This is the new Mercedes CLC, a ‘four-door coupe’ that will go on sale in 2013. Spawned from the new Mercedes A- and B-class – due in 2012 and 2011 respectively – it’s best to think of the new CLC as a shrunken CLS.
And just as Mercedes launched its CLS a whole generation ahead of Audi and BMW (the A7 was launched within months of the Mk2 CLS, and the 6-series Gran Coupe is still a year away), the CLC once again has no obvious opposition from the three-pointed star’s two big German rivals.
We revealed the seven new models that Mercedes plans for the A- and B-class earlier this week, and quite coincidentally these shots of the stylish 'saloon' were sent to us overnight by our spies in the Californian desert.
What do we know about the new Mercedes CLC?
That underneath the skin it uses the same front- (and four-) wheel drive platform that will underpin the new A- and B-classes, and that it’s a conventional architecture rather than the clever ‘sandwich’ set-up of the current cars.
After the B-class (due at the end of 2011) and the A-class (mid-2012) the CLC will be the third variant spun off Merc’s new modular system – there’s a small 4x4 coming too, plus coupe and cabriolet As. The CLC will measure 4560mm in length (today’s CLC is 4448mm long) and we hear there could be a Shooting Brake variant too.
Want to know want it'll look like? The F800 Style concept revealed in 2010 was Merc's teaser, though the production car won't be quite so voluptuous. But look closely, ignore the BMW-aping disguise, and you can see just how rakish the CLC is aft of the B-pillars – good luck getting in and out of the back. Look even more closely and you can spy the high-set multimedia Comand screen through the interior's disguise.
Mercedes has developed two new engines for the A- and B-classes and CLC. Petrol power comes courtesy of a direct injection and turbocharged 1.6 (dubbed M270) with either 121 or 154bhp, and the 1.8 oiler (known as OM561, and derived from the existing 2.1 diesel) comes with either 107 or 134bhp. Also all-new is the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and the six-speed manual gearbox.
There’s also an AMG version planned. Originally Mercedes’ tuning house in Affalterbach wanted to equip the CLC25 (and A25) with a supercharged petrol engine, but after that proved too complicated AMG switched to a twin-turbo set-up. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder is believed to be good for around 335bhp, and will come with a four-wheel drive system to prevent torque steer. Both the transmission options should be offered on this hot AMG model.
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