The dashboard takes on a more modern appearance than the one in the current car, which is undeniably showing its age as it reaches the end of its life cycle. Designers kept the switch gear to a minimum to bring the brand’s smallest car in line with the rest of the lineup. The dual-screen setup is a hand-me-down from the bigger E-Class and S-Class models. Whether it will come standard or land on the list of extra-cost options remains to be seen.
Additional details about the A-Class are beginning to trickle out. We know it will ride on the next evolution of the brand’s front-wheel drive platform. The architecture will also underpin the replacements for the CLA, the CLA Shooting Brake, the GLA, and the B-Class, plus an array of new models set to join Mercedes’ compact family in the coming years. All-wheel drive will be offered at an extra cost on select trim levels.
On the powertrain front, the volume engines will remain four-cylinder units. The diesel-burning model will carry on across the pond, but it will be joined by a plug-in hybrid — a first in the nameplate’s history — a little later in the production run. An explosive AMG-tuned variant with at least 400 horsepower on tap from a turbo four will serve as the model’s flagship.
Normally, the A-Class wouldn’t matter much to us. It’s been on the market for 20 years and Mercedes has never distributed it in the United States due in part to its small size and image concerns associated with the segment it competes in. That’s set to change with the upcoming generation.
Mercedes will split the A-Class lineup into a hatchback and a sedan model for the first time. It previewed the sedan with a design-led, close-to-production concept unveiled earlier this year at the Shanghai Auto Show. We most likely won’t get the hatchback, but we know for a fact the three-box variant is being developed with Americans in mind. It will compete in the same segment as the Audi A3 Sedan when it arrives here either late next year or in early 2019.
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