It looks cold north of the Arctic Circle.
With winter fast approaching those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, cold-weather testing is beginning to heat up. We got our first look of the next Mercedes-Benz C-Class just a few weeks ago, but another prototype was recently spotted getting a thorough workout in a very snowy environment. That’s because the action comes from Lapland Proving Ground, located north of the Arctic Circle in Finland. Let’s hope the seat heaters are fully functional in this prototype.
And we are definitely looking at an early prototype. Aside from the swirling camo wrap all around, this car also wears bulky covers up front to conceal the grille, fascia, and part of the bonnet. Taillights are obviously prototype-spec placeholders, and there’s additional cladding on the boot and rear fascia to hide design changes. Still, we can tell from the profile that designers aren’t rocking the boat. The swooping lines of the saloon are very familiar and should pay homage to the C-Class lineage.
Gallery: Next-Generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class Spy Photos
That’s not to say it will be the same car with a different face. In fact, we expect the next C-Class to be all-new from the ground up, riding on a modified version of the company’s MRA2 rear-wheel-drive platform shared with the larger E-Class. Such a change suggests the saloon will grow, not unlike its main competitor, the new BMW 3 Series. However, sources tell us the wheelbase and outer dimensions should stay true to the current C-Class. The real magic happens inside, where the new underpinnings should offer a bit more room for people and their things.
It also creates more room for more tech, and the next C-Class should be slathered in equipment. Look for a full-on digital dash with the latest MBUX infotainment system, driver assists, and more. Under the bonnet is still a mystery, though a range of four- and six-cylinder engines are expected, along with hybrid powertrains. AMG will inevitably inject some crazy levels of performance as well.
We are only in the beginning phases of prototype testing in public so we don’t have any specific timeframe for when the new C-Class will arrive. With the current model still enjoying a recent refresh, we don’t expect to see the next-generation saloon any time before 2020, likely debuting as a 2021 model.