Mercedes-Benz explains why next C-Class will get only four-cylinder engines
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Mercedes-Benz messed up more than a couple of feathers when it was confirmed that the next-generation C-Class (internally called the W206) will be scaled down to a four-cylinder range. That means the fire-breathing V8-powered C63 loses half of its cylinders and the silky smooth straight-six that powers bigger cars isn't available. While all automakers are trying to keep emissions in check, the German company stated that regulations aren't the only motivation.
"With the 3.0-liter engine, the front end would have been [two inches] longer, not to mention the higher axle load and its effects on driving dynamics," said Christian Früh, chief engineer of the W206, in an interview with Automotive News Europe. He added that plug-in hybrid technology (which also adds a not inconsiderable amount of weight) enabled his team to develop a four-cylinder C-Class that offers performance comparable to that of a six-cylinder engine. Smooth running and fuel consumption are also noticeably improved.
Electrification will be standard across the board and take various forms, but full electricity is out of the question for now. Early indicated that the C-Class is based on Mercedes-Benz's modular MRA platform, which cannot be fully electrified while keeping costs and dimensions under control. Making a C-Class that runs on batteries would have required significant changes like bigger wheels, extra ground clearance, or both, and the company would have received a Franken sedan. The use of the electric vehicle architecture (EVA), which underpins the EQS, was also ruled out, as the adaptation "would have gone beyond the dimensional concept and budget of the C-Class".
The downsized, sharper and extensively redesigned C-Class 2022 will make its worldwide debut online on February 23, 2021. Mercedes-Benz will stream the unveiling from 2 p.m. on its digital platform Mercedes Me. European time, which is 8 a.m. in New York City and 5 a.m. in Los Angeles. Sales will begin shortly thereafter.
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