After lots of chances to see the development of the next-gen Mercedes-Benz C-Class, a new batch of spy shots offers an early look at the German brand testing the upcoming saloon's plug-in hybrid powertrain.
Gallery: Mercedes-Benz C-Class PHEV spy shots
The PHEV variant of the C-Class gains an extra cover on the driver side rear quarter panel that hides the spot for plugging in the vehicle. To spot it, look at the rear door handle and look farther to the right. As further evidence that this is the hybrid model, check out the windscreen where the yellow dot denotes that this one is electrified.
Mercedes plans to have 20 PHEV models available by the end of 2020. These electrified variants of the C-, E-, and S-Class all have 13.5-kilowatt-hour battery packs allowing for up to 31 miles of zero-emissions motoring.
Like the rest of the future C-Class lineup, the PHEV variant rides on a version of Mercedes' MRA2 platform. The wheelbase may grow slightly to increase cabin space, but weight increases would be minimal to nonexistent. The engineers still keep the exterior under heavy camouflage, which makes a difficult job of discerning the styling changes. The headlights appear smaller. Plus, the giant sensor in the centre of the grille suggests the availability of even more advanced driver assistance tech.
Spy shots don't offer a look inside the new C-Class yet. However, Mercedes' general ethos recently is to fill the dashboard with larger, better-looking screens for the MBUX infotainment system. It's safe to expect this trend to continue with upcoming models.
Look for the new C-Class to debut in 2020 and be on sale for the 2021 model year. Mercedes would stagger the launch of the various powertrains, so the PHEV might not be available at the saloon's launch.