Could this new four-door tempt executive car buyers to downsize?
- C-Class looks at an A-Class price
- Should appeal to more traditional tastes
- Stylish cabin mirrors the Hatchback’s
- We know very little else about it so far
Although there is official confirmation that a four-door Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon is heading to showrooms in early 2019, the car pictured here isn’t the one British customers will be able to buy.
In China, where consumers have a penchant for increased rear legroom in their cars, Mercedes-Benz has revealed this A-Class L Saloon – the L denotes its 6cm longer wheelbase. What’s set to be offered in Britain is expected to look very similar, just slightly shorter.
Rivals for the booted A-Class are few and far between as mainstream manufacturers have largely deserted this segment of the market. Alternatives include the Audi A3 Saloon, the yet-to-be-announced BMW 1 Series Saloon and, slightly downmarket, the stylish Mazda 3 Fastback. Even the semi-premium Volkswagen Jetta is no longer sold in the UK.
Swoopy styling a Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon hallmark
Our sources indicate that the A-Class Saloon won’t replace the outgoing Mercedes-Benz CLA – instead, the replacement for the four-door coupe range will be even sleeker and feel sportier to drive.
That leaves space for the A-Class Saloon, which will appeal to more traditional buyers, although it’s nevertheless a handsome creation, styled within Mercedes’ ‘Sensual Purity’ ethos.
The German firm also claims to have maximised the Saloon’s interior space, so it has very short front and rear overhangs in relation to its length.
Unsurprisingly, it's very closely related to the A-Class Hatchback, so you get the same low bonnet, shallow headlamps with chrome elements, and torch-like daytime driving lights.
Considering it will be predominantly front-wheel drive – 4Matic four-wheel drive versions are under consideration for Britain – it has a pleasingly long bonnet for such a compact four-door, and looks very much like a shrunken C-Class Saloon as a consequence. This could tempt would-be C-Class buyers to downsize.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon: top interior tech
The second model in the fourth-generation A-Class line-up to be revealed continues the company's policy of making the latest technology available to a wider audience. So it gets a raft of driving assistance systems and the latest MBUX infotainment set-up, which includes the new natural speech recognition system.
You get the same S-Class-emulating dashboard and interior, which currently places the A-Class Hatchback at the top of the compact premium market. The feeling of interior space is amplified by the low-line dashboard, and the wide, landscape-format digital instrumentation.
The European version of the A-Class Saloon won’t be as generous in terms of rear-seat accommodation as its Chinese-market counterpart, but there shouldn’t be much change to the 420-litre boot capacity.
Mercedes-Benz is also making great play of its WeChatMyCar app that's included. The company says that it possible for two or more users to connect simultaneously to the system. The intelligent voice control works in a similarly intuitive way to home-based systems such as Google Home and Amazon's Alexa.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon: how safe is it and what engines will it have?
The Chinese-market A-Class L Saloon also boasts the very latest driver-assistance systems, such as the brilliant Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control system. The company says it offers the highest level of active safety features in this class.
It’s safe to assume that similarly high levels of safety kit will be available on European versions, too.
There’s no word yet on engines for the A-Class Saloon, but we expect that the range will mirror much of the powertrain options that the Hatchback will eventually have.
Exactly what these will be is unclear – so far the A-Class Hatchback is only available with 1.3- and 2.0-litre petrol engines (badged A 200 and A 250), together with a 1.5-litre diesel (called A 180 d).
Inevitably, the range of choice will be expanded significantly, including the introduction of hotter AMG editions, but it could be that the Saloon is only fitted with the more expensive engine options.
We expect order books to open before the end of 2018, before deliveries begin early the following year.
Stay tuned to Parkers for more information as it's released and keep an eye out for the full Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon review