Between the new S-Class and the upcoming EQS electric sedan, some might think Mercedes isn’t giving the C-Class the attention it deserves. Nothing could be further from the truth as the three-pointed star is pressing ahead with the W206’s final testing phase even in these difficult times caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

A near-production prototype has been caught out in the open on German streets, showing the new-generation C-Class Sedan with disguise only at the front and rear. While BMW has shocked the world with its questionable new grille design, don’t expect Mercedes to introduce a controversial design for the next iteration of its best-selling car.

Gallery: 2022 Mercedes-Benz C-Class new spy photos

It’s fairly obvious the design team will be playing it safe with the next C, sharpening up the front end a bit and updating the rear with horizontal taillights extending onto the trunk. Overall, we’re getting the impression of a mini S-Class, although we’re hoping Mercedes will prove us wrong when the camouflage will come off sometime next year.

As far as the interior is concerned, the current W205 is starting to feel a bit dated with its infotainment display sticking out of the dashboard. Previous spy shots have revealed the MBUX will be neatly integrated into the center console, but it won’t be the fancy setup we’ve seen in the new S-Class. The touchscreen will be significantly smaller and accompanied by touch buttons for the climate control functions.

Mercedes C-Class Wagon Interior Spied
Mercedes C-Class

Some massive changes are planned underneath the hood where Mercedes will reportedly install only four-cylinder engines. Yes, there are reports about the AMG C43 losing its six-cylinder in favor of an electrified four-pot for the AMG C53 while the range-topping AMG C63 could also downsize to a hybrid four-cylinder mill.

Elsewhere, expect Mercedes to thoroughly electrify the engine lineup and offer plug-in hybrid powertrains to avoid paying penalties in Europe where emissions regulations keep getting stricter. The sedan will be followed shortly by a more practical, which could finally spawn that long-rumored All-Terrain derivative to go after the Audi A4 Allroad.

There’s not much disguise left on this red prototype, so Mercedes must be planning to unveil the 2022 C-Class in the coming months.

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