Mercedes-Benz has released a first set of images and details of the standard version of its new A-class sedan.
The latest-gen A-class range has already been seen in hatchback and China-only long-wheelbase sedan form. The global sedan with a conventional wheelbase length, designed to rival the Audi A3 sedan and upcoming BMW 2-series Gran Coupé, will make its public debut at the Paris motor show in October.
As it slots into Mercedes' line-up under the C-class sedan, it will become the German carmaker’s most affordable four-door model; in a move that mirrors the 1982 launch of the original 190, which sat beneath the E-class and was subsequently rebadged as the C-class.
Mercedes has confirmed that the A-class sedan will be offered with just two engines initially, although further units are planned once production is ramped up.
The enigne options at launch are a turbocharged 1.3-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine with 163hp and 250Nm (badged as the A 200) and a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder diesel with 116hp and 260Nm (badged as the A 180d). Both come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although, as with the hatchback, a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic 'box with steering wheel-mounted shift paddles is an option.
Together with standard front-wheel-drive versions of the A-class sedan, Mercedes also plans to offer a limited number of four-wheel-drive 4Matic variants, including the A 35 4Matic and A 45 4Matic models from its AMG performance division. The A-class sedan adopts the same front-end styling treatment as the A-class hatchback, with a prominent grille and angular headights that taper into the leading edge of the front fenders.
It’s only behind the B-pillars that the sedan differs from the hatchback, with a longer roof, longer rear doors and a longer rear overhang to accommodate a short, separate boot. At 4,549mm long, 1,796mm wide and 1,446mm tall, the sedan is 130mm longer, has the same width and is 6mm taller than the hatchback, with an identical wheelbase of 2,729mm. In comparison, the Audi A3 sedan measures 4,458mm long, 1,796mm wide and 1,415mm tall, with a 2,637mm wheelbase.
Mercedes says a relatively small frontal area and the extended rear overhang of the sedan make it highly aerodynamically efficient. It has a Cd of 0.22, beating the 0.23 Cd of the firm’s previous aerodynamic production champion, the first-gen CLA four-door coupe.
Inside, the A-class sedan features the same dashboard and advanced infotainment functions as the new hatchback, including Mercedes' new MBUX infotainment system with touchscreen control and speech recognition. Mercedes claims the sedan offers above-average shoulder, elbow and headroom for front seat occupants and class-leading headroom for those in the rear. Its 420-litre boot capacity, however, doesn’t quite match the 425 litres of the smaller A3 sedan.
The A-class sedan is built on Mercedes-Benz’s MFA II platform and, as with the hatch, utilises two rear suspension layouts - a torsion beam arrangement on cheaper models and a multi-link system on higher-end variants. The model will be initially built at Mercedes' Rastatt plant in Germany and in Aguascalientes, Mexico, at a new joint venture factory run in co-operation with Renault-Nissan. The long-wheelbase version for the Chinese market is built at Beijing Benz Automotive in China.
The A-class sedan is the sixth member of Mercedes-Benz’s small car line-up, joining the A-class hatchback, B-class MPV, CLA coupé, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA crossover in an expanded line-up that will also include an Audi Q3 and BMW X1-rivalling SUV called the GLB, by the end of 2019.
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