A four-wheel-drive variant of the new Mercedes-Benz C-class estate will be launched internationally in the middle of next year. Following its plan to offer its 4Matic all-wheel-drive technology on the recently launched C-class sedan, Mercedes chiefs have confirmed that the forthcoming wagon will follow suit.
In some markets, four-wheel drive is increasingly being regarded as a safety feature, and Mercedes is keen to tackle BMW’s xDrive and Audi’s Quattro systems head-on.
Mercedes-Benz’s head of development Thomas Weber said the flexibility built in to the C-class estate production facility at Bremen would enable left- and right-hand drive variants to roll off the same line.
"In September, we will start production of two-wheel drive models in left- and right-hand drive. Normally, we would start with left-hand drive, but now we can do it in parallel. Then, next year, we will do the 4x4 in left- and right-hand drive," Weber said.
Offering the estate in 4x4 in right-hand drive markets is part of Mercedes-Benz’s strategy to further grow sales of the C-class, which is already the manufacturer’s best-selling model.
"I will not talk about specific volume, but definitely we see a huge growth opportunity on the estate side," said Weber. "It is based on our powertrain line-up, on offering left and right hand drive, and based on the ability of all-wheel drive."
A plug-in hybrid version of the C-class estate – the C300 BlueTec Hybrid – is also in the works.