No prizes for guessing what this disguised prototype is. This test car is clearly the successor to Mercedes’ C-Class Sports Coupé.
As suggested by its badge, the three-door’s DNA is closely intertwined with the compact executive saloon range; just as the C-Class has been replaced recently, so will the sleek and stubby sporty hatchback next summer.
It remains a three-door coupé with a lift-up tailgate and a compact footprint. The engines and running gear will be carried over from the C-Class family, so expect petrol engines spanning a supercharged 1.8 Kompressor up to a 3.5 V6; derv lovers will have a choice from a 2.2 in the 200 CDI to a 320 CDI powered by a 3.0 V6.
Only the rear wheels are driven, as on BMW’s rival 1 Series Coupé, to distance the baby Merc from its more workaday front-drive competition.
The design of the new sports coupé is interesting. The front end is all new, borrowing heavily from the new C-Class, but from the A-pillar back it sticks with the current model’s silhouette – right down to the stubby, truncated rear.
We'll see the sports coupé at the Geneva Motor Show next March, with sales kicking off in summer 2008. Prices should rise to around £23,000.
Bodystyles: New C-Class meets old Sports Coupé.
Engines: 1.8 petrol four-cyl to 3.0 litre V6 diesels.
When: Show debut Geneva March ’08, sales summer '08.