Mercedes-Benz, the leading maker of luxury cars in India, is readying the all-new A-class sedan for a launch in India, come 2020-2021. A car that has the potential to rapidly climb Merc’s bestsellers’ list, the A-class sedan will be more appealing to Indian car buyers because, unlike the CLA coupé, it is fundamentally larger and more comfortable on the inside.
However, look at the new A-class sedan for the first time, and it’ll be difficult to see how it differs from the CLA. But look closer at the V177 or A-class sedan and you do notice that it comes with a more upright roof. What you also notice is that the A-class sedan gets larger rear windows and more traditional doors, rather than the pillarless ones seen on the CLA. Also, while rear headroom is seriously tight on the current CLA, the new A sedan boasts class-leading headroom and legroom. And what makes the car so much nicer to sit in is that the cabin’s rear now feels a bit more ‘airy’ due to the big sunroof.
Mercedes has even aced the design of the dash – minimalist and unstructured, it feels sophisticated and modern. And what adds to the luxury feel is that there’s plenty of bling here too. The three circular chrome vents add some much-needed definition, the chromed-over steering looks very avant-garde, and then there are those S-class-like floating screens that also give it a techy feel. What’s also likely to make it here is Merc’s new MBUX infotainment system with its new voice control function.
The A-class sedan is also extremely slippery. The coefficient of drag (Cd) is a record-setting 0.22, making it the most aerodynamically efficient production car in the world, according to Mercedes. What also keeps things interesting is that the car gets Merc’s new ‘predator face’ look – the one pioneered on the new CLS.
Under the hood, the mainstay of the car is likely to be the 163hp, 1.5-litre A200 petrol engine. It powers the front wheels via a 7-speed DCT or dual-clutch automatic, and has a claimed 0-100kph time of 8.1sec. The A180d, or the diesel, puts out 116hp, and Mercedes, unlike others, will be keen to get the diesel here. As it has done with the current E-class in India, Mercedes also has the option of introducing a long-wheelbase version, which is currently only made in China. Built on a wheelbase that is 60mm longer, the Z177, as the long-wheelbase car is called, also gets a different and slightly more comfortable rear seat, as well as a more opulent feature set. But will this long-wheelbase car eventually cannibalise the C-class’ sales? That’s something Mercedes has to decide on. Although, whichever wheelbase the car comes with, expect luxury car buyers to be very interested, even at an expected price of around Rs 40 lakh.