Mercedes-Benz has big changes in store for its compact models, a new report finds.
The company’s most popular compact is the A-Class, an entry-level hatchback that’s not sold in the United States. The current model (pictured) wears a stylish, form-over-function design, but its replacement will be toned down a little in the name of user-friendliness. German magazine Auto Bild believes the upcoming fourth-generation A will be easier to get in and out of thanks to wider rear doors, and more Ikea-friendly thanks to a wider and lower liftgate. Addressing one of the A’s biggest shortcomings, a longer roof and a slightly longer wheelbase will give the occupants riding in the back more space.
The A-Class lineup will be expanded with at least two new variants. The first one will be a two-door shooting brake that will replace the bigger CLA Shooting Brake that’s currently sold in Europe. It will be more style-focused than the hatchback, meaning it will appeal to motorists who value looks above all, and it will fight in roughly the same segment as the next Volkswagen Scirocco. The second one will be a four-door sedan designed largely for the United States and China. It will be smaller and more affordable than the next-generation CLA.
The next A will inaugurate a new modular front-wheel drive platform that will ultimately underpin every compact member of the Mercedes lineup. It will also usher in a fuel-sipping gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain capable of driving on electricity alone for up to 62 miles. At the top end of the lineup, the hot-rodded Mercedes-AMG A45 will use an evolution of the hybrid tech to pump out over 400 horsepower.
Mercedes’ other compact models will be replaced shortly after the A-Class. The next CLA will be even more head-turning but it will no longer be offered as a Shooting Brake, and the next B-Class will continue to put an emphasis on eco-friendliness and comfort. Interestingly, the GLA crossover will be completely re-invented and re-christened GLB. It will be longer than the current model, it will offer space for up to seven passengers, and it will get a boxy design inspired by the timeless G-Class.
Auto Bild doesn’t cite its sources, and Mercedes isn’t ready to publish official information about what the future holds for the A-Class, so we’re taking the report with a grain of salt. If the rumor is accurate, the next A hatchback will make its debut at a major European auto show in 2018, and the other body styles will arrive a year or two later.