Mercedes-Benz has just hatched this A-Class Sedan, and it’s coming to Singapore. Its mission? Tempt you into the Mercedes fold. Basically, this is what conquest looks like…
STUTTGART, GERMANY — If you sell mid-size sedans for a mass-market brand, be very worried. Mercedes-Benz has just unveiled the A-Class Sedan, and it has a very clear mission: convince someone to get out of a frumpy Toyota Camry and into a glam car with a three-pointed star.
“It will enable us to win new customers for Mercedes-Benz,” says Britta Seeger, the Daimler board member responsible for marketing and sales at Mercedes-Benz Cars.
BMW produces a 1 Series sedan but it’s only for China, which leaves the Audi A3 Sedan as the new Mercedes’ main rival here, but so-called “conquest sales” are what Mercedes expects the A-Class Sedan to achieve.
To some extent, we’ve been here before with the CLA, the smallest car with four doors from Mercedes. It has served as the entry-point to Mercedes ownership for hordes of people.
Strictly speaking, however, the CLA is considered a coupe by Mercedes, which helps to excuse the fact that it’s cramped in the back.
The A-Class Sedan addresses that with a less swoopy roofline that creates more headroom in the back. It also has a longer wheelbase, at 2,729mm versus the CLA’s 2,699mm.
Here’s what the Sedan looks like in profile…
… and for comparison, the CLA Coupe:
If you’re interested in the other dimensions, they’re 4,549, 1796 and 1446 mm for length, width and height. For reference, that makes it marginally longer than an A3 Saloon. A Toyota Altis is 4,620mm long.
The boot offers 420 litres of space. That makes it smaller (by 50 litres) than the CLA’s boot, but it should be easier to use because it has a much bigger opening.
If there’s one way the new car is clearly superior to the CLA, it’s the interior. It gets the cabin from the new A-Class, complete with jet-turbine air-con vents and large digital displays that replace normal dials, with either with two 7-inch displays, one 7-inch and one 10.25-inch display, or two 10.25-inch displays.
It will also come with MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User eXperience), the spoken interface system that’s powered by artificial intelligence — think “Hey, Mercedes,” instead of “Hey, Siri.”
Interestingly, Mercedes says the A-Class Sedan is the most aerodynamically efficient car in the world. It has a low drag co-efficient (meaning it has a slippery shape) and a small frontal area, and the two factors combine to produce a car with lower wind resistance than any other, which in turn helps to save fuel.
The sole petrol version announced by Mercedes is the A 200, which has a 1.3-litre turbo engine with 163 horsepower and 250 Newton-metres of peak torque. That drives the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
You’ll likely see a more powerful A 250 (with a 2.0-litre, 227hp, 350Nm turbo engine) that has a multi-link rear axle instead of the standard torsion beam set-up. That should provide both better handling and a more pliant ride — basically the sort of thing you would expect from a Mercedes saloon.
All that said, it’s worth pointing out that the A-Class Sedan isn’t meant to replace the CLA Coupe. Mercedes is actually working on a next-generation CLA, as well. That means when the A-Class Sedan is launched in Singapore in 2019, Mercedes will actually have two small four-door cars for buyers to choose from.
That should make rivals sweat a bit, alongside those who sell bigger cars from non-premium brands. The CLA may be smaller and less practical than this A-Class Sedan is going to be, but in some key markets more than half the people who bought one were complete newcomers to the Mercedes brand.
Can’t wait till 2019 for your premium baby sedan? The Audi A3 Sedan is already here!
Don’t like sedans? Then you’ll want the youthful new A-Class hatchback…