Mercedes-Benz has announced plans to extend it compact car line-up from five to eight models by the end of 2020, in a move aimed at providing the German manufacturer with greater representation in important volume segments.
This new range, which high ranking Mercedes-Benz sources confirm will include a new Audi A3 saloon-rivalling four-door saloon and a BMW X1-challenging SUV with both five and seven-seat layouts, is to be based on a new modular platform set to be first used on the upcoming fourth-generation A-Class (pictured testing above), which is due in early 2018.
A development of the structure already used by Mercedes-Benz’s current compact models, the MFA2 (Modular Front Architecture) platform receives a number of significant upgrades, including the ability to support differing wheelbase lengths and track widths – developments senior Mercedes-Benz officials say will allow greater visual differentiation between each individual model.
MFA2 is said to employ more high-strength steel for greater stiffness and lower weight, will continue to provide front and four-wheel drive compatibility, and can accommodate both three and four-cylinder engines as well as manual and dual clutch gearboxes, with a new nine-speed dual clutch unit set to be used in the 2018 A-Class.
Speaking at the presentation of the facelifted first-generation GLA (below) on the eve of the Detroit motor show, Mercedes-Benz’s new sales and marketing boss, Britta Seeger (pictured with CEO Dieter Zetsche below) confirmed to Autocar each of Mercedes-Benz’s existing five compact models, the A-Class, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA, will receive successor models.