Mercedes Unveils New A-Class Compact Sedan in China

The sixth member of Mercedes-Benz’s compact-car lineup draws heavily on the Concept A sedan unveiled at last year’s Shanghai auto show, combining the distinctive front-end styling of the recently introduced fourth-generation A-Class hatchback with a rear end evocative of the latest third-generation CLS.

Greg Kable

April 24, 2018

3 Min Read
Chinamarket AClass L shorterwheelbase AClass for North America styled alike
China-market A-Class L, shorter-wheelbase A-Class for North America styled alike.

BEIJING – Mercedes-Benz lifts the veil on the production version of the A-Class sedan at the 2018 Beijing auto show ahead of the new 4-door model’s North American sales launch in 2019.

The sixth member of the German automaker’s compact-car lineup, which goes under the internal codename Z177, draws heavily on the Concept A sedan unveiled at last year’s Shanghai auto show, combining the distinctive front-end styling of the recently introduced fourth-generation A-Class hatchback with a rear end evocative of the latest third-generation CLS.

Although the A-Class sedan revealed in China, the A-Class L saloon as it is officially named receives a 2.4-in. (61-mm) longer wheelbase than the standard-wheelbase model planned for sale in North America, officials confirm the two share the same styling.

“They’re the same model but in different lengths. The added length of the Chinese version is concentrated wholly within the rear door, which is longer than that of the A-class sedan to be sold in other world markets to ease entry to the rear,” Mercedes-Benz’s chief design officer, Gorden Wagener, tells WardsAuto.

The new Mercedes-Benz model is aimed squarely at the Audi A3 sedan. It is one of eight new compact models planned by the automaker, including the recently unveiled fourth-generation A-Class hatchback together with successors to the existing B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA as well as a new compact CUV likely to bear the name GLB and a yet-to-be-confirmed model.

At 181.5 ins. (4,610 mm) in length, 70.7 ins. (1,796 mm) in width and 57.4 ins. (1,458 mm) in height, the Chinese version of the A-Class sedan is 3.0 ins. (76 mm) shorter, 0.6 in. (15 mm) narrower and 0.7 in. (18 mm) higher than the existing standard-wheelbase C-Class sedan sold in North America.

It also rides on a wheelbase that is just 2.0 ins. (51 mm) shorter than the standard-wheelbase C-Class sedan at 110 ins. (2,794 mm), with wheels that vary in diameter between 16 and 19-ins. depending on model.

For other global markets, including the U.S., the new 4-door will receive a 2.4-in. shorter wheelbase at 107.6 ins. (2,733 mm), reducing its length to 179.1 ins. (4,549 mm) or 3.6 ins. (91 mm) longer than the Audi A3 sedan.

For the Chinese version, trunk capacity is put at 14.8 cu.-ft. (419 L), a scant 0.2 cu.-ft. (5.7 L) less than that offered by the A3 sedan.

Inside, the new A-class sedan features the same high-quality dashboard and advanced infotainment functions as the new A-Class hatchback, including Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX operating system that introduces touchscreen control, conversational speech recognition and the ability for two users to connect simultaneously.

In China, the A-Class sedan initially will be sold with a turbocharged 1.3L 4-cyl. gasoline engine with 134 hp in base form or 161 hp in a mildly higher state of tune. It will be joined shortly after the new 4-door’s introduction by a more powerful turbocharged 2.0L 4-cyl. gasoline unit with 188 hp.  

Both engines will be offered exclusively with a standard 7-speed dual clutch transmission – in the case of the smaller mill a Getrag shifter, with the larger engine receiving gearbox produced in-house.

The Chinese version of the new A-Class sedan will be produced at Beijing Benz Automotive, a joint-venture operation between Chinese automaker BAIC and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler. The standard-wheelbase version of the new Mercedes-Benz for the U.S. market,  however, will be produced at a joint Nissan and Mercedes-Benz plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico.

 

 

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