A prototype of the next General Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been found to be tested with minimal camouflage, further hinting at the model’s final production design before launch in 2021.
The C-Class has been redesigned from the ground up, featuring highly efficient new hybrid drivetrains and a few key drawings of advanced autonomous driving technology.
Sales of the C-Class have fallen sharply in recent years due to buyers’ attraction to SUVs, with the German manufacturer providing fifth-generation models with many of the advances demonstrated by the new S-Class. The new C-Class, codenamed W-206, will challenge the Audi A4 and BMW 3 series when it hits the UK showrooms in 2021.
As evidenced by the latest prototypes, the design of the new C-Class is a clear evolution of the styling shown in today’s model. Although the exterior has a new front end with more angular headlights, the proportions, dimensions and overall silhouette of the new car remain very close to the model that replaces it.
The starting point for the new C-Class is Mercedes’ MRA (Modular Rear Architecture) platform. It provides many improvements over previous versions of steel and aluminum structures. These include, according to insiders, more advanced electronic architecture that supports a 48V system, which is the key to delivering a new range of plug-in hybrid drivetrains to the 2021 model.
Variations in AMG performance will return, but as revealed by Autocar, the flagship C63 will replace its V8 engine with a new hybridized 2.0-liter four-cylinder unit of more than 500 bhp.
The MRA structure uses a double will bone front and multi-link rear suspension, making it possible to offer damp adapted as standard across most market ranges, including the UK. The new C-Class will continue to offer alternatives to rear air springs in selected models.
As well as using C-Class Saloon, Estate, Kuf and Cabrolet, the new platform will include successor models to the JLC and GLC coupe, with a choice of both rear-wheel drive and allied four-wheel drive.
New all region models
In addition to the existing line-up, the Mercedes C-Class All Terrain model has given the green light to a new Audi A4 Allrod rival. Based on the standard estate, it will get a more stringent style, with unique bumper and wheel-arch cladding, increased ride height and beef underbody protection systems already brought to larger E-Class areas.