By on December 27, 2016

Mercedes-AMG CLA 45

How many small sedans from one manufacturer can the market handle?

That’s the question being asked in the wake of a report that claims Mercedes-Benz has a new small sedan planned for both overseas and North American markets. According to Autocar, the German automaker will soon debut an A-Class sedan to fill the narrow gap between the CLA and C-Class.

Low-end Mercedes buyers are about to be spoiled for choice.

While Mercedes-Benz hasn’t confirmed the model, sources close to the automaker tell Autocar that the vehicle could appear in showrooms in 2018. That’s when a fourth-generation A-Class hatch debuts for European customers.

While North American buyers only know the diminutive A-Class in photos, a sedan built on the smallest Benz’s platform apparently makes sense for international markets. The automaker sees BMW’s 1 Series and Audi’s A3 as a threat, and a new front-drive sedan could boost sales. The model will ride atop a second-generation of the modular MFA platform. Power will come from a range of four-cylinder powerplants, including a hybrid option and a diesel that Americans shouldn’t hold their breath for.

That MFA platform also underpins the front-drive CLA, which currently sits as the brand’s value-leader. However, the looming model is said to be slightly larger than the CLA. Between the base CLA250 and C300 sits a $7,100 price gap, so the new A-Class sedan should presumably occupy this middle ground. An AMG version is reportedly in the works, with up to 400 horsepower and 4Matic all-wheel drive on tap.

While Mercedes-Benz feels there’s a new crop of customers to lure to this shadowy model, it does seem that the proposed A-Class sedan steps on a number of the CLA’s toes.

[Image: Mercedes-Benz]

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45 Comments on “Mercedes-Benz to Add a Third Small Sedan, Report Says...”


  • avatar
    make_light

    Why not just make the CLA a little…… better?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Oh we can’t do that, how would that increase our overall volume?

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      Every FWD they add to the fold displaces a high end buyer from their brand. They “think” they are adding people to the buying pipeline – but most just figure out its a badge priced POS with the same features as a Dodge that costs 1/2 the money.

      Yeah, a lot of people buy the badge, but a hell of a lot more buy the features.

      • 0 avatar
        notapreppie

        I’m not sure how a low-end, $30k model being FWD makes a diff to somebody buying $50k+ E-Class or a $100k+ S-Class. I’d bet that a CLA or C300 are completely invisible to them when shopping.

        I think your conflating mainstream buyers and gearheads. Most mainstream buyers don’t give a crap about which wheels are driven. If they did, the CLA wouldn’t exist and the X1 wouldn’t have switched to FWD.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        That’s what many were saying when MB launched the CLA, but couldn’t have been more wrong.

        S Class owners see themselves as driving (or being driven) in an S Class – the model has just as strong as an identity as the Mercedes brand.

        They don’t bother thinking about the “riffraff” who drive an E Class or lower.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This is the A-Klasse, looks light years beyond the CLA turd /s

    http://images.car.bauercdn.com/pagefiles/3913/mercedes_a_class.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      As much as I’d like a nice 5-door with a manual, I doubt that would come to the USA.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I don’t think the A-Class looks good, either. Both it and the CLA-Class are hideous, and I think the Golf is a better car all-around. The Golf feels like an expensive car with a mainstream badge, while the CLA-Class and GLA-Class (and presumably the A-Class) feel like cheap cars with premium badges. You don’t get that real Mercedes-Benz magic until you step up to the C-Class and GLC-Class.

      • 0 avatar
        MoDo

        Many auto “journalists” (wink wink) knew the CLA was a piece of shit, but they wouldn’t print it in fear they would never be invited back to a wine and cheese car launch in some exotic Country. The CLA is no better than a Hyundai and none of their FWD based vehicles are. Its a badge priced POS.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        “I don’t think the A-Class looks good, either.”

        Looks like a Mazda 3 after a nose job.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Nailed it with your last point.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        > The Golf feels like an expensive car with a mainstream badge, while the CLA-Class and GLA-Class (and presumably the A-Class) feel like cheap cars with premium badges.

        Spot on. You get what you pay for. If someone wants to pay for a cheap Mercedes, that’s exactly what they’ll get.

        • 0 avatar
          spookiness

          Years ago some automag did a comparo of the ILX and the Verano and said one was like the cheap version of an expensive car (Verano) and the other was like the expensive version of a cheap car (ILX). CLA makes no sense except for label whores. I’ve never even understood the point of the C-class. Just get a loaded mainstream sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Given the choice, I’d take that in a heartbeat against the CLA. But, I think Fred is spot on, the hatch is unlikely, and even more unlikely with a manual. A manual hatchback should be the proper, but is the opposite choice for rich college girls and aspiring Prius/Camcorusionaltinata owners.
      I wouldn’t be here shopping a FWD Mercedes personally, the MKZ would be a better choice for myself, especially in the long term with likely cheaper maintenance and repair costs and insurance.

      As much as I’d love a small RWD manual hatch, I doubt it’s on the plate. Guess I’ll have to build a 318Ti haha. No pesky nannys, just pure BMW fun in a hatchback.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Obviously a response to the A3, which is everything the old A4 used to be (size, price, performance).
    The CLA went a bit too far in term of style over function. The CLA’s back seat is nearly useless: too small for a child seat, too low for anyone over 5’6″, too claustrophobic for pre-teens in between those two categories.

  • avatar
    brettc

    While they’re at it, would it be so hard for Mercedes to sell the B-Class in the U.S. with a gas engine? I don’t get the electric only crap for that car.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      It wouldn’t be hard at all, they sell it in Canada with a 2.0T.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        Yeah, that’s what I meant. Canada gets it as an option (and they also used to get a diesel B-Class). Mercedes is probably just doing it for CAFE but it would be nice if they’d offer it with a gas engine in the U.S.

      • 0 avatar
        ect

        They do indeed, and we have one. Great car for my wife’s real estate business – small enough to maneuver city streets and condo parking garages, but with a voluminous back seat that easily fits 2 adults comfortably and is easy to get in and out of.

        It’s also very well made, well-featured and peppy. We like it.

        What puzzles me about this article is that the CLA is already built of the A-Class platform, so another A-based sedan seems redundant. If they want to market a sedan that’s larger than the CLA and smaller than the C-Class, surely it should be based on the B-Class?

  • avatar

    Is this a roundabout way of admitting the CLA is poorly-engineered dreck?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The A-Class would share most of the same engineering. The CLA-Class is a particular failure in terms of ergonomics (plus I think it’s hideous).

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Women seem to love it. My sainted Mother thinks they are the cutest thing on the road. No accounting for taste or lack thereof.

        • 0 avatar
          pdq

          So she loves it. Has she actually GOTTEN one? If not, what does she drive currently that she’s thinking of trading in? I’m just curious.

          I don’t know your mother. I’m sure she’s a lovely, lovely person. Here in LA however, it seemed that those who leased a CLA (let’s face it, no one is actually buying these things) was an aspirational tool trading up from their Camry/Accord/Hyundai/Kia. They’re often in their 20’s, they’re pretentious, badge worshiping fools who would do anything to get a car with the three pointed star on the front. They are today’s version of the 1980’s 190 class buyer who similarly bought sh*t and called it Shinola.

          I’m sure your mother is NOT like that. (Please tell me she doesn’t live in Los Angeles).

          Oh….and out here lessors of CLA’s seem to drive their cars like they’re behind the wheel of a BMW – in other words, they’re an ass behind the wheel. Again…..I’m sure your mother doesn’t drive like that. She probably drives in the right hand lane, at or below the speed limit and she has curb-feelers to help her when parallel parking.

          • 0 avatar
            Yuppie

            Is the Shinola reference a swipe at the allegedly Detroit-based company that sells expensive watches?

          • 0 avatar
            spookiness

            Yuppie the reference predates the modern company.

          • 0 avatar
            Yuppie

            @Spookiness: Thanks for confirming. Now I only question the watch company’s choice of name.

            The A3 is a good, solid Audi that is based on the equally good Golf / GTI. The CLA is for those who value bling above pretty much all else. (For the old fogies in this thread, read “flash” instead of “bling”.)

        • 0 avatar
          Snooder

          Not just women. My dad loves his CLA. He got got it after totalling his E class.

          Then again, we’re a short family, so the interior dimensions are not a problem. Actually a benefit, really. He says he likes that it’s so much smaller and easier to maneuver than the E class.

          Would *i* drive one? Hell no. But there are people who honestly like it. It looks sporty enough, has decent enough interior appointments, and carries enough badge recognition to not be embarrassing. For a lot of people, that’s thats all they want, and it’s reasonably priced for that.

          • 0 avatar
            ect

            A useful perspective, Snooder. I always wonder how many of the people who pile on to slag a given car have actually sat in it, let alone driven it.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      I wouldn’t call the CLA “poorly engineered.” It’s poorly packaged, but the base is solid enough. One could argue that the A3/Golf is better, but not by that much.

      The reason why the US got the CLA and not the B is that Americans are not ready to think of Mercedes as a full-line maker. The rest of the world knows them as a maker of trucks, taxis, subcompacts, etc.

      The CLA is niche enough that it won’t affect margins further-on up the line, and it brings shoppers in who can be converted to a C-Class once they figure-out that they need a back seat.

      One of the consequences of this strategy is that the CLA is popular among the demographic that TTAC commenters seem to fear most: independent single women! How dare they not heed our paternalistic advice and lease a Camry?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Why?

  • avatar
    Turbo Is Black Magic

    The lease a subpar car in order to get the badge crowd must be going crazy with this news…

    Probably a release party at Applebee’s.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    For apartment dwellers and the up and coming retail professional with a 650 credit score.

  • avatar
    mcs

    This first rumors of the new A Class sedan came out about 2 1/2 years ago:

    German business publication Manager Magazin on Sunday, citing unnamed company executives, said the company plans to build the next-generation CLA and a new A-class sedan variant at the Aguascalientes factory, which is 500km northwest of Mexico City.

    Small Infiniti. The compact car plans will help Infiniti fill a gap at the bottom end of its range with a new SUV, sedan and coupe sharing parts and architecture with successors to the Mercedes A- and B-class models, GLA and CLA, sources have said.

    http://europe.autonews.com/article/20140626/ANE/140629910

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    I recently drove a relative’s C300 . While it handled well enough,the drone of the 4 cylinder engine combined with the pointless whiz-bangery tech lent a feeling of driving a car built by Apple.

    Once I get enough money to afford an apartment & boost my credit to 651,I’m buying a used Elise.


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