Mercedes-Benz has plenty in store for the next generation of its volume-selling C-Class and those plans include an All-Terrain variant.
The UK's Autocar reports the C-Class All-Terrain will be conceptually similar to the existing E-Class All-Terrain. That means the addition of black plastic wheel arch cladding, chunkier tires and a modestly increased ride height, among other soft-roader tweaks.
We first reported on a possible C-Class All-Terrain way back in 2015 and it appears the higher-riding E-Class has been successful enough to warrant an expansion of the All-Terrain line. The Audi A4 Allroad and Volvo V60 Cross Country will finally have some direct competition, the two having enjoyed a duopoly on this niche for several years now.
It’s unclear whether the C-Class All-Terrain would substitute the C-Class 'Estate' in Australia as the higher-riding E-Class has. There will continue to be a conventional wagon variant, at least in other markets, along with sedan, coupe and convertible styles. The first examples of the new range are expected to reach European showrooms in 2021.
The next W206-series C-Class, like the current W205, will use Mercedes’s 'Modular Rear Architecture' and will be little changed in overall proportions and dimensions.
There will, however, be a more advanced electrical architecture. This will include a 48V system to support a range of 'EQ Boost' mild-hybrid and 'EQ Power' plug-in hybrid variants.
Four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines will continue to account for the bulk of the C-Class range. Mercedes-AMG will introduce next-generation C43 and C63 models, both of which will have hybrid tech. The C63 will also switch to all-wheel-drive.
In most markets, Mercedes-Benz is expected to make adaptive damping standard across the range, though its Airmatic air suspension will remain optional.
Next year, Mercedes-Benz’s next-generation Drive Pilot function is set to debut on the seventh-generation S-Class. Featuring Level 3 autonomy, Drive Pilot will allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel for extended distances and the car will continue to drive at speeds of up to 128km/h.
This technology will be filtered down to the next-generation C-Class, as will a new Level 4 automated valet parking function that will be able to navigate the car through parking garages.
Autocar reports the W206 interior will draw on the "EQ Concept" for inspiration, presumably meaning the Vision EQS (above) from this year's Frankfurt motor show. The dashboard will reportedly be less bulky and the cabin more spacious in feel than the current C-Class.
The current W205 series of C-Class was introduced here in August 2014 and a refreshed model landed in August 2018. The C-Class remains the segment leader in sales but saw a downturn last year, sales falling by 40.9 per cent.
Though sales were up in China, they were down in Europe (by 14 per cent) and the US (by 21 per cent). That’s not unusual for a model at the end of its lifespan, however, and the C-Class has continued to post impressive numbers despite strong competition, including from within the same showroom.