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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - C-Class

C the light

Variations on a theme: New C-class will spawn a number of spin-offs in the next few years.

Wagon, coupe and cabrio C-class models are all coming, plus more engines

9 Aug 2007

MERCEDES-BENZ will extend its fourth-generation W204 C-class range, with an all-new wagon to be joined by Mk3 CLK coupe and convertible variants, as well as an SLK roadster, by 2011.

However, the existing CL203 Sports Coupe will continue with a massive makeover, rather than a complete redesign, to help Mercedes keep costs down.

There will also be an expansion of the sedan range that was released last week, with more supercharged petrol, turbo-diesel and performance variants on the horizon.

First model off the rank will be the W204 wagon, which is set for its first official engagement at the Frankfurt motor show in September. Australian buyers will have to wait until the first half of next year.

Like its sedan sibling, the wagon will be a significantly more involving drive than its predecessor, yet will do the right thing as a wagon by boasting a greater cargo capacity compared to today’s 470-litre offering.

Gunning for the iconic Audi RS4 Avant will be a C63 AMG Estate, powered by the same highly-strung V8 that will be fitted to the C-class sedan in the second quarter of 2008.

With a capacity of 6.2 litres, it produces 336kW of power at 6800rpm and 600Nm of torque at 5000rpm. Driving the rear wheels will be a reworked version of Mercedes’ 7GTronic seven-speed automatic gearbox.

Such outputs should be enough to hurtle the C63 AMG Estate to a sub-five second 0-100km/h sprint time, on the way to an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.

With the RS4, along with the recently announced BMW E92 M3 and Lexus IS-F all going V8, Mercedes is keen for its fastest C-class not to get swamped.

Mercedes may also follow Audi’s lead with the A4 3.0 TDI by importing a V6 turbo-diesel for the C-class sedan. In Europe, the top engine for now is a 3.0-litre common-rail turbo-diesel V6 delivering 165kW at 3800rpm and a massive 510Nm at between just 1600-2800rpm. This is only a little less torque than the C63 AMG.

Better still, this C320 CDI sedan fitted with the 7GTronic gearbox uses just 7.6L/100km and has a CO2 rating of 193g/km. Contrast this to the biggest V6 petrol engine on offer – the C350’s 3.5-litre V6 that offers 200kW at 6000rpm, 350Nm between 2400-5000rpm, 10L/100km and 232g/km of CO2 in its 7GTronic guise – and you can see the appeal of the V6 diesel C.

Such an engine, if it were to get the green light, would probably arrive sooner rather than later, and would complement the W204 C220 CDI’s 125kW/400Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder powerplant in the range.

At the other end of the scale is the return of the C180 Kompressor.

Not yet available in right-hand drive, this moniker is expected to recommence its role as the C-class price leader.

4 center imageSlotting in under the C200K, the C180K uses a variation of its supercharged 135kW/250Nm 1.8-litre twin-cam four-cylinder unit, pumping out 115kW at 5200rpm and 230Nm from 2600-4600rpm. At 7.6L/100km combined fuel consumption average for the five-speed automatic, it is 0.3L/100km more economical than the C200K, while the 180g/km C02 figure is down 7g.

Count on the C180K to kick off from the low-$50,000 range when it arrives sometime in the first half of 2008.

Next year should also see the debut of the heavily revised Sports Coupe. Mercedes-Benz will top and tail the current CL203 car, which was introduced in July 2001, with new sheetmetal and a comprehensively restyled interior.

This means that the basic understructure will continue with the seven-year old W203 C-class suspension.

GoAuto also understands that the doors and roof will be carried over, as well as most of the mechanical parts – although the Sports Coupe will use the latest range of engines found in the W204.

Production will also move from Sindelfingen, Germany, to Mercedes’ Juiz de Fora plant in Brazil.

Meanwhile, the third-generation CLK coupe will arrive sometime in 2009, followed about a year later by the four-seater CLK cabriolet Mk3.

As with the current car, the next CLK will be based on the C-class, which means that the advanced safety systems such as PRE-SAFE that debuted in the W204 C-class sedan are destined for the coupe and cabriolet.

The new CLK’s styling is believed to be more angled than the rather soft and organic form of the current car, with a larger body to take on rivals such as the new Audi A5.

Speculation is rife that the next-generation, W212 E-class – due to debut at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show – will use a stretched version of the W204 C-class’ modular platform, so the CLK might gain some of the new or improved technological gear expected to be introduced in the next E.

We should also see the third-generation SLK, built on a shortened version of the new C-class’ modular platform, by 2011. Today’s second-generation model, the R171, is still only three years old.

What's coming:
C-class wagon 1st half 2008
C180K sedan 1st half 2008
C63 AMG sedan 2nd qtr 2008
Sports Coupe 2nd half 2008
C63 AMG wagon 2nd half 2008
CLK III coupe 2009
CLK III cabriolet 2010
SLK III 2011

Read more:

First drive: Mercedes strikes a C sharp

Read GoAuto's drive impressions of the new Mercedes-Benz C-class range

First look: Benz spoils M3 party with C63 AMG

Mercedes-Benz hits out at new P-plate ban

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