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Beijing show: Benz outs A-Class L sedan

Same same: Benz has so far only revealed images of the Chinese-market A-Class L sedan, but the international version is expected to look the same.

China-only A-Class L uncovered, but Mercedes-Benz to launch global version in Oz


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25 Apr 2018

MERCEDES-BENZ has lifted the lid on its long mooted A-Class sedan that has been confirmed for the Australian market and could arrive before the end of this year.

The booted A-Class was uncovered at this week’s Beijing motor show in longer-wheelbase ‘L’ guise which will be exclusively offered to the Chinese market before another version built for markets outside China will roll out in the second half of 2018.

The Chinese A-Class L has a 60mm-longer wheelbase (2789mm) than the international version, and it will be built for China by Daimler’s joint-venture partner, BAIC Motor.

Specific Australian launch timing, model grade details and source country are being kept under wraps for now, but Benz’s local arm says to expect a full range with a variety of powertrain offerings.

When it arrives in Australia, it will compete with the Audi A3 sedan, but buyers are also likely to shop it against Benz’s own CLA sedan that, in its current guise is based on the MFA platform shared with the A-Class hatch and GLA.

In China, it will also compete with the BMW 1 Series sedan.

Reports suggest the next-generation CLA – which will share the MFA-2 compact cars architecture with the new A-Class – will have a more sporting appearance and handling characteristics to ensure it does not cannibalise A-Class sedan sales.

Mercedes has previously announced that its compact car family will expand to eight models, up from the five – A-Class, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA – it offers now.

Benz is yet to reveal any technical details about the international A-Class sedan, but the Chinese version measure 4609mm long, 1796mm wide and 1460mm high, with cargo capacity of 420 litres. As mentioned, the wheelbase is 60mm longer than the hatchback and the global sedan.

Powertrain offerings in China include a 1.3-litre all-aluminium four-cylinder petrol engine with power outputs of 100kW and 120kW, while a 140kW 2.0-litre four-pot will follow. All engines are paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The international A-Class sedan is likely to match the hatchback’s powertrains, which include a 120kW/240Nm four-cylinder turbo petrol, an updated version of the 165kW/350Nm petrol unit from the A250 and a pair of diesels, including an 85kW unit that’s unlikely to be offered in Australia.

While it is yet to be officially confirmed by Benz, an A35 AMG version will be offered in hatchback guise to sit under the potent A45.

It will add a 48-volt electrical system and electric turbocharger to the updated A250 engine and it is expected to be revealed at this year’s Paris motor show in October.

The production version was previewed by the Concept A Sedan at last year’s Shanghai motor show, and while it has lost the multi-coloured glowing headlights and other concept flourishes, it has retained the sleek coupe-like shape.

Penned using Benz’s ‘Sensual Purity’ design philosophy, the A-Class sedan matches the front-end design of the hatch. It has short front and rear overhangs and two-piece tail-lights that Benz says emphasises the width of the car.

The sedan gains the all-new cabin of the hatch, including a full-colour widescreen display in place of a traditional instrument cowl, a wing-shaped dashboard and turbine-look air vents.

Benz’s new MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system is offered in the A-Class sedan. It features artificial intelligence with unique learning abilities, while the voice recognition system understands various Chinese dialects.

Mercedes has revealed the sedan jut as production of the new-gen A-Class hatchback kicks off in Germany. The first international media launch for the hatchback is currently underway in Croatia.

GoAuto will have full details, including first-drive impressions, on Friday April 27.

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