- Mercedes-Benz will introduce at least one surprise body style when its all-new 2015 C-Class arrives at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show in March.
- Based on the new Mercedes Rear Drive Architecture (MRA) chassis, the new C-Class will arrive in the world's showrooms toward the middle of next year.
- The 2015 C-Class will have a wheelbase of around 112 inches, or approximately 4 inches longer than the current C-Class sedan.
FRANKFURT, Germany — Mercedes-Benz will introduce at least one surprise body style when its all-new 2015 C-Class arrives at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show in March.
With four confirmed body styles and both left- and right-hand drive in all variants right from the start, the new C-Class is already being touted internally as Mercedes' BMW 3 Series buster.
Based on the new Mercedes Rear Drive Architecture, (MRA), the new C-Class will arrive in the world's showroom toward the middle of next year in sedan, wagon, coupe and, surprisingly, five-door hatchback variants.
Mercedes plans to aim its hatch directly at the BMW 3 Series GranTurismo and insiders admit the five-door will be the sportiest and most athletic of the mainstream C-Class models until the coupe arrives in 2015.
"It is aimed at those markets, like the United Kingdom and Australia, that enjoy taut-feeling athletic cars," one insider admitted last week during the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show.
The 2015 C-Class will have a wheelbase of around 112 inches, or approximately 4 inches longer than the current C-Class sedan, and its overall length should stretch out beyond 185 inches.
Benz has seen the need to restamp the authority of the C-Class with the new model because the supposedly junior CLA-Class sedan, based off the front-wheel-drive A-Class architecture, is actually longer overall than the outgoing C-Class. At 182.3 inches, the CLA sedan is around 1.5 inches longer from bumper to bumper, even if it sits on a shorter wheelbase.
Most of the extra wheelbase in the 2015 C-Class will be given over to rear seat occupants, who will also appreciate the car's longer, wider-opening doors making it easier to climb in and out.
The front seat occupants haven't been forgotten either, with spy shots confirming the 2015 C-Class will have a wide stance for its speedo and tach, with a large TFT screen separating the two gauges. There will also be a standout multimedia screen with next-generation computer hardware and graphics, all controlled by a large, console-mounted multifunction rotary knob.
"This interior will be something special," one Mercedes-Benz insider insisted. "It has better materials and technology in the interior than the outgoing S-Class and the connectivity is light-years ahead," the source claimed.
The MRA architecture won't just house four new C-Classes, either, because it will be at the core of all of Daimler's most profitable, most important Mercedes-Benz models. The E-Class and the CLS will both use the MRA layout, while the S-Class will sit on top of three different MRA chassis lengths, too.
The new architecture, designed for modular use from the beginning, is lighter, far stiffer and far more adjustable than the current chassis. It means the C-Class will also be in line for many of the S-Class' ground-breaking electronics and ride technology and Mercedes could decide to take advantage of economies of scale to smash the segment norms in ride and handling.
Sources have confirmed that the new C-Class will come with air suspension, at least as an option, which could also allow it to feature the S-Class' magnificent active ride control, which uses stereo cameras to read road bumps, then uses its suspension computers to move the wheels precisely in time to eliminate jarring from the cabin.
The 2015 C-Class will also sport some of the most advanced lighting in the car industry, with full LED headlights available as an option, matched to Benz's dazzling array of camera and sensing technology to actively seek out and warn errant pedestrians.
One model that is an unlikely starter for an MRA suit fitting, even as Benz plans to introduce 13 new models to the lineup by the end of 2016, is a convertible. Internal Mercedes sources insist that a C-Class coupe would need to be a four-seater and that would be too close in size and price to the existing E-Class Cabriolet (which sits on the same underpinnings as the current C-Class).
Edmunds says: More room and additional technology will only go so far when it comes to battling the 3 Series. What this C-Class needs is striking styling to make buyers give it a second look.