By on April 24, 2018

Mercedes-Benz unveiled the A-Class L sedan at the at the Beijing Auto Show this week, giving us the first real look at the body style that will eventually make it to North America. Of course, despite the U.S. and Canada having a population that’s three inches taller, on average, Mercedes will probably keep the long wheelbase version in the East. But that has to do more with the Chinese appreciation for imported luxury than an indispensable need for legroom.

It’s a luxury that’s sometimes difficult to understand.

Mercedes-Maybach recently showcased a three-box SUV concept we couldn’t quite wrap our heads around, and is now launching into a new aesthetic intended to appeal to Chinese customers that we’re also having difficulty coming to terms with. However, let’s save that visual train wreck for another post, and figure out how much the Chinese A-Class L sedan has in common with the model destined for North America

By and large, this is the car we will be getting. Low-quality images of the standard sedan were leaked on Tuesday, and have shown it to be identical in every respect but one. The long-wheelbase version stretches an additional 2.4 inches over the hatchback that premiered in Europe and… that’s about it. Engine offerings are roughly the same, albeit a bit down on power.

Europe’s A-Class comes with a 160 horsepower 1.4-liter turbo four or a 221 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo, both of which could make it to America. But China’s L Sedan comes with a “1.33-liter” turbo with 134 ponies as standard. An upgraded 161-horsepower version will also be available. Eventually, Mercedes says it will offer a 2.0-liter unit with 188 hp, as well. Power is routed through a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, regardless of engine choice. Trims include the standard long-wheelbase sedan as well as a Sport Sedan variant, with the latter featuring powerdomes on the hood.

The interior is identical to what we’ve seen already and the same can be said for the exterior from the A-pillar forward. Still, the rest of the car attempts to maintain some of the hatch’s swept-back styling by keeping the trunk lid angled in a downward direction. The overall style of the rear bumper is also very similar, however, the sedan’s taillights are of a unique design.

Expect a lot of the same in your market, but with larger wheel options and beefier engines. Thus far, Mercedes says it will limit the 2019 A-Class L Sedan to China. We don’t envision that changing anytime soon.

[Images: Daimler AG]

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37 Comments on “Mercedes-Benz Reveals 2019 A-Class L Sedan...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    That “rose gold” color looks like its aimed squarely at the blue-hair set.

    My Great Aunt Kessie (Amway saleslady) would have loved that color. The last 2 cars she ever owned were Devilles and were a dusky rose color (with rose colored faux convertible top) and a metallic pea.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I dig it. Let’s hope they make it more legit than the CLA.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “of course, despite the U.S. and Canada having a population that’s three inches taller, on average, Mercedes will probably keep the long wheelbase version in the East.”

    Because stupid.

    Oh wait.

    You no get comfortable size sedan. You buy CUV. You buy now.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    I had always thought that the Chinese market stretched versions of different cars was to give the impression that you own a chauffeur driven vehicle, which in turn gives the impression of wealth. Which seems kind of contradictory with an A-Class….but whatever. I find it harder and harder to discern between this and an E Class based on pics alone. The sausages are looking more and more alike…

    • 0 avatar
      genuineleather

      The stretched versions allow lower rung corporate execs to have room in the back without showing up their boss (who has a stretched E-class as not to show up HIS boss’ S-Class). I don’t think it’s just for appearances; if you can afford a Mercedes in China, you can pay the modest wage of a driver.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “with the latter featuring powerdomes on the hood.”

    When you’ve got 1.33 litres of 134hp fury, you’ve gotta have a POWERDOME. A normal hood just can’t contain that beast.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      When the LS swap happens, it’ll still need some help from a Sawzall.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Haha I wanted to make the same connection but I’m glad to see someone else was of the same mind.

      I will say my buddy upgraded from a leased CLA45 AMG to a C43 AMG in the current body style. I hadn’t so much as sat in the CLA but the C43 is a VERY nice car inside and out. I guess there are some cases then of that horrid looking CLA drawing people into the brand and retaining them as they climb the ladder.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Oh, so thats where the Chrysler 200 tooling went. I wondered where it would end up.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    That’s gonna leave a mark.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Mercedes-Benz, trying to fill every niche, especially on the low end. It won’t be long before I see these running around with Carmax or DriversSelect stickers on the back.

    Way to go – keep devaluing the brand, guys.

    • 0 avatar
      ThomasSchiffer

      In many parts of the world smaller cars are a normal part of life because of narrower roads, smaller parking spaces and cramped city environments. It is only logical for manufacturers of luxury vehicles to offer a smaller forms of transportation for buyers in these markets.

      Case in point, I own a 2007 Mercedes GL320 CDI 4Matic and, living in Munich, often cannot find parking spaces big enough to accommodate my SUV. This is why for city duty I own a beat-up, beater 1995 Renault Twingo which is small enough (and easy) to park.

      If I were to replace the Twingo with a Mercedes, it would be either an A-Klasse or a B-Klasse because these cars are small but still roomy, incredibly versatile and are still respectable premium vehicles. In fact it is quite common here for wealthy owners of large high-end luxury cars to own a smaller car from the same brand, the latter which is exclusively used for city duty. For example, a Mercedes S-Klasse owner may also own an A- or B-Klasse (or even a Smart ForTwo) which they or their wife use for city duty.

      Different market conditions affect what kind of cars people want. There is no shame in buying a smaller luxury car in my country.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        Does Daimler not sell the GLK in the home country?

        • 0 avatar
          ThomasSchiffer

          The GLK is sold in Germany, but I have three teenage children and a beautiful wife. This means the GLK is too small for my needs. The GL-Klasse is perfekt; a comfortable long-distance cruiser and with the economical diesel motor it can manage over 700 km with a single tank at moderate Autobahn speeds.

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            700km, Isn’t that like 440 miles? The GL in the US gets a 26.4 gallon fuel tank, do they put a smaller tank in the continental market GL’s? I know last time the GL350 bluetec was available here it was rated at 26 mpg and still had the 26.4 gallon tank, translates to 1100km range, or over 800km if you never let the fuel tank go under 1/4.

            I do understand the need for a 2nd smaller car for city and run about needs and we have a smaller car for that same reason.

            What we have in the US is an amusing situation where lots of people renting apartments only get one assigned parking and they buy the best thing they can afford to lease, and the internet forums here are full of people whining “my brand new leased E class/M3 got ding’ed at Whole Foods, AGAIN”. Logic would dictate that these people would be better off buying VW Golfs or Tiguans until they save enough money for a house, but that’s not how the cool kid are doing it apparently.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            TwoBelugas, the GL isn’t going to get 26mpg at autobahn speeds now is it?

          • 0 avatar
            ThomasSchiffer

            TwoBelugas,

            Yes, more range is possible but with ‘moderate Autobahn speeds’ I was referring to speeds between 150-180 km/h. At those speeds even the efficient V6 Diesel will consume more fuel, however it is still more efficient than any of the gasoline-powered GLs at those velocities.

            If I were to cruise between 120-130 km/h I could easily travel over 1000 km. But I like to drive fast.

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        I don’t mind the idea of smaller luxury cars, I just don’t think that FWD cars like the A-Class or CLA-Class project prestige, which is what Mercedes-Benz has been about in the US.

        • 0 avatar
          ThomasSchiffer

          Many years ago BMW conducted a survey in Germany asking owners of the 1er Klasse (the smallest BMW) if they knew which wheels were driven by the engine.

          85% of 1er owners responded with front wheel drive. The 1er is actually rear wheel driver, an uncommon layout in smaller hatches in today’s car market world. I have no experience with the 1er BMW, but I am almost certain there is no leg room for rear passengers because of its rear wheel driver layout. And I am speaking about the hatch 3-/5-door version which was not sold in North America where only the Coupe and Cabriolet were sold.

          This is an indication that many buyers are both ignorant and perhaps are not interested in which wheels are driven. The 1er Klasse is also a kind of lifestyle vehicle in this market, and so is the A-Klasse. I suspect the A-Klasse will also be a lifestyle vehicle in the American market, and the majority of buyers do not care or know which wheels are driven by the engine. Front wheel power in such smaller cars also means better versatility such as an increase in leg room for rear passengers.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        I remember a distant relative visiting in Denver his first day. He kept exclaiming “everything here is hooch”.
        I asked him what “hooch” meant. It was his pronunciation of the word “huge”.

        My, how that little 1997 A-class I rented in Frankfurt back then has grown up. I loved it, except that the rear view mirrors developed a stupidly loud wind generated shriek above 160kph, even though the car could go faster, it was seriously unbearable.

        The concept of a city beater makes a lot of sense. I hate parking my scrupulously maintained cars in downtown Denver.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    My eyes! MY EYES!!!

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I’m an easily confused person, so perhaps that is why I still do not understand how this is needed in our market when the CLA already exists.

    Did the CLA assume a more upscale market position? That would be another confusing development.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    It looks so weird. But still better than the CLA-Class. And the interior is excellent in terms of visual appeal.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The hood looks like it closed on top of a book.

    The rear passengers might have more legroom, but there is still no headroom. Are the rear seats actually chaise lounges?

    Are these engines strangled for some tax/regulatory purpose? Because anyone, anywhere is doing better than those numbers.

  • avatar
    Featherston

    @ SCE to AUX – I actually was wondering about the same thing. In some of these long-wheelbase models, are the rear seats actually moved forward relative to the rear window so that there’s better headroom? If not, they ought to be. Obviously that would eat into some of the legroom gains, but it would make the cars better places to be.

    It’s very annoying that the design criteria for rear seating have devolved to (1) fore-aft dimension for baby seats and (2) enough headroom for a woman of average height or someone shorter. I’m barely taller than the average man, and my scalp is up against the rear window or rear headliner in the vast majority of 2010s sedans.

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