Future hatchback will get new, larger underpinnings and hybrid option; top AMG A45 will produce 400bhp
12 October 2017

Mercedes-Benz will reveal its most luxurious and technically advanced A-Class at the Geneva motor show next March, so it is moving development of its future rival to the BMW 1 Series into the final stages.

Spotted recently wearing light covers on public roads in Germany, the model will be 10mm longer, adopting a new floorpan and body structure that are claimed to provide significant increases in rigidity. This, in turn, aims to give the new model, which will also rival the Audi A3, vastly improved refinement.

The increase in the car’s length is concentrated almost wholly within the wheelbase, providing improvements in interior packaging and the scope for larger rear door apertures for ease of entry and exit. The boot capacity has also grown beyond the nominal 341 litres of today’s model.

Underpinning the new A-Class is a redeveloped MFA (modular front architecture) and a chassis featuring MacPherson-strut front and multi-link rear suspension. It supports Mercedes’ Drive Select function, which allows the driver to alter the characteristics of the steering, engine mapping, gearbox software and damping using at least four different modes.

The roomier cabin has a brand-new dashboard that features higher-grade materials, digital instruments and a new touch-based Comand 5 infotainment system. There is also a new steering wheel with touchpad controls, new sport seats and a raft of new driver assistance systems as part of Mercedes’ suite of Level 2 autonomous driving functions - benefiting from tech first demonstrated in the S-Class.

Mercedes sales boss Britta Seeger hinted to Autocar earlier in the year that this new tech would be integrated, giving the A-Class the potential to steer and brake itself up to certain speeds. It'll do this using systems that are part of the car's lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control technology.

The future A-Class is the first of up to eight new compact cars, which include replacements for today’s B-Class, CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, as well as the GLA. There will also be an A-Class Saloon (and its own 400bhp A45 variant), a GLB and a possible new seven-seat version of the GLB.

The new A-Class and its seven compact car siblings will feature a range of new four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines — all claimed to offer better economy and emissions than today’s units.

Kicking off the line-up will be the new M282 petrol engine. Developed in conjunction with parent company Daimler’s alliance partner, Renault, it will first be offered in 1.4-litre guise, providing the next A-Class with a new entry-level point. A 1.2-litre version of this engine has also been engineered through to production maturity, although doubts remain over whether it will be used by Mercedes or remain exclusive to Renault.

Above it will be the M260 petrol engine, which has been developed in 1.6-litre and 2.0-litres guises. Both versions are planned to appear in the next A-Class in a variety of tunes. In its most powerful form, the M260 will feature a belt-driven generator capable of operating as a mild hybrid, with electrically assisted boosting and step-off in combination with a 48V electrical system.

The diesels will all be based around Mercedes’ latest 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, the OM654, and be available in up to three states of tune, according to engineering sources at the company’s Sindelfingen R&D centre.

A plug-in hybrid version is also planned as a rival to the Volkswagen Golf GTE. Details remain scarce, although it is expected to run the 1.4-litre version of the M282 four-cylinder petrol engine in combination with an electric motor housed within the forward section of Mercedes’ new nine-speed DCT gearbox. It will be one of a number of EQ Power-branded drivelines.

Insiders have suggested to Autocar that the lithium battery pack for the new plug-in A-Class will possess sufficient energy density for an all-electric range of up to 31 miles.

The new A-Class will use revised versions of today’s six-speed manual and seven-speed DCT gearboxes. Selected models will get the optional nine-speed DCT unit that supports a coasting mode together with kinetic energy regeneration. Alongside standard front-wheel drive, Mercedes will make the 4Matic all-wheel-drive system available on higher-end models.

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Comments
21

13 March 2017
Bigger (wider, no doubt, to better not fit those parking spots) and more power (great in traffic jams).... I wonder what name will they invent for a new small hatch they will eventually release, alphabet starts with A.

No manual - no fun

17 May 2017
NoPasaran wrote:

Bigger (wider, no doubt, to better not fit those parking spots) and more power (great in traffic jams)....

I wonder what name will they invent for a new small hatch they will eventually release, alphabet starts with A.

Probably A-

12 October 2017

I was going to say the same.  Remeber when it was this tiny hatchback?

Wasn't that the point of calling it 'A'?

13 March 2017
Wow, this model will only have been out 6 years by the time they replace it and I think they sell about 120,000 of these a year meaning that for Mercedes it's not exactly setting the world on fire but has probably done 'ok'. The next time anyone suggest Jaguar has a go in this space think again. Car makers clearly have to update models quickly in this sector and aren't exactly making lots of money.

13 March 2017
I guess it makes money because of the vast number of different models sold on the same platform (CLA, GLA etc). It helps as well that it has lots of Renault/Infiniti bits under the skin too...

17 May 2017
Mikey C wrote:

I guess it makes money because of the vast number of different models sold on the same platform (CLA, GLA etc). It helps as well that it has lots of Renault/Infiniti bits under the skin too...

It's basically a tarted up Renault Megane for idiots

13 March 2017
[quote=TStag]Wow, this model will only have been out 6 years by the time they replace it and I think they sell about 120,000 of these a year meaning that for Mercedes it's not exactly setting the world on fire but has probably done 'ok'. The next time anyone suggest Jaguar has a go in this space think again. Car makers clearly have to update models quickly in this sector and aren't exactly making lots of money.[/quote] If they get it right it's a nice little earner, A3's last around 8 yrs.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

wmb

13 March 2017
Their was a time when we were all hot and bothered because BMW's M5 had 400 hp! Now we're looking at the next Mercedes AMG A-Class packing the same power of that hallowed machine! I know that a major difference will be that the M5's power, at the time, came from a naturally aspirated engine and this AMG will probably use some type of force induction. One way or another 400 hp is 400 hp, yet this AMG will be doing it with an engine with maybe half the cylinders of that M5 and might even be more efficient while doing it! Come on BMW, Mercedes has dropped the gauntlet and has extended a challenge to you with a vehicle they plan to sale in the UK and other parts of the world and your 1 Series will only be sold in China! Will you expect/take this challenge and prove your mettle in this sector of the car market?

13 March 2017
Looks just like the old model only fatter. Business as usual for the Germans.

Citroëniste.

13 March 2017
I really liked the original A Class. It offered something different and interesting. The current and next tarted-up Astra-alikes, 400 horses or neigh, leave me cold, bored and depressed. Please MB, you of all companies should show a bit of imagination and stop this puerile willy-waggling competition.

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