Mercedes-Benz‘s C-Class has been rather successful for the Stuttgart manufacturer. Starting out in 1993 as the smallest car in the German-based carmaker’s portfolio, it exhibited handsome styling and competent dynamics that made for a true gentlemen’s express in comparison to the more handling-focused BMW 3-Series of the same era. These days, models like the A and B-Class sit at the smallest end of the scale, leaving the current W204 C-Class as a true well-rounded luxury mid-sizer.
The current W204 is arguably my most favorite C-Class to date – especially the autobahn-storming AMG C63 and C63 ‘Black’ coupe. As with most products these days, there is a consumer-driven need to update, replace and chuck out of the old; however, not to worry – an all new C-Class is waiting in the wings.
Illustrated to be as close as possible to the real thing, we’ve decided to beat the official reveal and offer glimpse of Mercedes-Benz‘s mid-size future contender. First things first: no, it’s not the latest S-Class, although it does vaguely resemble one after going through the dryer. This trend of subtle automotive massaging is nothing new – Porsche have been doing it for years, as have Audi and BMW in recent times. Nevertheless, this upcoming sedan is one rather handsomely proportioned vehicle.
Starting with the rounded E-Class-inspired radiator sports grille and moving to the creases leading down from the outer-edges of the LED headlights; it’s all very tense but fluid at the same time. This surface tension flows from the long, purposeful hood to a side character line that starts at the front, sweeping down over the rear quarters. Standstill dynamism is accentuated with the convex-concave side panel pressings that add elegance, yet complement its staunch athletic character.
Above the sculptured C-Channel, the roofline looks very similar to that of the current car, yet has been rounded ‘here and there’ to gel with the all-new bodywork. Out back, the taillights now move slightly outwards, separating them from the trunk shut-line in a similar fashion to that of the latest S-Class.
Under the svelte attire is an all-new interior that looks to be a substantial change from its predecessor. Borrowing heavily from the new Mercedes A-Class hatch and GLA crossover, it employs a dashboard that is much more rounded and visually interesting. Protruding air-vents are now round in profile, whilst a large infotainment screen dominates at eye-level. Expect a plethora of gadgets and driving assist programs to filter down from the S-Class, making for a much-improved driving affair – while passengers will appreciate the additional rear legroom.
Helping gain this extra back-seat real estate is the MRA (Mercedes Rear Wheel Architecture) flexible platform, which is expected to assits the C-Class grow to up to 100mm in length. As with the latest crop of modular platforms, the aim is not only for reducing costs, but for also reducing weight – which is said to be up to 150 lbs in the upcoming model.
Driving the new architecture is an expected inventory of engines ranging from 1.6 and 2.0-litre fours, 2.2-litre CDI four-cylinder diesel and a range-topping 3.0-litre V6 (until the brutish AMG versions land). Petrol and Diesel Hybrid variants are also said to be in the works. Making the most out of the frugal new power-plants will be either be the current 7G-tronic or an upcoming nine-speed automatic transmission, feeding power to the correct end of the car – that being the rear (although AWD is will be offered too).
Expect Mercedes-Benz to officially reveal the car early next year at the 2014 Detroit International Motor Show. Other variants will include a Wagon, Coupe and Convertible; to go all-out against firm opposition from Audi, BMW, Lexus and something new that Jaguar will to bring on the table.
Certainly exciting times ahead for all of us with petrol running through our veins – let the mid-size luxury battle ensue! What are your thoughts: has Mercedes-Benz played it too safe, or have they hit the nail on the proverbial head? Tell us what your reactions are below the jump.
By Josh Byrnes
Photo Renderings Copyright: Carscoops / Josh Byrnes