Images of an early prototype of the new Mercedes-Benz C-class have been captured by our spies. The German automaker’s engineers have gone to fairly extreme lengths to protect the styling from prying eyes. The model in spy images show black panels placed over the sheet metal to disguise the design lines. Image galleryThe shape of the panel covering the grille hints that this aspect may be a little more oval than its predecessor. CLS INSPIRED?The headlights show design cues from the CLS. It’s a little higher and wider than the current C-Class and it wraps round from the front end to the side panels giving an overall sportier appeal.It’s a little too early to predict the engine options that the next generation C-Class will use.There have been rumours that Mercedes-Benz is developing three-cylinder engines but it is more likely the C-Class will get four-cylinder units that would reduce the engine to operating on just two-cylinders when less power is needed.What we can confidently predict is that the C-Class will include a hybrid version. The model could make its debit later in 2013 or early 2014.