by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

SPY: The 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W 205) - first FEP prototypes hit streets

The road development for the future C-Class began in late December 2011. Almost a year after, the test prototypes of the 205 series have finally lost their heavy exterior cladding and are now revealing more details in regard to the final design of the premium mid-class model.

The usual conservativeness of the German brand seems to have been blown away in favour of a striking, deeply scary approach. With the new C-Class, Mercedes-Benz reorientates its core values and targets new customers. But to us, in spite of the fact this strategy nevertheless adds a dose of passion and attitude to the future Star model, it may also make the whole car feel a bit incongruent, disproportionate and pretty unMerc. Why? Follow through the next paragraphs to understand our concern.

Straight away, the first impression that draws after seeing these latest shots emphasizing FEP prototypes is the rather dramatic influence from the upcoming S-Class, in addition to the tad more organic styling philosophy. As its lifecycle began approximately a year - a year and a half after the introduction of the range-topping Mercedes-Benz model, it is logical to have certain similarities, but never such plain identical shapes.

While this is is hardly bad for the C-Class, it could be bad for the S-Class, no matter how you put it. It can affect the prestige and uniqueness of the luxury flagship. This attempt to reduce the gap between the two models in terms of exterior looks is unprecedented at Mercedes-Benz and could have been inspired by the competition - where different class models are quite resembling one another (see the Audi A8, A6 and A4, for example).

Other crucial aspect is that the future C-Class seems to be very curvaceous and sloppy - if you ask us, this could spell a greater number of younger clients turning to choose the W 205 over the competitors, but it could also mean traditional customers may feel disappointed and be tempted to look for a better alternative on the other side of the road.

One good thing is the removal of the irrational surfacing profile lines seen on some of the current Merc models - or, at least, this is what our eyes depict at the moment. Instead, a new upper crease running alongside the car, which thus clearly defines the muscular shoulders and highlights the new door handles, was adopted.

We are left a bit speechless by the third volume of the car - the boot section. The overhang is anything but long, while the entire entity is overly rounded and creates the effect of a hatchback, at least when seen from a 3/4 frontal view. The way the boot lid opens and the tail lamps, still hidden under black tape, scream from all over the place: S-Class, S-Class, S-Class.

We saved the best for last, however. The front fascia looks promising, with its larger radiator grille and the headlights moved towards the extremities in order to create an outstanding impression. Inspiration was taken from the S-Class (quite obviously), but there is also a sensible influence from the F 800 Style research vehicle as well. This creates a sense of individuality which perfectly meets the progressive design philosophy the new C-Class will display.

All in all, the future 205 series will add a few important centimeters (we guess up to 4.70 m) to its overall length compared to the present model (4.591 m), as to further accomodate the new CLA (4.63 m) in the lower range. The longer front overhang and the generous surface of the bonnet help deliver a solid attitude but also take their massive toll on the rear end by painfully counterbalancing its short-run proportions.

To summarize, we shall save more impressions for later on, when we are approaching the moment of premiere and more camouflage is shed away. But for now, our point is that the new C-Class is indeed sporting rather strange clothes. While the general feel is that the W 205 C-Class will continue to be an elegant mid-sized saloon for the wealthy ones, the overall roundness of the body could end up offering the car an inconsistent expression that might not be appreciated by some.

Sticking to technical side of things, the new C-Class will abund in state-of-the-art technology. The revolution going on underneath the sheet metal of the body shall match the revolution on the outside. A new rear-driven powertrain called MRA should improve both comfort and, more importantly, driving dynamics - one department Mercedes-Benz has never been the leader, but is now paying consistent efforts to make up for the lost time. Intelligent sensors that can detect the imminence of an accident, that can read road signs or tell the driver when it is time for a coffee break will also equip the new C-Class.

Enhanced efficiency and added performance were the main targets for the new petrol and diesel engines to be found under the hood. The entire lineup will feature ECO start/stop technology and clever BlueEFFICIENCY solutions that reduce fuel consumption and the CO2 level. Together with the otherwise streamlined, aerodynamic silhouette, it shall further decrease those values, while also creating an enjoyable, soundproof atmosphere inside the car.

The new powerplants range from the entry-level C 180 petrol-burning version with 120 hp up to the high-end C 400 model sporting company's brand new 3.0-litre direct-injection V6 unit rated at 333 hp. From the end of 2014, the new high performance C 63 AMG will enter the stage. Power will come from an all new 4.0-litre BITURBO 8-cylinder engine developing a peak output over 450 hp and more than 600 Nm of maximum torque.

Look for the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W 205) to be unveiled early next year, with the official world premiere scheduled for Geneva in March. In the mean time, surf through the gallery and don't forget to stay tuned to to be the first to find out the hottest news on this subject! Enjoy! :)

Image Credits: GermanCarForum / Autowereld

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