Borrowing from its Formula 1 racing program, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class will be available with a 48-Volt KERS (kinetic energy regeneration system) mild hybrid system.

The KERS operates by capturing kinetic energy that is ordinarily lost to heat while braking and sends it to a spinning flywheel, which in the case of the C-Class is housed in a hub behind the front disc brakes. Once the energy has been recovered, it can be stored in the flywheel for later use, impacting fuel economy.

The KERS system is lighter and less costly than a standard mild hybrid system involving a small battery.

The feature will be used with a new modular turbocharged in-line six-cylinder engine family that will power other Mercedes vehicles.

SEE ALSO: Volvo Testing KERS Technology For Your Next Car

Now that the camouflage has been removed from test prototype vehicles, revealed is a new front end that features a grille with two horizontal bars, as opposed to the current car’s single-bar design, and redesigned LED headlamps. Out back is a new rear apron and redesigned LED taillamps.

Spy photographers have gotten a peek inside the new C-Class and uncovered an infotainment touchpad on the center console borrowed from the updated S-Class, a new steering wheel and a redesigned instrument panel.

It is expected that the C350e plug-in hybrid model will continue in the 2018 lineup that mixes a 208 horsepower turbo four-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor that has a 20-mile electric driving range.

Look for the 2018 Mercedes C-Class to go on sale late this year, and KERS hybrid variant to arrive in the first quarter of next year.

Auto Evolution