2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan
China-only model previews U.S.-spec four-doorby Ciprian Florea, on
Unveiled as a concept car at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show, the sedan version of the A-Class unveiled itself to the world in production form at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show. As expected, the A-Class Sedan is pretty much a shrunken CLA, boasting a coupe-style roof and a short deck lid. Shown here is the longer wheelbase version developed specifically for the Chinese market.
Set to go on sale in the second half of 2018, the A-Class L sedan is produced at produced at Beijing Benz Automotive (BBAC), a joint venture between Daimler and BAIC Motor. While the A-Class L won’t be sold outside China, a regular wheelbase model will follow in the second half of the year to take on the Audi A3 Sedan in Europe and the United States. And AMG variant is also likely, but until that happens, let’s find out what sets the A-Class Sedan apart from its hatchback sibling.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan.
2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan
Horsepower @ RPM:134
Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Exterior
- Based on hatchback model
- Coupe-style roof
- Short decklid
- New taillights
- Not as sporty as the hatch
- Longer wheelbase
- Exclusive gold color
- 19-inch wheels
The familiar hatchback design of the A-Class is gone, with the rear end modified into a three-box layout
Just as I expected when I first learned that Mercedes will build a sedan version of the hatchback, the four-door A-Class is identical to the five-door version from the nose and toward the C-pillar. It has the same slender headlamps based on the larger CLS, the big grille with diamond radiator inserts, and a three-piece intake layout in the bumper with big vents on the sides.
Things begin to change once you check out the profile. The familiar hatchback design of the A-Class is gone, with the rear end modified into a three-box layout. The rear doors and quarter windows were revised, while the roof has a sleeker design that almost looks like a coupe. The sloping decklid and the roofline make the A-Class L Sedan very similar to the CLA. The only thing that’s missing, aside from the fact that the CLA is an older design, is the longer deck lid of the latter.
The rear end is obviously different due to the tailgate having been replaced with a more traditional trunk lid
Speaking of dimensions, the A-Class L is 60 mm (2.36 inches) longer than the standard model. All the extra length goes into the wheelbase, which measures 2,789 mm (109.8 inches). That’s 153 mm (six inches) longer than the Audi A3 Sedan and 119 mm (4.7 inches) longer than the BMW 1 Series Sedan. The A-Class’ wheelbase is also longer than the CLA’s by 90 mm (3.5 inches).
The sedan’s rear end is obviously different due to the tailgate having been replaced with a more traditional trunk lid, but several details remain identical to the hatchback. Most of the fascia is similar, as is the trunk opening and the bumper, which still sports faux vents on the sides and wide exhaust pipes. The taillights also have a two-piece arrangement, but the units are taller toward the fender and shorter inside the trunk lid. The LED pattern is also different and far more interesting on the sedan.
Mercedes also added an exclusive Rose Gold paint for this Chinese model, while wheel options include sizes from 16 to 19 inches.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Interior
- Modern design
- Features from larger Mercs
- Premium materials
- 10.25-inch displays
- Smart MBUX infotainment
- Extra knee room
- 14.8-cubic-feet trunk
The new A-Class is not only gorgeous design-wise, but it’s also packed with the best technology in this segment
From the official photos it’s pretty obvious that the cabin is identical to the hatchback model. And this is great news for Chinese buyers, as the new A-Class is not only gorgeous design-wise, but it’s also packed with the best technology in this segment.
The layout borrows many features from the bigger Mercedes models, including the C-Class and E-Class, which helps the A-Class set a new standard in the premium compact segment, even when compared to the new BMW 1 Series Sedan. The wing-shaped, multi-tier dashboard doesn’t have the two-tone finish we’ve seen in the dashboard in these first official shots, but Mercedes will probably offer this option. The turbine-style A/C vents are present at each corner each corner, as are the three outlets on the center stack, which has a clean design.
The range-topping model gets two 10.25-inch displays
The instrument cluster and infotainment display have the same layout as in the larger S-Class and CLS models. Although not placed under a big hood, they’re connected to each other, giving the impression that a really long screen stretches over the driver’s side half of the dashboard. This feature is not standard on all models, but the range-topping model gets two 10.25-inch displays.
The sedan is also equipped with the unique ambient lighting system with 64 colors and the brand-new MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system. MBUX has ability to learn thanks to artificial intelligence and it can also be customized through augmented reality technology and intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition.
Rear-seat passengers get a bit more knee room thanks to the longer wheelbase
The Chinese model also benefits from the extra legroom, shoulder room, and headroom that comes with the fourth-generation hatchback. The rear-seat layout remains unchanged for the sedan, but it gets a bit more knee room thanks to the longer wheelbase. The optional seat climate control and the Multicontour Seat package with massage function for the front seats, a first in this segment, is available for the A-Class L Sedan too.
Trunk capacity is rated at 420 liters, which converts to 14.8 cubic feet. This figure will carry over to the regular wheelbase model we will get in the United States.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Drivetrain
- New 1.3-liter engine
- Up to 161 horsepower
- 2.0-liter with 188 horses coming soon
- Not as powerful as the BMW 1 Series
- 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
The 1.3-liter mill was developed by the Renault-Nissan Alliance
This is where the China-made A-Class and the Euro-spec models are different. While the hatchback uses a 1.4-liter four-cylinder, the sedan gets its juice from a 1.3-liter unit. This mill was developed by the Renault-Nissan Alliance and is shared with Mercedes-Benz based on an agreement that also saw the 1.5-liter diesel offered in compact car from the German company.
Already available in the fourth-generation Renault Scenic, the four-banger is offered in two flavors in the A-Class. The base model generates 134 horsepower, while the mid-range version comes with 161 horses on tap. Merc will also introduce a version of the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s available in the hatchback, rated at a more appealing 188 horsepower.
The 2.0-liter four-pot cranks out 188 horsepower
The power rating are somewhat similar to the BMW 1 Series Sedan, with the base 118i model rated at 136 horsepower and the 120i version good for 192 horses. However, Mercedes doesn’t offer a rival for the range-topping 125i, which cranks out 231 horsepower.
All engines are coupled to the company’s seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission as standard. There’s no word on performance figures yet.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Safety
The A-Class is also the most advanced vehicle in its class safety-wise, borrowing many features from the S-Class
The A-Class is also the most advanced vehicle in its class safety-wise, borrowing many features from the S-Class. It even includes a semi-autonomous drive system. Although it doesn’t make the A-Class as autonomous as the big S-Class because it works just in certain situations, it still make the small sedan a novelty in this niche.
The system enables the car keeps a close eye on the traffic with an improved camera and radar systems and uses map and navigation data for assistance functions. Active Distance Assist Distronic is able to support the driver in numerous route-specific situations, while predictively adjusting the speed when approaching bends or roundabouts.
The four-door is also fitted with Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Lane Change Assist, and Active Brake Assist as standard. The latter can help to reduce the impact of rear-end collisions with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles ahead, and even with crossing pedestrians and cyclists. The Pre-Safe Plus package from the bigger Merc can be ordered at extra cost.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Prices
Pricing information for the A-Class L Sedan is not yet available, but it shouldn’t cost more than the BMW 1 Series Sedan in order to remain competitive. With the Bimmer starting just under CNY205,000, the Merc could fetch CNY210,000 (around $33,220) before options.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Competition
The sedan version of the Audi A3 arrive in 2013, about the same time when Mercedes launched the CLA, also a compact. Slightly wider and lower than the A3 Sportback, the sedan comes with a revised rear end that includes a traditional trunk area. Updated for the 2017 model year, the A3 Sedan boasts a fresh exterior design with sportier, angular lines. It might not be as sleek as the A-Class Sedan, but the A3 Sedan has an attractive design that’s also surprisingly stylish. The interior isn’t as fancy as the A-Class though, and it doesn’t come with as many high-tech features. However, there is a 12.3-inch digital cluster and an upgraded MMI infotainment system with 4G LTE. Under the hood, the A3 Sedan sports a 220-horsepower 2.0-liter engine in the U.S., but the Chinese model comes with more options, including a 1.4-liter four-cylinder with 147 horsepower and a 1.8-liter four-banger with 177 horses. The A3 Sedan starts from CNY190,900 in China, which converts to around $31,200 as of April 2018.
Read our full review of the 2018 Audi A3 Sedan.
The 1 series Sedan is much newer than the A3 Sedan, having been introduced in 2017. Unlike the Audi, which is a global model, the 1 Series Sedan is a China-only vehicle and BMW has no plans to offer it elsewhere for the time being. Much like its competitors, the 1 Series Sedan is pretty much the hatchback model with a sleek roof and a short deck lid. But despite being a China-spec model, the German four-door doesn’t have a longer wheelbase version, being 4.7 inches shorter than the A-Class L Sedan. The interior is identical to the hatchback, but it boasts an optimized rear compartment with improved passenger room and model-specific rear seats. The drivetrain range begins with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder rated at 136 horsepower and 162 pound-feet. Next up is the familiar 2.0-liter four-banger, available in two flavors. The 120i comes with 192 horses and 206 pound-feet, while the 125i cranks out a solid 231 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of twist. While the base model uses a six-speed transmission, the other two are equipped with the eight-speed Steptronic unit. The 1 Series Sedan retails from CNY204,800 (about $32,400).
Read our full story on the 2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan.
While it’s definitely the most appealing and advanced vehicle in its niche, the A-Class L Sedan has a somewhat awkward position in the lineup. Despite being placed below the CLA in terms of model designation, the A-Class L is actually just as big as the four-door coupe, also available in China. Sure, the CLA is about to get a redesigned and it will probably grow larger, but it still looks as if the A-Class L will leave the CLA without customers for a while. The latter might look sleeker, but it’s becoming dated technology-wise and it’s styling is getting older too. Needless to say, the A-Class L Sedan will probably dominate the market in China and it will definitely outgun the A3 Sedan once it becomes available (with the shorter wheelbase though) in Europe and the United States.
Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.
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Read more 2018 Beijing Auto Show news.