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New generation Mercedes C-Class-sized EV gets ready to battle BMW Neue Klasse

Merc’s taken the plunge and is hard at work on its high-volume EV saloon. Will it pay off?

The premium electric saloon battle is about to heat up with an all-new Mercedes executive EV gearing up to go head-to-head with the production version of BMW’s Neue Klasse. Just like the BMW, the C-Class sized model will arrive in 2026 – with Merc’s full engineering might behind it. 

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The new model is destined to ride on Merc’s all-new MB.EA Medium platform, a next generation architecture that’ll also support an SUV model, which we’ll likely see as early as 2025. As a result, we can see some fundamental changes to this new saloon compared with the current EQS and EQE saloon models.

This starts with a comprehensive re-think of the car’s overall proportions, as the windscreen has been pulled back into a more traditional and upright position. The nose is still relatively short in comparison to Merc’s traditional ICE models, but the changes should help improve front visibility and reduce the size of the dash – two common complaints with the existing electric EQ models. 

While the prototype does feature lots of shape-hiding camouflage, the body does look to be production-relevant, and reveals that the new electric model will probably feature a traditional front bonnet, rather than the fixed front clamshell of the current EQ cars. The upright headlights will probably be joined at the centre by a daytime running light. 

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The shape from the A-pillar back is more familiar from existing Mercedes EQ models, with a gently sloping roofline and shallow rear windscreen. It’ll also feature a traditional bootlid, rather than a larger hatchback, and also looks to have a slightly longer rear overhang to help balance the car’s overall silhouette. 

Under the skin, Merc’s next generation platform will move to an 800V electrical architecture, with corresponding enhancements to the charging capability and efficiency. We also expect to see further improvements to battery weight and density, with the battery itself sitting under the cabin in a skateboard-style layout. This chassis configuration will support both single and dual-motor powertrains.

This new MB.EA Medium platform should not be confused with the MMA architecture that’s under the forthcoming electric Mercedes CLA that we’ll see later this year. The MMA platform will underpin a range of smaller Mercedes models including two new SUVs and a shooting brake estate. 

While efficiency and tech will obviously be key to the overall development of this new C-Class sized model, Mercedes doesn’t appear to be wasting any time in creating high performance Mercedes-AMG variants, as that’s what this particular prototype is likely to be. 

Elements such as the large wheels, high-spec Michelin tyres and large brakes all reveal the car’s true identity, so expect some extreme performance figures from with we expect to be a dual-motor layout. 

We still have a little time to wait until this next generation Mercedes saloon will be revealed in full, with the SUV variant expected first. It will, however, more than likely coincide with BMW’s plans with its new Neue Klasse models, which will be similar in size, shape and specification. 

Click here for our list of the best electric cars...

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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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