Tony O'Kane | Aug 10, 2010

Mercedes-Benz is expected to make a number of engine and cosmetic refinements to its volume-selling C-Class later this year. These new spy photos show that the bulk of the exterior changes will go to the front bumper and headlights, a result of Mercedes bringing the C-Class in line with its new styling direction seen on other new and upcoming models.

Our earlier renderings of the C-Class sedan and C-Class coupe offer a look at the likely styling direction for the updated Merc. Our latest rendering (bottom) looks at the C-Class sedan.

The C-Class coupe was spied testing only last month, and these new images of the updated C-Class Estate show that the 2011 range will launch with a full line-up.

Mercedes has introduced a number of new super-efficient direct-injected diesel and petrol motors to the existing C-Class range; the new BlueTec diesel engines are likely to feature in the line-up.

There have also been reports in the past week that Mercedes is developing an AMG variant of the upcoming C-Class Coupe, likely to be dubbed C63 AMG.

In May, the German carmaker announced a pair of new engines in the form of a 3.5 litre V6 and a 4.6 litre V8, both utilising direct injection and multi-spark ignition technology to bring greater torque and fuel economy than their predecessors.

Reports suggest that a three-cylinder engine may also be added to the powertrain options list in the near future.

A hybrid model using a petrol-electric drivetrain similar to that of the S-Class hybrid is a possibility, but, like the three-cylinder, no plans have been announced.

It's not yet known when the updated C-Class range will appear, but a Paris Auto Show launch later this year seems likely.

Follow Tony O'Kane on Google+