The next-generation Mercedes C-class will have hybrid technology on virtually every model in an attempt to drive average fuel consumption down to supermini levels, say company sources.
Expected to be launched in late 2013, the new C-class family is being developed to demanding CO2 targets. According to one insider, the most frugal diesel-engined model in the range is targeting average emissions of just 100g/km, while the most economic petrol version will come in between 110g/km and 120g/km.
Early prototypes are now being tested, but Autocar understands there is still some debate as to whether three-cylinder engines will be fitted. Another possibility is that the new cars will use four-pot engines equipped with cylinder deactivation technology, allowing the motors to occasionally run on just two cylinders.
As well as these downsized engines and electrical assistance from hybrid transmissions, the new C-class cars will benefit from greatly reduced friction in the engine, gearbox and wheel bearings. The cars’ overall weight, despite the addition of a small battery pack, electric motor and power electronics, will be reduced by around 10 per cent.