The current Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the "entry-level" model in the German carmaker's US line-up, was conceived as a baby E-Class. But who wants to buy a luxury import that's main selling point is that it's less than the bigger one? That's why insiders are predicting that the next C-Class, expected to launch for 2008 at the 2007 Geneva show, will carve out its own niche as a compact sports sedan, rather than a junior E-Class.

Unfortunately, sources are citing budget constraints at DaimlerChrysler as an indicator that the new C won't feature either an air suspension or even active body control, the latter which already puts the car at a disadvantage over a year before it even hits the market.

Globally, the C-Class line-up will include a wide array of engines, starting with a direct-injection 1.8-liter four with output from 150 to 190 horsepower (which, based on the current US line-up, won't be offered stateside). Above those will be the V6s in either 2.5-liter capacity with 210 hp or 3.5 liters and 270 hp. But the sweetest plumb will be the AMG version with a revised 5.4-liter V8 and output bumped up past 400 horsepower.

Body-styles will include a sedan, a coupe and a wagon, in either rear-wheel-drive or 4MATIC all-wheel-drive.

As a volume model, Mercedes needs the new C-Class to succeed, and by distancing it from the E-Class, it might have a winning formula if the package comes together well. Stay tuned....

[Source: Auto Express]


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