Update: As we were writing this article, Mercedes-Benz dropped another teaser confirming a new C 111 concept is coming. A short video shows a digital grille that illuminates with the words one eleven spreading between round headlights.


Something is brewing at Mercedes-Benz, and it's related to the family of C 111 concept cars from the automaker's past. Shared today on Mercedes' social media channels, we're treated to a pair of images showing some digital lights with round shapes and a curious shade of orange. And that's not all.

First, we direct your attention to the Mercedes-Benz Instagram account. One photo shows a round digital headlight in an oval grille, with the other showing a round taillight. Of particular interest for the front photo is what's behind the grille. We're used to seeing varying degrees of silver or grey from Mercedes but that's clearly an orange header with a bonnet line visible just behind. The colour is a clue, as it looks very close to the shade used on the early C 111 prototypes. As for the round lights in an oval frame, there's a strong resemblance to the C 111/II, the second and arguably most famous of the series that debuted in 1970.


Without additional context, a C 111 connection with these teaser images would be difficult to justify. However, Mercedes-Benz recently shared several images of the classic C 111/II on its social channels leading up to this teaser post, and some of those have very similar angles to the teaser headlights and taillights. This can't be a coincidence.

And then we have the coup de grace for this teaser campaign, coming not from the automaker directly but rather, from Mercedes-Benz Chief Design Officer Gorden Wagener. He also shared images of the old C 111 on social, then dropped a teaser of his own while flat-out saying "The timeless C 111 is ready to inspire a new era of iconic luxury."


Wagener's post adds a third teaser image to the mix, and it's one that leaves us with some questions. We see what appears to be H 243 lit up in a taillight housing. H243 is the generational code for the Mercedes-Benz EQA. Could this mean a new C 111 concept is coming that incorporates aspects of the EQA into its design? Or does this designation mean something else?

For those still sussing out exactly what the C 111 is, Mercedes-Benz introduced a cool orange sports car concept called the C 111 in 1969. It was powered by a rotary engine, and in 1970 a follow-up called the C 111/II debuted. It's the concept most often seen in photos, but the C 111 story doesn't end there. A dozen C 111/II test cars were built, ending with a turbo diesel replacing the Wankel engine. Things got crazy after that with the C 111/III getting a radical aerodynamic body and a more powerful diesel engine for extreme speeds. The final concept was the C 111/IV in 1979, packing a twin-turbo V8 and a 250-mph top speed.

Are we on the cusp of seeing the C 111/V with an electric powertrain? Based on these teasers, it's safe to say something is coming and we will have all the information as soon as Mercedes sees fit to share it with the world. Stay tuned.