Mercedes will enter the premium small saloon market in late 2013 with a swoopy new Mercedes CLS-inspired car based on the upcoming front-drive B-class.

Called the Mercedes CLC, and pictured here testing for the first time in the US, the new four-door will also spawn an AMG model as an indirect successor to the classic 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II.

See pics of the Mercedes CLC test mule

The CLC, codenamed C117, will use the long-wheelbase version of Mercedes’ new compact MFA platform that will also underpin the upcoming GLC off-roader (codenamed X156), as well as the new B-class (W426). A short-wheelbase iteration of the platform will be used for the rakish new A-class (W176).

Standard versions of the CLC will be offered in front-wheel drive, with selected models — including the AMG — coming equipped with four-wheel drive.

Turbocharged petrol engines include a 1.6 in 121bhp and 154bhp guises. There’s also a 207bhp 2.0, with 0-62mph performance of 7.0sec and a 145mph top speed. Diesels include a 1.8, in 108bhp and 134bhp forms, and a 2.1 with a choice of 168bhp or 201bhp.

The Volkswagen Golf R-rivalling CLC AMG will be powered by a twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre engine producing 296bhp. It will also have a dual-clutch gearbox, while other models get a six-speed manual gearbox as standard.

Greg Kable

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