Mercedes-Benz A-Class to Become World's Most Aerodynamic Production Vehicle

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
mercedes benz a class to become worlds most aerodynamic production vehicle

While the rest of the world will be able to enjoy the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatchback, the United States is patiently waiting for the sedan. Since Americans won’t be privy to the liftback model, it’s to be four doors or nothing.

This is our first look at the model without camouflage and, while it resembles the A-Class hatchback to a large extent, there are some aspects unique to the sedan. The most evident change will be the rear end but, as the teaser image doesn’t show that portion of the car, we’re left analyzing the front bumper — which scales down the oversized air inlets and ditches the slats.

According to Mercedes-Benz, the changes weren’t entirely aesthetic. It claims the vehicle’s shape results in a drag coefficient of only 0.22. That beats the outgoing CLA Coupe (along with the BMW 5 Series) as the most aerodynamic production car in the world.

It likely explains the smaller inlets and more rounded front end. The ultra-aerodynamic CLA that boasts the lowest drag coefficient is the front-drive “BlueEFFICIENCY Edition,” and it shares a similar styling theme. That means the A-Class we’re seeing in the wind tunnel might not be representative of what you’ll typically see on the streets. In fact, when the long-wheelbase version of the sedan was showcased in China, the front end was much harder to distinguish from the hatchback.

There’s a fair chance we won’t even see the model outfitted for this level of efficiency in the United States. Mercedes’ didn’t say so explicitly, but we noticed news of the sedan’s slippery bodywork didn’t make it to the U.S. media site. Instead, we may have something identical to the Chinese market’s long-wheelbase variant. Just a little stumpier.

Still, it is impressive that Daimler managed to pull this off again. The model uses an “extensive sealing concept” to keep air from getting in through all the nooks and crannies between the headlamps, as well as almost complete panelling of the underbody — which includes the engine bay, main floor pan, parts of the rear axle, and the diffuser.

The front and rear wheel spoilers have likewise been optimized to route the air around the wheels as efficiently as possible. However, any air that does come into contact with them will be treated to further smoothening, as both have been fine-tuned to promote drag reduction. There’s also a shutter system behind the radiator grille that minimizes airflow through the engine bay that will be available in some markets.

Will the United States be one of them? Daimler introduced a gas-burning variant of the formerly diesel BlueEFFICIENCY CLA, but it has typically kept its smallest engines out of the American market no matter what type of fuel they burn. We’re falling on the “no” side of the fence at the moment, but we could end up being surprised.

The streamlined A-Class sedan will launch at the end of 2018, with production commencing in Aguascalientes, Mexico, and Rastatt, Germany.

[Images: Daimler]

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3 of 15 comments
  • Spike_in_Brisbane Spike_in_Brisbane on Jul 24, 2018

    I never understood the American aversion to hatchbacks. I have heard all the arguments against them: lack of security for luggage, extra noise from the back axle etc. but the same arguments apply to CUVs which you Americans are buying in droves. I don't get it.

    • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Jul 25, 2018

      And the manufacturers are being sneaky about hatchbacks as well. If you go to the Kia USA site the Stinger is listed under "sedans". Personally one of the reasons I want to check out the current Regal and the Stinger is because they are actually hatchbacks. The mail slot trunk openings on current sedans are very annoying.

  • ReSa ReSa on Jul 25, 2018


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  • CoastieLenn So the Camaro is getting the axe, the Challenger is belly up, the Charger is also fading out of existence. Maaaaan Michigan better have a game plan on how to inject some soul back into the American carscape. The Mustang and Corvette can't do it on their own. Dark times we're living in, bro's. How long do you think it'll be before the US starts to backpedal on our EV mandates now that the EU has rolled back their ICE bans with synthetic fuel usage?
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