All-new 2018 Mercedes A-Class set to grow in size

Bigger Mercedes A-Class hatch set to spawn eight variants, including saloon and EV models, and our exclusive images show how it could look.

Mercedes is applying the finishing touches to its all-new A-Class hatchback, and it has plans to expand the line-up to include up to eight models or variants. The fourth-generation hatchback is likely to make its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, exactly 21 years after the original A-Class was launched at the same show.

Auto Express understands that the first of the eight A-Class variants will be the standard hatchback. This will usher in a sleeker exterior design, improved packaging to address the practicality shortcomings of the current model and an overhauled cabin.

Spy shots have shown that the Audi A3 rival will be slightly longer and wider than the model it’s about to replace. This comes down to the use of a heavily revised version of the current car’s MFA platform.

Our exclusive images give you an idea of how the showroom version will look. Much sleeker LED headlamps, a larger glasshouse and more chiselled body panels will be the main visual changes over the current model. Inside, Mercedes will take a far more radical approach, replacing the dated centre console and dash in today’s A-Class with a twin-screen digital set-up like the one found in the latest E-Class.

A new addition to the A-Class family and the second arrival later in 2018 will be the all-new A-Class saloon – and it will go on sale in the UK. Previewed by the Concept A Sedan at the Shanghai Motor Show earlier this year, the four-door will compete against the Audi A3 Saloon and offer a booted alternative to the hatchback.

The arrival of the saloon then gives Mercedes freedom to develop the CLA four-door coupe into a more design-focused car. This is due to arrive in 2019, Auto Express understands. As with the current car, this will be complemented by a CLA Shooting Brake.

Mercedes-AMG will offer two performance variants of the new A-Class. AMG boss Tobias Moers has talked openly about the upcoming AMG A 45, which will develop in excess of 400bhp from a newly developed 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo.

While the full-fat A 45 will rival the likes of the Audi RS 3, Moers also sees an opportunity to produce a lower-powered AMG model that would provide Mercedes with a rival to cars such as the Volkswagen Golf R and Audi S3. It’s likely a detuned version of the 2.0-litre turbo from the A 45, developing around 300bhp, will be used in this entry-level AMG.

Once the A-Class hatch, saloon and CLA have launched, Mercedes will then turn its attention to the next-generation GLA crossover. It will share its platform with the new A-Class, but like the current model, it will be differentiated from the rest of the line-up with SUV styling cues and a raised ride height. It’s not expected until the end of 2019 at the earliest.

All variants of the A-Class will share engine and gearbox combinations. Diesel models will continue to make up a huge proportion of A-Class sales, with a new 2.0-litre diesel replacing the current 2.1-litre unit. Power will range from 148bhp to 194bhp, while various versions of the 1.6 and 2.0-litre turbo petrol engines will also be offered. A plug-in hybrid version of the A-Class hatch, branded under Merc’s new EQ Power division, is also in the pipeline.

The final piece of the A-Class puzzle will be the all-electric Mercedes EQ A hatch. It’s just over two years away, but the EQA Concept that previewed the model at the Frankfurt Motor Show will morph into a more practical five-door for production. A minimum all-electric range of 250 miles has also been promised.

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