Spied: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan

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Our intrepid spy photographers once again snapped photos of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The lightly camouflaged test car confirms what we learned in earlier spy photos, primarily that the new C will grow significantly to better split the size difference between the new CLA-Class and the recently refreshed E-Class sedans.

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is mostly a traditional design, albeit with a slightly more rounded snout and angled headlight housings. The proportions conspire to make the trunk look smaller, and the roofline cuts down more sharply than on the current C-Class, likely to improve aerodynamics. Out back, the trunklid makes a U-shaped cut into the rear fascia, and the new taillights appear inspired by those seen on the new 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

What we can't see is even more important. Reports suggest the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will be at least 200 pounds lighter than today's sedan, in part because Mercedes will liberally use aluminum for body parts like the doors, hood, fenders, and roof. The interior design will be thoroughly updated, with headlining features including a tablet computer-sized color display for a new version of Mercedes' Command infotainment system. Also expect Mercedes to make a full complement of safety technology, including forward collision and lane departure warnings, available on the new sedan.

Beneath the hood, look for both hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants at a later date. And a year or so after the sedan launches, both coupe and convertible versions (possibly reviving the CLK moniker) of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will debut. Mercedes will also sell a long-wheelbase sedan in China. At launch, the American-spec car will probably offer a 2.1-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, 2.0-liter gasoline turbo-four built by partner Nissan, and a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6. Down the road, Mercedes could launch a C63 AMG performance model that extracts about 462 hp from a 4.0-liter V-8 engine.

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will be built on U.S. soil for the first time, at the Mercedes factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, that already assembles the GL-Class, M-Class, and R-Class. Expect the new C-Class to debut in early 2014, likely at the Detroit auto show in January. It will go on sale next summer.

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