We try to imagine what was hiding underneath the camouflage of those prototypes spotted recently.
Having given its smallest car a subtle facelift last year, Mercedes is now focusing on a fourth generation (codenamed W177) scheduled to arrive either by the end of next year or early 2018. Heavily camouflaged prototypes have already been caught on camera undergoing testing on the Nürburgring, so today we are trying to figure out how the next iteration of Daimler’s posh five-door hatchback is going to look like based on the spy shots.
A pair of sleeker full-LED headlights is expected to give the new A-Class a more stylish front fascia, while an increase in size in both length and width will lend the fourth-gen model a more high-class posture. The bump in footprint will also pay dividends in terms of roominess and practicality as the W177 will bring extra knee and legroom as well as an increased cargo capacity making it easier to live with on longer journeys.
Since we’re on the subject of the interior, an all-digital instrument cluster to replace the analog dials is on the agenda, but Mercedes will likely offer it as optional kit, much like Audi is doing with its Virtual Cockpit for the facelifted A3 Sportback.
It won’t be an all-new model taking into account the 2018 A-Class will ride on the second iteration of Mercedes’ Modular Front Architecture (MFA). A more extensive use of aluminum might offset the increase in size, but it’s too soon to know for sure. Spy images have shown a prototype packed with front-mounted sensors and cameras, thus indicating the new model will get a bounty of safety and assistance systems, some as standard while others as optional equipment.
Turbocharged three- and four-cylinder engines are on the agenda, as is a more efficient plug-in hybrid derivative. A warm version rumored to be called “A40” has already been spotted and will have somewhere in the region of 300 horsepower to bridge the gap between the regular A-Class models and the flagship A45. The latter is probably scheduled to hit the streets by late 2018 / early 2019 and will have in excess of 400 horsepower.
More than a year ago, there was a rumor about plans to bring the next-gen A-Class to United States. If it will happen, the U.S.-spec version will likely be assembled by Daimler and Renault-Nissan's manufacturing joint venture in Aguascalientes, Mexico, whereas the European market will continue to receive the Rastatt-built model.