A Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon for the Chinese market has been unveiled at the Beijing motor show – but a shorter version will be heading for the UK.
Derived from the Concept A that was revealed at the Shanghai show in April 2017, the Chinese A-Class Saloon is built on a 6cm longer wheelbase than the planned European version, but boasts similar styling. The difference is built into the rear doors of the Chinese model.
Despite this, the European A-Class saloon’s likely 2.7m wheelbase will be nearly 10cm longer than its closest direct rival, the Audi A3 Saloon.
The styling replicates the newly-launched A-Class hatchback at the front, while the rear is styled in similar form to the new CLS model.
Interestingly, the new A-Class saloon is apparently not a replacement for the existing CLA model, which serves as the de facto A-Class saloon in the current model range. Reports from the Beijing show suggest that there will be a new CLA saloon and estate (or, as Mercedes insists on calling them, a four-door coupé and shooting brake) priced above the A-Class saloon.
Like the exterior design, the interior replicates the A-Class hatch, with its novel design dispensing with a traditional cowl and mounting the instruments on a horizontal section running across the cabin from one front door to the other, dubbed the ‘wing’.
Included is the company’s new MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system. The touchscreen system includes voice control for two users at the same time, recognising conversational speech.
Chinese-market models will be offered with a 1.3-litre petrol engine of either 135 or 163hp, and a 2.0-litre petrol of 190hp. Engines or any further details for European models are yet to be revealed, but would likely replicate the range of the hatchback variant.