A production version is set to reach the UK by the end of next year and will be part of the German firm’s eight-model compact car line-up.
The new four-door has been conceived to challenge the likes of the Audi A3 saloon and upcoming BMW 1 Series saloon. The latter is currently produced and sold exclusively in China, but BMW officials say it is likely to be offered globally when the third-generation 1 Series is launched in 2019.
As with the models offered by its premium brand rivals, the new Mercedes saloon is set to give buyers the choice of a range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, including a 400bhp-plus turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol unit in a range-topping A45 4Matic variant.
Insiders suggest this car will be added to the Mercedes-AMG line-up in 2019 as a direct competitor to the recently 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 31 miles. 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 Audi and BMW 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 A-Class, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA, as well as a new SUV, likely to be called GLB, that will rival the BMW X1.
The identity of the eighth model in the new line-up remains under wraps, although insiders at Mercedes’ headquarters in Stuttgart suggest it may be a two-door cabriolet version of the new SUV to counter the Range Rover Evoque Cabriolet.