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Chinese debut for Mercedes-Benz A-Class saloon

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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.

Mercedes A-Class Saloon The Car Expert

 

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.