by Daniel DeGasperi

The all-new 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will move towards the next S-Class limousine in terms of its styling and, according to product development manager Peter Schmidt, the level of technology it will offer.

Speaking at the launch of the facelifted E-Class, Schmidt – who oversees development of all Mercedes-Benz sedan-based models – confirmed key details about the next-generation C-Class, while the prototype seen here in public road testing reveals a strong resemblance to the next S-Class snapped almost undisguised last week.

Mercedes-Benz has created a brand new rear-wheel-drive platform for the next C-Class that will be more easily adaptable between models, including the next GLK-Class compact SUV due in 2015 – to be made in right-hand drive for the first time – and the next E-Class expected a year later.

“It is a completely new C-Class,” confirmed Schmidt.

“The body in white is new, the exterior, the interior…”

In addition to scoring a brand new platform, the next Mercedes-Benz C-Class will also borrow both technology that recently debuted in the facelifted E-Class, and technology that will be offered in the S-Class due later this year.

“The electrical systems I think will be adapted from the E-Class and the S-Class,” said the product boss, adding that “the new C-Class will get all the [E-Class] safety systems.”

Among the Merc-first safety systems making their debut on E-Class, and which are set for the C-Class, is Pre-Safe Brake, which detects pedestrians in addition to still and moving objects, and brakes the car to a standstill; and Pre-Safe Plus, which detects an imminent rear collision, activates the hazard lights to alert the driver behind, then tightens seatbelts and applies the park brake at standstill to minimise pushing into a vehicle ahead during a rear impact.

Body materials may also be shared with the next S-Class, and 2016 E-Class, with Schmidt explaining that “reducing weight is the key for better fuel consumption … so we will have some development in this area [with C-Class].

“But reducing weight is expensive,” he added.

Schmidt went on to announce that a C-Class Hybrid will form part of the fourth-generation line-up, following the E-Class Hybrid launched last year – Merc’s first hybrid – and the S-Class Hybrid expected in September.

“You have a rollout with hybrid cars on a large amount in future,” he said.

“If we start the roll-out of hybrid cars, you’d have to think the next C-Class will be a hybrid.”

While committing to hybrid technology, the product chief also confessed that there has been a delay with the roll-out of hybrid technology.

“Development of the hybrid took a long time,” said Schmidt. “I think with hybrid we started a little bit late, the Japanese started early. So we have for us a very new technology.”

The E-Class Hybrid launched in 2012 was the first Mercedes-Benz production model that combined an internal combustion engine with an electric motor. Unlike most rival hybrids, however, Schmidt believes the Mercedes-Benz method to team a diesel engine with an electric motor is smarter than using petrol.

“My opinion is to have a diesel engine with low consumption rather than a petrol.

“It’s better to have diesel on the hybrid than petrol on the hybrid”

The all-new fourth-generation Mercedes-Benz C-Class is expected at “the end of next year or beginning of the year after [2015]” according to Schmidt. The prototype snapped cold weather testing reveals a higher waistline and softer rear styling than the current six-year-old generation.

An AMG version is expected after, with an AMG engineering boss confirming that the next C-Class AMG will be produced in all-wheel drive and for right hand drive markets.

  • SM872

    As an owner of the current model I am more than happy with the size and space….why must each new model however be longer and wider etc..? Meanwhile parking bays are getting narrower and more and more twits keep using the car next to them as the doorstop!!

    At this rate the next gen will be the size of the current S-class.

    And this goes for all manufacturers, I happen to be sitting across the road from two Carollas parked one behind the other, one current shape and the other probably an early 2000 model. How can they seriously be considered to be in the same category of car “small”.

    • Theo

      It sounds like you bought your car based on its size rather than its character. That’s weird.

      • 451

        common sense tells me he chose a brand he wanted/thought that has character to him, then chose a pair of shoes that fits him. nothing weird at all, just you.

      • SM872

        I’m not sure what you mean by “character” as I presume some buyers actually purchase a car that suits their needs and requirements, size being one of them.

        The point I was trying to make was that “small” cars appear to have become””medium” with “medium” now verging on “large”. The new mazda 6 is in my view a point in case. Is this the manufacturers’ way of creating new sub-categories?

         Just my 2c

    • 451

      +10, i don’t get why a little car like the i20 in a few years time might become the size of an i30, and by that time the i30 would be as big as an i40…

    • Smart US

       for your peace of mind – Corolla took step back – the new one is smaller than the previous one… there is hope

      • Josef

         New Corolla ZRE182R is 30mm longer than old ZRE152R

    • pixxxels

      Simple answer is more crash safety equipement (especially airbags). But that doesn’t fully explain the drastic size increases we are seeing with every new generation.

      I read something about it once – car makers grow their cars (in size and price) to align with the tastes of the age group who originally bought their car. This is important, as people who have previously bought a model line (eg. Golf) are more likely to associate positive connotations with that model line, and more likely to purchase that model line again (as long as it still fits their needs).

      So, for example, you buy a Golf in 1990 when you’re 20 and its tiny, because you’re a kid and you don’t really need any space. Buy a Golf in 2000 and its a fair bit larger, because now you maybe have a wife/husband, need to move house, etc. Buy a Golf in 2012 and it dwarfs your original 1990 because now you have kids to carry round, bags, AND you’re probably fat now. Its also more expensive because now you can afford it.

      So the car-makers move with the times, so they can appeal to both the original customers of their car, as well as new customers.

      • SM872

        Thanks pixxxels that kinda makes sense..

  • Retired39

    The article on 
    [2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class gets hybrid, AWD C63, S-Class styling]
    the C-Class and the S-Class has to be one of the poorest written articles I have ever read !!

  • Zaccy16

    C Class hybrid sounds good

  • CLS500

    I wonder if they are going to make a 4 door coupe like the A and E classes. It would fill the gap nicely and by then I might be looking to downsize.

  • Luke Brinsmead

    To admit “we’re late to the hybrid party” is brave, for a big company such as Mercedes-Benz.

  • Bryan

    I remember a Mercedes ad campaign from a few years ago saying that you don’t need all wheel drive if you have a properly calibrated traction control system; they demonstrated this by [very impressively] racing a couple of S Class sedans around a frozen lake.  I will admit that I haven’t read this review in its entirety but I wonder why they have changed their minds?  Is it to keep up with Audi?

  • Okaben

    It’s to keep up with Subaru