It may look like an ordinary C-Class Coupe with different headlight graphics and a camouflaged front bumper, but we believe the lightly disguised prototype is way more interesting than that. Zoom in on one of the images showing the front wheels and you will see behind them seems to be a hub likely part of a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) in the same vein as Formula 1 cars have. It serves the purpose of boosting the car’s efficiency by storing the kinetic energy generated while braking that would otherwise be wasted.

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2018 Mercedes C-Class Coupe facelift spy photo

To get an idea of the advantages this hardware setup can bring, Volvo installed a conceptual Flybrid KERS system on an S60 prototype some years ago and said at that point that it would slash fuel consumption by up to 25 percent. The flywheel-based hybrid system was able to generate 80 horsepower (59 kilowatts) by capturing the kinetic energy and then use it to spin a carbon fiber flywheel at up to 60,000 rpm. When fitted with KERS, the T5-powered S60 was 1.5 seconds quicker in the sprint to 62 mph (100 kph) than the regular version.

Getting back to the C-Class Coupe at hand, the test mule is not exhibiting any other changes at this point, but things will change in the months to come with more evolved test cars. The interior cabin seems to have an analog instrument cluster, although we won’t be too surprised if the mid-cycle refresh will bring the option of an all-digital screen in the same vein as the bigger E and S.

It’s unknown at this point when Mercedes will refresh the C-Class Coupe, but it’s highly unlikely to happen before 2018, at the earliest. The sedan will be the first to receive the revisions, with the wagon to follow and then the two-door coupe and convertible body styles. Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers revealed recently the “Black Series” badge could return for a C63 model, and if it will, most likely the coupe will get the hardcore treatment.

Photos: CarPix

Gallery: 2018 Mercedes C-Class Coupe facelift spy photos

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