Mercedes will replace its two smallest models with more conventional front-wheel-drive hatchbacks, company sources have revealed. The new models will be joined by a three-door coupé, a cabrio, a 4x4 and an MPV."We want to expand the line-ups to at least double that of today's levels," said Rainer Schmueckle, Mercedes-Benz chief executive officer. Also under consideration is a four-door saloon, of similar size to the original 190.The decision to continue with front-wheel drive comes after a lengthy internal review. The new layout, called MFA (Mercedes Front-wheel drive Architecture), has been conceived to support a much wider range of models and allows for four-wheel drive, paving the way for high-performance variants.Mercedes has abandoned the complex, expensive sandwich construction that provides today's models with a flat floor. It has been replaced by a simpler, cheaper arrangement that will allow the next generation of vehicles to sit nearer to the ground.The company is also designing a new range of engines. They will work with other models, unlike the engines in the existing A and B-class, which were conceived for underfloor mounting and have a unique design.More significant, perhaps, is the Mercedes plan to equip the next entry-level models with the option of hybrid drive. Features such as start-stop and brake energy regeneration are also "definitely part of the new package", said Mercedes sources.