Spy shots

Next-generation 2021 Mercedes C-class spied

With Mercedes hard at work on the all-new C-class, this is what we know so far about its big seller

Mercedes is in for a big couple of years with all three of its core saloons to be significantly refreshed or replaced with all-new models. First in 2020 we’ll see Merc’s updated E-class saloon at the Geneva motor show, with the all-new S-class flagship following later in the year. But it’s the new C-class that will follow in early 2021 that will make the greatest change to the British roadscape, as it’s typically Mercedes’ best-selling model

Following the success of the current W205-generation C-class, Mercedes is not expected to deviate with the new model, sharing a similar rear-wheel-drive architecture sitting underneath the fairly compact three-box saloon shape. We do expect it to grow physically in this new generation though, especially considering the new CLA saloon is now actually a few mm longer than its supposedly larger and more expensive sibling.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

This rear-wheel-drive platform will inform the new C-class’s continued use of a longitudinally mounted engine and gearbox, although it remains unknown how far the new powertrain range will spread in comparison to the current model’s sweep of four-cylinder to V8 engines. We do expect many of the new C-class’s variants to be electrified though, building on the current C350e plug-in with a wider variety of mild- and plug-in options.

The exterior design will also be an evolutionary affair, and should take cues from the new S-class. Expect slimmer elements such as the grille and lighting units, as well as the smoother and more restrained design language found on the new CLA and CLS. To keep the similarly sized CLA at arms length though, the new C-class will avoid any coupe-like sweeping rooflines, leaving that to the traditional coupe that will follow the saloon.

The interior is set for a more extensive change, with a much larger emphasis on digital interfaces, likely taking a few hints from this year’s new S-class in its screen layout and input methods. Rather than the side-by-side layout we see in current E-class models (and its various derivatives), we expect the new C-class to introduce a larger portrait-format screen that dominates a majority of the centre console, with a separate driver’s display sitting behind the steering wheel.

> Click here for our review of the new Aston Martin Vantage

What about future AMG versions? AMG’s push into high-performance plug-in hybrid models in 2020 could well render a V8-powered C63 replacement at risk, but at this stage it all remains speculation. Mercedes’ new-generation straight-six petrol, as seen in the CLS53, could make a good replacement in performance terms, but it will likely struggle to match the drama which helps define the current C63 against it’s six-cylinder rivals.

The new C-class is expected to be revealed in early 2021, followed by new versions of the estate, coupe and cabriolet. AMG models will follow soon after, and won’t just answer our questions as to the powertrains they will run, but also kick off another generation of rivalry with the all-new BMW M3 saloon. No pressure.

Recommended

Visit/mercedes/18211/mercedes-amg-project-one-testing-reaches-final-phases
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG One hypercar shown in new teaser video 

18 Aug 2020
Visit/mercedes/202762/volkswagen-golf-r-vs-mercedes-amg-a35-business-class-hot-hatchbacks-face-off
Mercedes

Volkswagen Golf R vs Mercedes-AMG A35 – business class hot hatchbacks face-off

17 Jun 2020
Visit/mercedes/202756/mercedes-amg-to-launch-new-eturbo-tech-on-next-generation-performance-models
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG to launch new eTurbo tech on next-generation performance models

17 Jun 2020
Visit/aston-martin/202655/mercedes-amg-boss-to-take-control-of-aston-martin
Aston Martin

Mercedes-AMG boss to take control of Aston Martin

26 May 2020

Most Popular

Visit/porsche/panamera/203126/porsche-panamera-turbo-s-2020-review
Porsche Panamera

Porsche Panamera Turbo S 2020 review 

Monster straight-line pace and impressive handling, but the Panamera sweet spot is found elsewhere
26 Sep 2020
Visit/ferrari/203127/ferrari-omologata-revealed-latest-bespoke-commission-a-v12-super-coupe
Ferrari

Ferrari Omologata revealed – latest bespoke commission a V12 super coupe

One-off Ferrari Omologata revealed with bespoke body 789bhp V12 engine
25 Sep 2020
Visit/mclaren/203132/mclaren-765lt-2020-review-latest-long-tail-returns-to-reset-the-status-quo
McLaren

McLaren 765LT 2020 review – latest Long Tail returns to reset the status quo

McLaren’s latest Long Tail fulfills its brief in once again pushing the supercar to the next level, the 765LT just has to prove its magic on the road …
29 Sep 2020
Visit/ford/mustang/201971/ford-mustang-mach-e-gt-turns-up-electric-suv-to-459bhp
Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Mach-E GT turns up electric SUV to 459bhp

The all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV has gained a hot GT variant, rivalling Tesla’s Model Y Performance
28 Sep 2020