The Mercedes Benz Concept A saloon, shown at the Shanghai motor show, previews the remarkable design of a new entry level saloon. Production version of this model will be part of the German company’s 8 model compact car global line up. The new 4 door has been considered to challenge the likes of the Audi A-3 sedan and the upcoming BMW 1 series sedan. The latter is presently produced and sold entirely in China, but BMW officials say it is likely to be offered internationally when the 3rd gen 1 – series is launched in 2019.
As with the models offered by its finest brand competitors, the new Mercedes sedan is set to give buyers the choice of a range of diesel engines and 4 cylinder petrol, including a 406-hp-plus, turbocharged, 2-litre petrol unit in a range-topping A-45 4Matic optional. Insiders suggest, this car will be added to the Mercedes-AMG line-up in 2019 as a direct competitor to the freshly introduced Audi RS3 saloon. Also planned is a petrol electric plug-in hybrid version that will offer a pure-electric driving range of up to 50 km. Alongside standard front wheel drive, the A-class saloon is also being engineered to support Mercedes’ multi-plate clutch 4Matic four-wheel drive system in combination with most engines. Again, this mirrors the strategy adopted with BMW and Audi for the A3 saloon and 1-series saloon.
The new A-class saloon will take a place in Mercedes-Benz’s compact car line-up alongside successor models to the B-class, A-class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA, as well as a new SUV, likely to be called GLB that will rival the BMW X 1. The identity of the 8th model in the new line-up remains under wraps, although insiders at Mercedes’ HQs in Stuttgart suggest it may be a 2 door cabriolet version of the new SUV to counter the Range Rover Evoque Cabriolet. The planned introduction of the A class saloon comes in response to customers’ 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 describes as the ‘predator face’ an aggressive looking front section subject by a low-set oval molded grille, large trapezoidal shaped headlamps and a contoured bonnet. The striking new look will be shared across the new A-class line-up and will also feature on other new Mercedes models, including the 3rd gen CLS, due out later this year.
The styling tells an aware shift away from the deeply sculptured treatment of existing Mercedes-Benz models towards a smoother appearance with fewer crease lines. The Concept A saloon has a traditional 3 box silhouette with short overhangs, a shape that aims to match the practicality offered by the four-door A3 and 1-series models. As well as carefully hinting at the design of the new A-class saloon, the Concept A saloon also reveals the so called Pan Americana grille treatment, with its vertical slats, as well as the violently styled front bumper to be adopted by AMG performance versions of the new Mercedes model.
At 1,870mm in width, 4,570mm in length and 1,462mm in height, the Concept A is claimed to mirror the dimensions of the production A class saloon that is planned to be assembled alongside the A-class hatchback, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA at Mercedes-Benz’s Kecskemét plant in Hungary. The dimensions make it 112-mm longer, 74-mm wider and 46-mm higher than the Audi A3 saloon. It is also 116-mm shorter, 60-mm wider and 20-mm higher than the Mercedes C-class, which until now has been the German car maker’s most affordable dedicated saloon model.