Mercedes-Benz's C-Class has only just undergone its mid-cycle update for 2019 but prototypes for the next-generation model are already out testing.
Our latest spy shots show some of the prototypes for the new C-Class, which we expect on the market in late 2020 as a 2021 model.
The testers are heavily camouflaged but the size and proportions appear similar to those of the current model. The front looks to sit lower, however, which lends the new C-Class a sportier stance.
The interior design will likely be a blend between the new A-Class and GLE's themes. You'll notice that the updated 2019 C-Class missed out on Mercedes' latest infotainment system known as MBUX, but it's a safe bet the system will appear on the new C-Class. It combines a digital instrument cluster with a large touchscreen display and allows the driver to use natural speech to control many vehicle functions.
Underpinning the new C-Class is an updated version of the current generation's MRA rear-wheel-drive platform. The platform actually made its debut in the current C-Class so is relatively young.
The updated version will bring significant weight savings primarily through increased use of aluminum over steel. This has been made possible due to advanced joining technologies including aluminum to steel welding.
2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
In the powertrain department, look for the base model to stick with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4. Above this is likely to be a plug-in hybrid system and then a C43 (or possibly C53) from AMG with the mild-hybrid system already found in the tuner's E53 and CLS53 models. At the top of the range will be AMG's C63 which we hear will receive the hybrid treatment as well.
Though it's yet to be confirmed, an electric sedan based on the C-Class should also be coming. This will be a standalone model sitting in Daimler's EQ sub-brand for electric cars and targeting the Tesla Model 3 and BMW's upcoming i4.
Stay tuned for updates as development continues.