Model only for China market has 60 mm more wheelbase to extend the body length.

In May this year, Mercedes-Benz unveiled a sedan variant of the new A-Class generation but this was a model with a long wheelbase and only for China. The company said that another 3-box variant for other global markets would be revealed later in the year and has now released the first details and pictures. The model will have its world premiere at the Paris Motorshow next month. The new A-Class Saloon will be built in Mexico as well as in Germany.

To go on sale in 2019, the A-Class Saloon sits on a wheelbase of 2729 mm which is the same as that for the hatchback and 60 mm shorter than the sedan sold only in China. A claim is made of it being at the top of its segment with regard to rear headroom.

Back in July, the company had already revealed that this new sedan will have the lowest aerodynamic drag of any production vehicle in the world with a Cd value of 0.22 and a frontal area of only 2.19 square metres. It is more aerodynamically efficient than the CLA Coupe which has held that world record to date.

There is a choice of suspension systems for the A-Class, depending on engine variant and driver preference. The front axle will have a common MacPherson strut arrangement but the more powerful versions and models with 4MATIC will have adaptive damping and/or larger wheels with a complex 4-link rear axle. Other versions will have a weight-optimised torsion-beam rear axle.

The saloon will share the technical features with the hatchback, including the range of modern and efficient engines, state-of-the-art driving assistance systems with S-Class functions, and the intuitively operated and learning MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system.

One of the strengths of MBUX is its intelligent voice control with natural language comprehension, which is activated by the keyword ‘Hey Mercedes’ (or ‘Hello Mercedes’). The new LINGUATRONIC supports many infotainment functions (eg destination input, phone calls, music selection, writing and hearing messages, weather forecast) as well as numerous convenience functions such as climate control/lighting. Indirect speech is also recognised, for instance if the user says ‘I feel cold’ instead of giving the clear command ‘Temperature to 24 degrees’ in order to operate the climate control. The temperature is then increased by one degree, or lowered by one degree on hearing ‘I am hot’.

The voice control is also capable of learning. On the one hand, it tunes into the user and their voice and also understands non-native speakers better; on the other hand, the software models on the server learn new buzzwords or changing use of language with time. The system also no longer answers stereotypically but varies in the dialogue output too. This means it is not the driver who must learn the voice commands stored in the vehicle but rather the vehicle that learns the voice commands of the driver.

“Following the successful launch of the new A-Class, we are continuing to expand the range in the compact car segment. In response to the wish of many customers, we are now offering the A-Class for the first time as a saloon car as well,” said Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing and Sales. “Anyone looking for a compact, sporty saloon with a separate boot now has a new attractive alternative. It will enable us to win new customers for Mercedes-Benz.”

The A-Class established today’s compact car segment of Mercedes-Benz in 1997 and since then, more than 6 million compact cars with The Star have been delivered worldwide. The A-Class Saloon, as the seventh model, further expands the range of compact cars from Mercedes-Benz.

[Click here to read about the long development story of the A-Class]

While production at the plant in Mexico starts this year and its output will mainly be for the North American market, the model will only be produced in the plant in Germany from 2019 so it would be later next year when we see it coming to Malaysia. However, we have heard rumours that the new A-Class hatchback will appear here before the year ends.

Click here for other news and articles about the A-Class.

[Chips Yap]

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