As the Mercedes-Benz A-Class enters its second decade of production with more than three million sold globally, the marque revealed a new variant—the A-Class L Saloon at Auto China 2018. It looks like a shrunken S-Class or compact C-Class sedan made for newbies to the fold.
The A-Class sedan features a 2.36-inch longer wheelbase (109.8 instead of 107.4 inches) to offer more knee room for its picky passengers. It measures 181.5 x 70.7 x 57.5 inches (L x W x H) and is developed solely for the Chinese market.
China it seems can’t get enough of the compact class from Mercedes. Nearly one third of its buyers are under 30 and 50 percent of them are female according to Stuttgart bean counters.
Under the hood, an all-aluminum 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine packs between 134 hp and 161 hp with cylinder shut off. A turbo 2.0-liter four with 188 hp will be available when a non-L version reaches our shores later this year. Both versions are mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Mercedes tells us Rose Gold (which can looks like metallic pink in person) is an exclusive paint finish made for the Chinese market. Thankfully it is also available in red and several other flavors.
Up front, flat LED headlights flank a diamond-patterned grille with single louver, chrome pins, and a big three pointed star at its center.
There is a choice of Sedan and Sport Sedan versions, with the latter featuring bigger bulges on the hood. It rolls on 16- to 19-inch wheels and the rear end gets two-piece triangular taillights and a dual exhaust.
Inside the A-Class L is all business with a basic black cockpit, leather steering wheel, turbine-inspired air vents, and a floating widescreen display. The multimedia system offers some AI with intelligent voice control that’s proficient in Sichuanese and Cantonese dialects.
A-Class Hatchbacks roll into European dealerships next month and Mercedes says another version of the saloon (not an L sedan) will slot below the CLA and is expected to launch this summer for the rest of us.