Luxury automakers are turning their eyes to the compact segment these days, with new models like the Audi A1, future ones like the next generation BMW 1 Series and other such models.
As such, Mercedes-Benz has also decided to strengthen its offerings in the compact segment, the A and B Class, so that its rivals won’t get to attract by themselves newer and younger customers.
We’ve already heard that the B Class will be thoroughly overhauled and offered in a variety of body styles by the German carmaker, including things like a coupe or a compact crossover. Now, a fresh batch of details about the next generation A Class has also been leaked onto the web.
First off, it seems that the A Class will go on to rival BMW’s 1 Series, and will be offered as a five-door hatchback at first. In order to really take on the Bavarian model, it seems that Mercedes will implement plenty of styling cues from two of its most popular concepts from recent times.
It seems that the Concept Fascination shooting break, which previewed the current Mercedes-Benz E Class, will see some features on the future A Class. Next up, the recent F800 Style sedan, which previews the next CLS four-door coupe, will also lend some of its lines, most probably its front fascia, to the upcoming compact hatch.
Both of these concepts were extremely well-received, and hint that the next A Class will have a big role for the future plans of Mercedes.
The German luxury carmaker will make use of its new partnership with Renault Nissan, and borrow some of the engines and technologies from them. This will lead to a much lower starting price for the A Class, perfect to undermine the existing popularity of the BMW 1 Series.
Still, it won’t be all show and no go, as the company is also rumored to have tasked its AMG specialty division with developing a range-topping performance model. This A Class AMG will attack the thriving hot hatch market in Europe. According to the rumors, it will set its sights on models like the Volkswagen Golf R or the Ford Focus RS. In order to attract American customers, a coupe model, in the vein of the BMW 1 Series coupe, might also be made. This model will be marketed as a smaller CLS model, and might get the CLC badge.
Both of these versions will make use of a supercharged four-cylinder engine, complete with direct injection. Rumors estimate the unit’s output to around 270 HP and 280 lb-ft of torque. All this impressive power will be routed through a dual-clutch gearbox to all four wheels, thanks to a new all-wheel drive system developed by AMG. Given the car’s performance nature, the system will be tweaked with a rear bias, for sporty driving.
Expect the new Mercedes-Benz A Class, with its new looks and technologies, to appear around 2012. The AMG performance editions, both in hatchback and coupe body styles, will hit one year later.