US site Edmunds says Mercedes insiders have revealed the new five-door variant is designed to rival the Audi A5 Sportback and BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo, joining the usual sedan, wagon and coupe.
Based on the new Mercedes Rear Drive Architecture (MRA), the all-new C-Class is due mid 2014 and will be available in both left-and right-hand drive variants right from the start as it prepares to go head-to-head with the BMW 3 Series.
Mercedes plans to aim its C-Class hatch directly at the BMW GranTurismo and says the new five-door will join the lineup as the sportiest variant on offer, until the coupe arrives in 2015.
“It is aimed at markets ... that enjoy taut-feeling athletic cars,” one insider admitted to Edmunds during last week’s Frankfurt motor show.
The 2015 C-Class – codenamed W205 – will have a wheelbase of around 2849mm, or approximately 102mm longer than the current C-Class sedan, while its overall length should stretch beyond 4699mm.
Benz considers the new model a critical milestone for its ongoing success with C-Class because the supposedly junior CLA-Class sedan, based off the front-wheel drive MFA architecture, is longer overall than the existing C-Class.
At 4630mm, the CLA is around 38mm longer from bumper to bumper, despite its shorter wheelbase.
Most of the additional wheelbase will benefit rear seat passengers, who will appreciate the car’s longer, wider-opening doors for easier ingress and egress.
Front seat occupants will also be treated to a wider stance for its speedo and tacho, with a large TFT screen separating the two gauges. There will also be a state-of-the-art multi-media screen with next-generation hardware and graphics, all controlled by a single, console-mounted rotary dial.
Insiders told Edmunds the interior will be something special.
Not only will the 2015 C-Class use some of the most advanced lighting technology available to the automotive industry, but full LED headlamps will also be included in the list of options.
These will be synced to the company’s wide array of camera and sensing technology to actively scope for and warn unsuspecting pedestrians.