Mercedes entered the entry level luxury vehicle category years ago with it C230 Kompressor coupe. The vehicle was a capable model with strong performance, solid handling and a refined driving experience. Mercedes buyers showed little interest and sales were unexpectedly low. Then BMW entered the same segment with its recent 1 Series. A capable performer on all fronts with a price that undercut the 3 Series by thousands and according to sales numbers, the model is a hit.
Why is the BMW a success and the Mercedes a failure? It could easily be a result of the economic times right now and Mercedes seems to think so too as they are now considering a second go around at the entry level luxury segment. The company is expected to offer a 2 door C-Class to compete with BMW's 1 Series, but this time around Mercedes will offer a hybrid option as a a fuel efficient alternative to competitors.
The hybrid is rumored to be powered by a V6 engine from the Mercedes lineup. It will be naturally aspirated and is expected to be the most efficient vehicle in its class. Along with the hybrid option, Mercedes is considering a twin turbo V6, a 5.5 liter twin turbo V8 AMG model, and a DOHC V6 as the base engine. Interestingly, no diesel option has been reported.
The C-Class coupe is expected to go on sale in 2011. There is no word if the hybrid option will be available immediately at launch and pricing has yet to be announced. Stay with us for more details as they emerge.