2021 Mercedes C-Class executive saloon: what we know so far

For its next generation, the Mercedes C-Class executive saloon will receive new plug-in hybrid options and advanced self-driving tech – here's everything you need to know...

2021 Mercedes C-Class with background

Low CO2 emissions are a must in the executive car class in order to keep company car tax bills competitive, so it’s fortunate that the all-new Mercedes C-Class looks like it has the potential to limbo under the standards set by rivals such as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series.

2021 Mercedes C-Class rear spy shot

2021 Mercedes C-Class engines

Most of the engines in the line-up will feature mild hybrid technology to reduce the strain on them and allow them to switch off completely while coasting. Plus, there will be a plug-in hybrid model from the word go, which should beat the 31-mile fully electric range of today’s C300de.

Even the range-topping C63 will swap V8 power for a hybridised 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit – albeit one producing more than 500bhp.

Mercedes also wants the new C-Class to be the class leader when it comes to technology, with advanced autonomous driving features key to its bid. Expect a Drive Pilot system that allows hands-off driving at speeds of up to 80mph, bolstered by an adaptive cruise control system that enable the C-Class to follow the car directly ahead of it at speeds of up to 130mph (admittedly more useful if you commute on the autobahn than the M1).

Adaptive suspension will be standard even on lesser variants in an effort to improve ride comfort, while air suspension will continue to be offered as an option.

Mercedes Concept EQ interior

2021 Mercedes C-Class interior

The exterior styling of the new C-Class is more evolution than revolution, with the car’s proportions and dimensions remaining very close to those of today’s model. However, for the interior, Mercedes’ designers have apparently taken inspiration from 2016's Concept EQ, which means large digital displays and touch-sensitive areas of the dashboard instead of traditional buttons.

In addition to the familiar saloon, estate, coupé and cabriolet body styles, there will be a new C-Class All Terrain estate with SUV-inspired looks, a raised ride height and off-road driving modes.

The new C-Class is one of 14 cars in contention for the 2021 What Car? Reader Award, which will go to the upcoming model that people are most excited about. You can cast your vote here.

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Read more: The best and worst executive cars >>

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