands.
Or bent/blown piston arm/ring. #LiveAndLearn
 
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I think this is a bit mixed up. Downshifting to decelerate (as when approaching a stop light) has always been bad practice in manuals or automatics. Use the brakes. But holding on to a gear on a long descent to maintain speed (instead of riding the brakes) is good practice.

With no engine braking a laden van would set its brakes on fire descending the Tejon Pass.
Tejon Pass! I remember the old US 99 "Ridge Route" with the water stops on the upgrade and multiple truck gravel pits on the downgrade. Many good men died building that road.

I understand a hard downshift is a bad idea (unless you can double clutch a manual as I learned in high school drivers' ed on a Datsun 610), but I am questioning revving the engine on a long downgrade to hold speed unless it is extremely steep. I don't especially like to rev the engine into the high 4k's.

I suppose I am looking for logic which may not be present. If MB was so concerned about the brakes, why didn't they program the cruise control to downshift (or downshift earlier) for speed control.

The moral of the story here is that the cruise control is misleading in that it does hold speed quite well on downgrades, but MB doesn't want you to use that feature. I have used the M mode often, and I don't get much engine braking until I am down to 4th gear, which make sense since 5 is 1:1 and 6 and 7 are overdrives on the 7G-Tronic. I suppose I will have to get over my distaste of over-revving the engine on downgrades.
 

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Down shifting on a hill is probably the only time my engine gets its revs up ... :D

If it is quite steep, I just combine the two, bit of engine braking, bit of wheel braking ... to also alert the folks behind that I'm not going to free wheel this, get a ticket in the process or lose control somewhere in a curve half a mile ahead. Some long downhills, you get a good overview and can just let her speed up and roll without having to worry about braking or slowing down ...

All in all, I thought a bit of engine braking was encouraged to save the brakes ... especially when towing. My utility trailer has some size and weight, but it doesn't have brakes. So, I just take my time getting up to speed, anticipate everything as much as I can, ...
 

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Yes, anticipate. Slow down before the hill and gear down to help maintain your speed. If I start to speed up I apply the brakes intermittently to bring the speed down. The faster you go the faster your brakes heat up. If it's really steep go slower with a lower gear. Simple physics. Even with trailer brakes I don't want them overheating either.
Also, the engine gets its torque (and therefore power) because of the turbo boost. I don't think turbo will help with engine breaking so it's like any 2L engine.
 
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