The current Mercedes-Benz C-Class only underwent its mid-cycle update for 2019 but prototypes for the next-generation model have been testing for a while.
Our latest spy shots and video show some of the more advanced prototypes for the new C-Class which we expect on the market in 2021 as a 2022 model. Prototypes for the C-Class wagon destined for overseas markets are also testing.
The latest testers have lost a lot of the heavy camouflaged seen previously, revealing a car with a similar size and proportions to those of the current C-Class. The front looks to sit lower however, which lends the redesigned model a sportier stance, and there are clear influences from the redesigned 2021 S-Class, particularly for the lights.
The interior design will be a lot more radical, with a large infotainment screen similar to the one in the S-Class positioned in the center stack and another screen serving as the instrument cluster. You'll notice that the updated 2019 C-Class missed out on Mercedes' latest infotainment system known as MBUX, but the latest version of the system will appear in the new C-Class. It operates much like a smartphone's operating system and also uses 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 and is thus 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.
2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
In the powertrain department, look for the base model to stick with a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4, this time augmented with a mild-hybrid system. Above this is likely to be a plug-in hybrid system and then a C53 from AMG likely with a mild-hybrid powertrain. At the top of the range will be AMG's C63 which we expect to receive mild-hybrid treatment as well, and possibly a 4-cylinder engine in lieu of the current C63's V-8.
An electric sedan roughly the size of the C-Class but with interior space on par with the E-Class is also coming. Called the EQE, this will be a standalone model sitting in Daimler's EQ sub-brand for electric cars and targeting the Tesla Model 3 and upcoming BMW i4. A related EQE SUV is also in the works.
One final change with the new C-Class worth mentioning is production. Mercedes currently builds the C-Class for North America at its plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. This won't be the case for the next C-Class, though from which plant it will be sourced for North America hasn't been announced.