China-only model previews U.S.-spec four-door

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.

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
2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Exterior
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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.

2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Exterior
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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
2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Interior
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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.

2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Interior
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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
2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Exterior
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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

2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Exterior
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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

2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Exterior
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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

Audi A3 Sedan

2017 - 2018 Audi A3 Sedan High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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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.

BMW 1 Series Sedan

2017 BMW 1 Series Sedan High Resolution Exterior
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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.


2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan Exterior Wallpaper quality
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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.

  • Leave it
    • * Probably the most expensive too
    • * Not for sale outside China


2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

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Read more 2018 Beijing Auto Show news.

Press release

Shortly before the first A-Class hatchbacks reach customers in Western Europe in May, a new variant of the compact-class family - in the guise of the A-Class L Sedan - will already be celebrating its premiere at Auto China (25 April to 4 May 2018) in Beijing. The notchback model being presented there features a 6 cm longer wheelbase (2789 instead of 2729 mm) and is a variant developed solely for the Chinese market. This A-Class model is being produced exclusively at Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd (BBAC), a joint venture between Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC Motor. The market launch in China is scheduled for the second half of 2018. A version of the sedan tailored to the needs of customers outside China will likewise launch in the second half of the year.

With the latest design language characterised by clear structures and sensual surfaces, the high level of safety thanks to the innovative driving assistance systems featuring S‑Class functions and the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system, the Chinese A‑Class L Sedan boasts all of the virtues of the new compact-class family from Mercedes-Benz. One highlight is the intelligent voice control of the MBUX system with natural speech recognition: it is proficient in various Chinese dialects, including Sichuanese and Cantonese.

“With our Chinese customers’ wishes and needs in mind, we developed the A‑Class L Sedan for the local market, which is the first and only long wheelbase model in the premium compact car segment,” said Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Greater China. “This long wheelbase version offers added space, with a rear compartment dedicated to meeting local preferences. And given our customers in China are young and connected, our new, intuitive MBUX telematics system gives them a highly individualized digital experience. With these highlight features and more, the A‑Class L Sedan is an excellent choice for our Chinese customers. We believe it will promote our further growth as our fifth model produced locally at BBAC, and we will build it in China, for China together with our partner BAIC.”

In 2017 China was once again the largest sales market for Mercedes-Benz and smart. Customers in Mainland China took delivery over 610,000 vehicles last year, more than ever in a single year (+25.9%). In total, around 430,000 units were produced locally in 2017, which corresponds to more than two-thirds of the total sales volume in China.

More than six million compact models have already been delivered to customers in around 170 markets. Following the great success of the last compact-class generation – Mercedes-Benz sold more than 620,000 compact vehicles globally in 2017 alone – currently the company is gradually extending the new compact-car family to eight members. The A‑Class hatchback and the Chinese variant of the A‑Class Saloon are the first two representatives of the new generation.

About the Chinese A-Class L Sedan

The A-Class L Sedan also reflects the purist, surface-accentuating design of the latest Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of Sensual Purity. The compact saloon has very short overhangs at front and rear, which, in combination with the side feature line, reinforces the sporty image. As on the hatchback model, the front end design looks very progressive. Contributing to this impression are the low, drawn-out bonnet, flat headlamps with chrome elements, and torch-like daytime driving lights - plus the diamond radiator grille with single louvre, chrome pins, and central star. There is a choice of Sedan and Sport Sedan versions, with the latter featuring powerdomes on the bonnet.

The greenhouse, which sits far back, and the compact rear end emphasise the sportiness of the vehicle. The wheels (in sizes 16 to 19 inches) fit flush in the wheel arches, which, like the strongly pronounced shoulders in the rear area, gives the vehicle a square stance on the road.

The two-piece tail lights emphasise the width. The reflectors have been repositioned lower down in the bumper to allow the tail lights to benefit from a particularly flat design. Rose gold is an exclusive paint finish planned for the Chinese market.

As in the hatchback model, the interior is a completely new departure, revolutionising the compact class from the inside with a new feeling of spaciousness. The interior architecture along with the displays and controls is an avant-garde USP in this segment. For the first time a cowl above the cockpit has been completely dispensed with. As a result, the wing-shaped main body of the dashboard with its trim level extends from one front door to the other with no visual discontinuity.

Below this main body is a low-lying section, the so-called wing. The wing appears to float, as there are no connections or shape transitions to the surrounding area. The ambience lighting with up to 64 colours reinforces this effect and is a new interior experience, also for Chinese customers. The wing also forms the basis for the turbine-look air vents, which are embedded in trim, and the completely free-standing widescreen display.

On board is the MBUX multimedia system - Mercedes-Benz User Experience - with unique learning abilities thanks to artificial intelligence. Of course, the popular WeChatMyCar app is integrated. MBUX makes it possible for the first time for two or more users to connect simultaneously to the system. The intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition is proficient in various Chinese dialects, including Sichuanese and Cantonese. Mercedes-Benz is the world’s first automotive manufacturer to provide navigation display featuring augmented reality technology on the Chinese market.

When developing the Chinese A-Class L Sedan (length/width/height: 4609/1796/1460 mm) a focal point was the kneeroom for rear passengers. As a result, at 2789 mm, the wheelbase is 60 mm longer than in the hatchback model (2729 mm). The boot has a capacity of 420 litres.

At the market launch, the A-Class L Sedan will be available in China with the state-of-the-art all-aluminium four-cylinder engine with a displacement of 1.33 litres with power outputs of 100 and 120 kW (with cylinder shut-off); following later will be the 2‑litre four-cylinder engine with CONICSHAPE trumpet honing and CAMTRONIC variable valve timing. In China, the latter engine has an output of 140 kW. The 7G‑DCT dual clutch transmission comes as standard.

Of course on the Chinese market the A‑Class L Sedan also boasts the very latest driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support, giving it the highest level of active safety in this segment with functions adopted from the S‑Class.

About Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd.

Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd (BBAC), a joint venture between Daimler and its Chinese partner BAIC Motor, has produced Mercedes-Benz cars since 2005 and engines since 2013. In 2017 more than two-thirds of the Mercedes‑Benz vehicles sold in China were produced locally. BBAC has more than 11,000 employees. The current product portfolio comprises the C‑Class Saloon with short and long wheelbase, the E‑Class Saloon with long wheelbase, the GLA, and the GLC.

Since 2015 the compact car plant in Beijing has supplemented the Mercedes‑Benz compact-car sites in Rastatt and Kecskemet (Hungary) as well as production by Valmet Automotive in Finland. As such the plant in Beijing is part of the flexible and highly efficient compact-car production network of Mercedes-Benz.

At the end of February 2018, Daimler and BAIC announced plans to expand local production of Mercedes-Benz vehicles: with Daimler and BAIC investing more than 11.9 billion RMB (approx. 1.5 billion euros), BBAC is preparing to operate another production location for high-quality premium vehicles, in addition to its established plant in Beijing’s Yizhuang Industrial Park.

As part of the investment, a BAIC production facility located in the capital city’s Shunyi district will be transferred to BBAC and modified to facilitate complementary production capacities for Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Furthermore, both partners will invest in new product localization at the future second Beijing-based Mercedes-Benz production facility.

Did you know that…

…in terms of production figures, BBAC is the world’s largest Mercedes‑Benz plant for passenger cars? At the same time it is the only Mercedes-Benz location in the world, which produces front and rear-wheel-drive passenger car models as well as engines on one site.

…the share of female buyers of the A‑Class in China is 50 percent? As such it is one of the highest shares in the whole of the Mercedes-Benz range. By way of comparison, in Europe around four out of ten buyers of the A-Class are female.

…in China around one third of the buyers of an A‑Class from the previous model generation were below 30 years of age? For 40 percent of the buyers in China, the A‑Class was even their first ever car. In Europe, too, the A‑Class has made a significant contribution to the rejuvenation of the brand: the average age of European drivers of the now outgoing A‑Class generation is currently more than ten years younger than for the preceding model series compared with the year 2011.

…the Concept A Sedan gave a glimpse of the next compact-class generation and the A‑Class Saloon around a year ago? The show car celebrated its world premiere at Auto Shanghai in April 2017.

… to date more than six million Mercedes-Benz compact vehicles have been delivered to customers throughout the world? The A‑Class, which turned 20 years old last year, accounted for more than three million of the vehicles sold.

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