Set to support both standard front- and optional four-wheel drive, the Mercedes saloon is among six models planned to be based on Mercedes' second-generation MFA platform, including successor models to the A-Class, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake, and GLA.
The dimensions of the new A-Class saloon are shrouded in secrecy, but it is expected to stretch beyond the 4630mm length, 1780mm width and 1430mm height of the existing first-generation CLA.
By comparison, rivals such as the A3 saloon measure 4450mm in length, 1795mm in width and 1415mm in height, while the 1 Series saloon runs to 4456mm in length, 1803mm in width and 1446mm in height.
Information obtained by Autocar also confirms the A-Class saloon has been conceived to support two different wheelbases. A standard wheelbase version is expected to be sold in all markets except for China, which will receive its own long-wheelbase variant in line with other recent Mercedes saloon models, including the C- and E-Class.
Power for the new car is planned to come from the company’s latest M264 turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol and OM654 turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engines, both of which will support new fuel-saving features, including the coast function already seen in more upmarket models from the German car maker.
Also planned are less powerful models running updated versions of the Renault/Nissan units used in Mercedes’ existing compact car lineup. They include a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol and turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel.
Topping the line-up will be a new four-wheel-drive A45 4Matic saloon model running an updated version of today’s M133 turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder AMG developed engine with up to 400bhp.
Also planned is a plug-in petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain combining the M264 petrol unit with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack for limited zero emission capability.
Among the gearboxes will be a standard six-speed manual and optional nine-speed dual clutch automatic – the latter a development of today’s seven-speed unit to be produced in-house at Mercedes-Benz’s gearbox manufacturing facility near Stuttgart in Germany.
Benefitting from a transverse engine layout, the new saloon is described as being particularly roomy, with passenger and luggage space almost on par with the larger C-Class.
Autocar can also confirm the second-generation MFA platform has been designed to support a new electrical architecture. It provides the basis for a new Comand 6.0 infotainment system with both touchscreen and gesture controls.
While details remain scarce, production of the A-Class saloon is expected to take place in up to three factories, including Mercedes-Benz’s Kecskemet plant in Hungary, as a joint-venture plant operated by Mercedes’ parent company Daimler and Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation in Beijing, China as well as a new facility being constructed by Daimler and its alliance partner Nissan/Infiniti in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
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