Hot on the heels of the outgoing CLA, Mercedes-Benz revealed a replacement that doesn’t wear the same badge, but fills the gap left by the four-door compact coupe. Enter the A-Class Saloon.
The A-Class saloon will make its official debut at the Paris Motor Show in September 2018 and arrive at dealerships by the end of the year. It is the second member of the A-Class family after the hatchback went on sale. So what’s new? Not much, other than the usual necessary bits that differentiate the hatch and the saloon. The A-Class saloon gets four doors and a boot like the CLA but has generous headroom as opposed to the latter. One might think that the CLA and the new saloon are identical except for the new design language, but it is far from true. Sure there are similarities, but the CLA is very much different from the saloon.
The A-Class saloon will go on sale along with the redesigned hatchback with the CLA making a comeback at a later date, timeline unknown. Diving into the details, the saloon is 130mm longer than the hatchback at 4,549mm. However, width and wheelbase remain identical at 1796mm and 2729mm respectively. That means no extra interior space than before. Although the new A-Class is roomier than its predecessor, it is still not best-in-class. Mercedes-Benz says that the A-Class saloon has more headroom than the CLA by doing without the rakish roofline. In fact, the company claims, it has the segment-best headroom of them all.
There is enough differentiation between the A-Class saloon and its bigger sibling- The C-Class, leading us to believe there will be no cannibalisation between the two. The boot of the saloon eats up 420 liters of luggage, 60 less than the range-topping S-Class saloon. But that’s not the talking point of the little saloon. The 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class saloon has a drag coefficient of just 0.22 helped by its small frontal area and stubby boot. Merc is claiming the car has the lowest drag coefficient of any production car worldwide.
The aerodynamic sleekness doesn’t cost the saloon its looks despite the slightly off-putting stubby rear end. It still looks classy and mature. Mercedes-Benz has been smoothening out the design ethos of all its cars, and the use of crisper, well-defined lines lends the A-Class saloon a distinctive attitude. Wheel sizes are 16″ through 19″ depending on the trim chosen. The 19-inch wheels will definitely be fitted to an AMG which will follow the launch of the saloon.
Perhaps the biggest gripe people had with Mercedes is the interior upholstery. Sure, the quality is top-notch as befitting a German carmaker, but the excessive use of dark fabric and trims makes the cabin feel claustrophobic. New images of the A-Class saloon show beige interiors, so it is possible after all to spec your car with lighter, airier upholstery. Similarly, the dashboard is minimalistic yet functional and does away with large swathes of black plastic. The A-Class’s MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) is a class-leading piece of tech that finds its way inside the saloon as well.
At its launch, the A-Class saloon will be available with the following choice of engines: a 161hp 1.3-liter four-cylinder and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol. AMG will then take the little saloon to Affalterbach and churn out mad monsters in the form of the AMG A35 or A45 saloon, with 300hp and 400hp on tap respectively. Suddenly, four-cylinder engines don’t sound so puny anymore, do they?