A four-wheel drive AMG-badged version of the new coupé is also planned
A roadster version is also a possibility
A hot turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder AMG version producing up to 400bhp and featuring standard four-wheel drive is envisaged to crown the new range.
Currently at the drawing board stage, the new 2+2 has become a hot topic for discussion in recent Mercedes-Benz board member meetings. Chairman Dieter Zetsche is said to be among its keener supporters as he sets out to fulfil plans to overtake Audi and BMW in global luxury car sales by the end of the decade.
If a production go-ahead is granted, the price-leading Mercedes-Benz coupé could go on sale as early as 2019. That is just a year after the fourth-generation five-door A-Class hatchback is due to head into showrooms with a widened range of powertrains, including a new plug-in hybrid system for the first time.
Autocar understands that the new coupé is likely to succeed the three-door A-Class hatchback with an exterior design that draws on elements from the recently introduced Mercedes-AMG GT, including a practical liftback. The proposed designs for the new coupé are for a lower and wider car than today’s three-door A-Class, and the look is described as being “highly emotional”.
To cut costs, the interior architecture is likely to be shared with other new compact Mercedes-Benz models. Inside, the new coupé is being planned to offer a traditional 2+2 layout and a boot with a capacity of about 350 litres.
As well as a coupé variant, Mercedes-Benz is also mulling over a roadster version. This has led to suggestions that it may eventually replace the SLK, although this has been denied by company officials.
As with its Audi TT rival, the new Mercedes-Benz is proposed to use a transversely mounted engine and come with the choice of standard front-wheel drive or optional four-wheel drive.
The starting point for the coupé is a new front-wheel drive platform developed in a joint venture between Mercedes-Benz and the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Described as being more flexible than today’s MFA structure, it is designed to permit greater variation in wheelbase and track widths as well as providing greater scope for the storage of batteries and gas tanks in possible hybrid and fuel cell derivatives.
The new underpinnings are being earmarked for successor models to the existing A, B, CLA and GLA-Class. In addition, elements of it will also be used by the upcoming Infiniti Q30 and the QX30, which was previewed in concept guise at the Geneva show in March.
Details of the new platform remain under wraps, although Mercedes-Benz officials have hinted that it will incorporate a number of weight-saving features, including increased use of hot-formed high-strength steel in the floorpan.
Power for the new coupé is expected to come from a range of heavily updated four-cylinder petrol and diesel powerplants that are being developed in partnership with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Although it is still early days, the suggestions are that the new coupé could also be offered with the choice of either a petrol-electric or diesel-electric system.
At the top of the new range is likely to be an Audi TT RS and BMW M2-chasing AMG model running a further powered-up version of the A45 AMG’s turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine. Close to 400bhp is tipped. With a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive, it should be good for 0-62mph in less than 4.5sec and a top speed limited to 155mph.
As well as the new coupé, Mercedes-Benz has formed plans for a new entry-level saloon to go up against the Audi A3 saloon and upcoming BMW 1 Series saloon. Described as offering greater rear leg room and boot space that the current CLA, the new saloon is set to appear in 2018 as a further addition to the firm’s compact car line-up.
Another new model set to use the new MFA platform is the proposed GLB - an entry-level SUV conceived to go up against the upcoming Audi Q1 and second-generation Mini Countryman. As with the new coupé, it is tentatively scheduled to go on sale in 2019. It will take its styling cues from the G-Class and be much more of an SUV than the current GLA, which is more of a high-riding A-Class hatchback.
By the end of the decade, Mercedes-Benz could offer up to eight new compact models, including the A-Class hatchback, A-Class saloon, A-Class coupé, A-Class roadster, B-Class, B-Class long wheelbase, CLA-Class, GLA-Class and GLB-Class.
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