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Mercedes-Benz C-Class exterior photos leaked

The new Mercedes-Benz C-Class is scheduled to be officially unveiled at January's Detroit motor show, but we were expecting to see images from the carmaker ahead of that. However they've been beaten to it by Spanish website Diariomotor, which has published a set of photos.

As with the official interior images we've seen previously, the first proper look at the front of the C-Class shows clear styling cues taken from the brand's flagship S-Class. A number of tech features have also been borrowed from the bigger siblings, including air suspension, vehicle surround monitoring systems and more advanced active braking systems.

The latest images show two variants: the standard C-Class and a version that looks to have the optional AMG sports package -- however not the full AMG-tweaked variant that will launch soon after the normal line-up.

The new C is expected to arrive here in the second half of next year, with Mercedes already saying it will be better equipped, more economical and up to 100kg lighter than the outgoing model, without any loss of power.

The trimmer weight has come from extensive use of aluminium body panels -- rising from nine to 48 per cent -- and the use of the scalable MRA rear-wheel-drive platform (also used for the larger E-Class and S-Class) that combines lightweight and higher-strength materials to shed kilos and increase rigidity.

Engine details haven't been confirmed yet, but are expected to include a turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder for the entry-level variant, with V6 and turbodiesels further up the range, and a petrol-electric hybrid on the cards. The AMG model will carry one of the tuning arm's hand-built units, most likely a new twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8.