Mercedes-Benz has previewed the highly contemporary appearance of its new entry-level sedan model that will go on sale as part of the German car maker’s upcoming eight-model strong fourth-generation compact car line-up with the unveiling of the striking Concept A Sedan at the Shanghai motor show in China today.
Set to reach the Mercedes-Benz dealerships around Australian by early 2019, the new four-door has been conceived to challenge the likes of the Audi A3 sedan and upcoming BMW 1-Series sedan – the latter of which is currently produced and sold exclusively in China, but which BMW officials say will likely be offered globally when the third-generation 1-Series is launched in 2019.
Like its premium brand rivals, the new Mercedes-Benz sedan model is set to offer buyers the choice of a range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, including a close to 300kW turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol unit in a range topping A45 4Matic sedan closely previewed by the Concept A Sedan and which insiders suggest will be added to the Mercedes-AMG line-up as a direct competitor to the recently introduced Audi RS3 sedan.
Also planned is a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid version of the new sedan that will offer a pure electric range of up to 50km. Alongside standard front-wheel drive, the A-Class sedan is also being engineered to support a multi-plate clutch 4Matic four-wheel drive system in combination with most engines in a move mirroring that of the A3 sedan and 1-Series sedan.
The new A-class sedan will be offered alongside successor models to the A-Class, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake, GLA as well as a new BMW X1 rivalling SUV model that is likely to take the name GLB into production. The eighth model in the new line-up remains under wraps, though insiders at Mercedes-Benz headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany suggest it may be a two-door cabriolet version of the new SUV to counter the Land Rover Evoque Cabriolet.
Initially hinted to by an earlier Aesthetics A sculpture created by Mercedes-Benz to reveal the new design lineage that will grace each of the new A-Class models, the planned introduction of the A-Class sedan comes in response to calls for a more practical alternative to the German car maker’s existing price leading four-door model, the CLA.
Key design elements include what Mercedes-Benz describes as the predator face – an aggressive looking front section dominated by a low set oval shape grille, large trapezoidal shaped headlamps and contoured bonnet. The striking new look will be shared across the new A-Class line-up and also feature on other new Mercedes-Benz models, including the successor to today’s second-generation CLS due out later this year.
The styling reveals a conscious shift away from the heavily sculptured treatment of existing Mercedes-Benz models towards a smoother appearance with fewer crease lines in a traditional three-box silhouette with short overhangs which aims to match the practicality offered by the Audi A3 sedan and BMW 1-Series sedan.
The new look styling, described by Mercedes-Benz design boss Gorden Wagener as a development of current “Sensual Purity” design lineage first adopted by the C-Class back in 2014, aims to provide future Mercedes-Benz models with more timeless aesthetic appeal.
“Our Concept A Sedan shows that the time of creases is over”, he says. “Form and body are what remain when creases and lines are reduced to the extreme. It has the potential to introduce a new design era.”
As well as closely hinting at the design of the new A-Class sedan, the Concept A Sedan also reveals the so-called Panamericana grille treatment, with its vertical slats, as well as the aggressively styled front bumper to be adopted by AMG versions of the new Mercedes-Benz model.
At 4570mm in length, 1870mm in width and 1462mm in height, the Concept A is claimed to mirror the dimensions of the production A-Class sedan that is planned to be assembled alongside the A-Class hatchback, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA at Mercedes-Benz’s Kecskemet plant in Hungary.
This makes it some 112mm longer, 74mm wider and 46mm higher than the Audi A3 sedan. At the same time, it is 116mm shorter, 60mm wider and 20mm higher than the Mercedes-Benz C-Class – up to now the German car maker’s most affordable dedicated sedan model.