The Mercedes-Benz C-Class has been thoroughly redesigned for its new generation, with highly efficient hybrid drivetrains and autonomous driving technology being the prominent new features on offer.

Having experienced a decline in the sales of sedans because of the universal gravitation of buyers towards SUVs and crossovers, Mercedes-Benz is outfitting its fifth-generation model with a lot of technology prepared for the new S-Class. The new C-Class (codenamed W206), will take the fight to the recently refreshed Audi A4 and new BMW 3 Series upon its launch in 2021.

The 2021 C-Class will adopt Mercedes-Benz's current design language as seen on modern models like the CLA. Image: Autocar UK

The new C-Class will be styled much in line with the firm’s latest design ethos. Though the sedan would sport angular headlamps, it will still be close to the current model’s dimensions, proportions, and overall profile.

Mercedes-Benz will employ the new MRA (Modular Rear Architecture) platform for the C-Class. It offers a number of improvements over the earlier steel and aluminium structure. These include more advanced electrical architecture that supports a 48V system, which is crucial to providing the 2021 model with a new range of plug-in hybrid drivetrains.

The engine lineup for the fifth-generation C-Class will mostly feature four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines with a choice of technology lifted from the German carmaker’s EQ sub-brand. EQ Boost mild-hybrid and EQ Power plug-in hybrid functions will be available with either a starter/generator or gearbox-mounted electric motor.

Despite the focus on efficiency, the C-Class will still get the AMG treatment, with Mercedes planning successor models to the C43 and C63. While the C43 will adopt mild-hybrid technology, the C63 will feature an updated version of today’s 4.0-litre V8 petrol.

While the W206 C-Class will not feature the entire cabin of the Concept EQ, it is expected to sport a few crucial elements from the futuristic interior of the electric crossover.

In a bid to make the C-Class the most advanced car in its segment, Mercedes-Benz will add the latest autonomous driving features to set new standards in human-machine interface in the automotive field. Leading the charge will be a new Drive Pilot function with Level 3 functionality. Set for a debut onboard the seventh-generation S-Class in 2020, it will allow hands-free driving at speeds of up to 130kph for extended distances.

Drive pilot brings with it a lot of advanced hardware like long-range lidar, multi-mode radar, the latest ultrasonic sensors and a new stereo camera from LG. This will enable the introduction of a new Level 4 automated valet parking function co-developed by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch. It will allow the C-Class to negotiate parking lots and slot into free parking spaces – all via a smartphone app interface.

Lastly, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will feature substantially updated interiors, taking after the Concept EQ’s cabin. Large digital displays dominating the dashboard will incorporate infotainment functions as well as new touch-based controls to reduce clutter. Mercedes-Benz claims the new cabin layout will provide a greater feeling of interior space.

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is one of the company’s most important products. The firm will pull out all stops to make sure the sedan occupies the top spot in its segment upon its unveil in 2020.