Prototypes of the fifth-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class featuring new production-based bodywork have been pressed into action for the first time, ahead of a planned 2020 launch.
Spied close to the German car maker’s headquarters near Stuttgart, the upmarket four-door has undergone an evolutionary redevelopment to make it competitive against next year’s BMW 3 Series.
Key to the changes is a reworked platform, new hybrid drivetrains, a revised chassis and a much more advanced 48V electric architecture. Insiders suggest it will offer new autonomous driving functions, including hands-off driving at speeds of up to 81mph.
Mercedes hasn’t departed greatly from the design lineage of the popular fourth-generation C-Class, but closer inspection of the prototypes reveals some detailed changes including a lower front end and a more heavily angled rear window that serves to shorten the length of the bootlid. The new C-Class has also undergone extensive aerodynamic development. Officials suggest it has a Cd of just 0.25, representing best in class for aerodynamic efficiency.