Tony O'Kane | Jan 30, 2012

Mercedes-Benz's next generation of C-Class has been spotted out and about in the wintery climes of Northern Europe, however heavy camouflage means there's little to be gleaned from these spy photos.

The shape of the grille aperture does give one clue though: the characteristic rectangular Benz grille may morph into a more rounded opening, much like the F800 concept of 2010.

Heavy cladding over the bonnet's leading edge suggests a curvier snout lies beneath, and the decoy headlamps indicate there will be drastic changes to the new C-Class' "face".

Elsewhere though, the prototype's overall proportions display a classic C-Class profile.

The new C-Class isn't expected to make its production debut until the start of 2014, so information on powertrains and drivetrains is practically non-existent.

However, we can expect the usual array of four cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, as well as petrol and diesel V6s. Further down the line, a high-performance AMG variant will almost certainly shoehorn a small-capacity twin-turbo v8 under the C-Class' bonnet.

Power will continue to be taken to the rear wheels (some overseas markets will also receive AWD models), but a nine-speed automatic may take over from the current seven-speed 7G tronic automatic as the C-Class' high-end transmission.

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