2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Hybrids are working their way into seemingly everything these days--race cars, supercars, luxury cars. The next-gen C-Class may take the hybrid drivetrain to the extreme, however, putting one in almost every variant available, according to a new report.
Citing unnamed "company sources," Autocar says the next-gen C-Class, due in late 2013, will feature hybrid drivetrains in almost every model. The only cars exempted will be the the smallest diesel-powered cars, which have historically been reserved for non-U.S. markets. The obvious reason? Fuel consumption targets.
Getting emissions down and mpgs up is the name of the game for almost every manufacturer these days, and Mercedes-Benz is no exception. The rather extreme solution of making all, or nearly all, of its highest-volume seller with hybrid drivetrains would have a huge impact on the company's overall fleet rating. It could also have an effect on how the brand is perceived, particularly here in the U.S.
Smaller engines, including four- and possibly three-cylinder mills, are tipped as the basis for the hybrids, with the electric portions of the drivetrains pickup up the slack in power and performance.
We don't expect to see the puniest of the hybrid setups here, however, with milder solutions more likely--pairing the relatively strong four-cylinder in the coming C250 with a hybrid system could take the place of the C350 for many drivers. With our relatively low price ceilings and the need for an entry-level car, we don't expect the pure combustion-powered four-cylinder to go away soon--Mercedes is predicting half of its U.S. 2012 C-Class sales will be the new turbo four--but at this point, anything is possible.