Will it be a China-only model?

Mercedes-Benz can be credited with inventing several niches in the auto market recently, most notably with the CLS and CLA four-door coupes (and their Shooting Brake/wagon variants). However, the German firm fell behind the competition in the smaller sedan market. While Audi has been selling the A3 Sedan since 2013 and BMW recently introduced the 1 Series Sedan in China, Stuttgart has yet to launch a similar offering. But, this will end soon and the Concept A Sedan that Mercedes unveiled at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show proves that a four-door smaller than the CLA is in the works.

As you might have already guessed from the name, the Concept A Sedan previews a sedan version of the familiar A-Class. However, the production model won’t arrive until the fourth-generation hatchback is launched, which should happen in a couple of years. Although Mercedes-Benz didn’t actually confirm the A-Class sedan, the concept is described as "an outlook of the next generation of compact vehicles and a potential new body type." Take this statement and the fact that both Audi, and BMW have cars in this segment, and the A-Class sedan is pretty certain to happen.

As with all concepts, the Concept A Sedan is rather futuristic compared to the current-generation A-Class. While the front bumper and grille are very familiar, the styling is decidedly sportier and has an AMG-GT vibe to it. In the company’s own words, the concept "shows that the time of creases is over" and is "the next milestone of ’Sensual Purity’ and has the potential to introduce a new design era."

All told, the show car could very well preview the design of the upcoming A-Class hatchback before finding its way onto the production sedan. On the other hand, I wouldn’t bet on them being as aggressive as the concept. I also don’t expect the UV-treated headlamps, which "glow" in different colors depending on light, to become a production feature.

However, Mercedes gives us a few hints as to how large this compact sedan will be. At 179.9 inches long and 73.6 inches wide, it’s almost 11 inches longer and 3.5 inches wider than the current A-Class sedan. Compared to the CLA, it’s only three inches shorter, but 3.5 inches wider. As expected, it slots right below the CLA, but the production model will probably be a bit shorter than the concept. On the other hand, a similar length could work as the CLA is marketed as a four-door coupe, while the A-Class sedan will be sold as a conventional four-door.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it Matters

Mercedes Concept A Sedan Confirms Four-Door A-Class High Resolution Exterior
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Mercedes Concept A Sedan Confirms Four-Door A-Class High Resolution Exterior
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Mercedes Concept A Sedan Confirms Four-Door A-Class High Resolution Exterior
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Mercedes Concept A Sedan Confirms Four-Door A-Class High Resolution Exterior
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Granted, it’s a bit too early to draw a proper conclusion of the production model, but it seems that Mercedes-Benz has put a lot of work into this concept car and this makes the A-Class sedan a certainty. A good decision if you ask me with the A3 Sedan already available globally. There is a possibility that the A-Class four-door will be offered in China only, just like the 1 Series Sedan, but Audi’s success in this niche could prompt BMW and Mercedes-Benz to consider both Europe and the United States. After all, Merc already offers five compact vehicles (A- and B-Class, CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, and GLA crossover), and the A-Class sedan would round out an affordable, yet family-friendly lineup. You can’t go wrong with that.

Press Release

With the Concept A Sedan at the Shanghai Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz is providing an outlook of the next generation of compact vehicles and a potential new body type.

The Concept A Sedan show car specifies the evolved Mercedes-Benz design language. Thanks to its purist, surface-focused design featuring reduced lines and gaps, the show car is hot and cool at the same time. The "Aesthetics A" sculpture already demonstrated that the upcoming compact class generation marks the dawn of an even more rigorous implementation of the design idiom of "sensual purity."

"Our Concept A Sedan shows that the time of creases is over," says Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler AG. "With its perfect proportions and a sensual treatment of surfaces with reduced lines, it is the next milestone of ’Sensual Purity’ and has the potential to introduce a new design era."

Mercedes Concept A Sedan Confirms Four-Door A-Class High Resolution Exterior
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The current compact vehicle generation is contributing to Mercedes-Benz’s most successful and rejuvenated model lineup ever and helped to make 2016 the sixth year of record sales in succession. More than two million Mercedes-Benz compact vehicles have been sold around the globe since 2012. In addition to the contemporary design language, innovative assistance systems, connectivity and driving pleasure, model variety is a crucial factor for success: with the A and B-Class, CLA and CLA Shooting Brake, as well as the SUV crossover GLA, five differently positioned variants are available globally (B-Class, CLA and GLA variants available in the U.S. market).

"Their success shows that our customers are absolutely delighted with the current generation of Mercedes-Benz compact cars," says Britta Seeger, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. "We are therefore extremely confident that the planned expansion will lead to a continuation of this success story."

Mercedes Concept A Sedan Confirms Four-Door A-Class High Resolution Exterior
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The Concept A Sedan: study of a compact premium sedan

The Concept A Sedan (length/width/height: 179.9"/73.6"/57.6") has been designed with the proportions of a dynamic, coupe-like and simultaneously compact, premium sedan. This aim is emphasized by the traditional three-box design featuring short overhangs, especially at the rear, as well as a slim greenhouse that has been offset towards the rear. Additional sedan characteristics are the relatively vertical C-pillar, larger side windows and higher beltline.

The muscular wheel arch design featuring a reduced arch dimension emphasizes the exclusive 20-inch wheels. The light alloy wheels radiate technical precision with their sporty look that features a structured surface between the spokes. The door handles of the show car are flush with the body, while the outside mirrors, are positioned on the Concept A Sedan’s beltlines.

The striking front expresses self-confidence: this is highlighted by the deep Panamericana grille tilted towards the front, featuring vertical chrome inserts and a star in the center, as well as the stretched hood with Powerdomes. The large, lower air inlet featuring a diamond grid structure and a striking trim strip in dark chrome is also amongst the most eye-catching features.

Mercedes Concept A Sedan Confirms Four-Door A-Class High Resolution Exterior
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The unique headlamps are a unique feature of the brand and the striking grid structure on the inside of the headlamp guarantees a confident, easy-to-recognize look. The structural sculpture that has been broken down in detail represents a technically based counterpole to the sensual exterior – "stimulating contrast" is one of the six guiding principles of Mercedes-Benz design. The grid structure in the lamps has been coated with a UV paint and it is exposed to ultraviolet light. As a result, the headlamps "glow" in different colors, depending on the light medium – the daytime running lamps, for instance, are white.

This unique lighting technology is also used at the rear: The striking taillamps have been designed as structural sculptures. In line with the evolved design philosophy, the lines and gaps at the rear have been reduced. As a contrast to the paintwork, the rear bumper features a diffuser-look lower part trimmed in black with a chrome strip that emphasizes the car’s width, underscoring the car’s premium appeal. The integrated exhaust deflectors are finished in dark chrome. Additional features of the roadworthy show car are dark tinted windows all-round as well as a large, panoramic glass roof.

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