Luxury, in the automotive sphere, used to equate size. But that was then. Nowadays though, upscale automakers are paying more and more attention to their smallest models, packing as much luxury as they can into as small a shape as possible in an attempt to attract younger buyers, and keep discerning customers happy even in congested city centers.
Mercedes has arguably been chief among them, expanding its entry-level lineup with a growing array of models – like the new B-Class just unveiled for the first time here at the 2018 Paris Auto Show, or the new A-Class sedan that’s made its major-show debut at the same.
Sitting alongside the CLA four-door coupe, GLA crossover, and the A-Class hatchback, the new compact sedan occupies a place once held by the C-Class that has, in typical style, grown larger and more upscale with each iteration. That’s left room at the bottom end of the range for an even smaller sedan that packs all the luxury amenities and latest technologies into its minuscule footprint.
That includes Benz’s trick new MBUX infotainment system that, contrary to convention, has debuted in the German automaker’s smallest model before making its way up-market to larger and more expensive offerings. It incorporates a wide screen bridging from the instrument panel across the dashboard and features voice control, a touchpad, and even a head-up display, turning the new A-Class into a rolling technological showcase – all packed into a right-sized form just 179.1 inches (4,549 mm) long.
That’s smaller than any C-Class since the W203 generation that launched at the turn of the millennium.
US models will come (at least initially) in A220 spec, with a 2.0-liter turbo four sending 188 horsepower (140 kW) and 221 lb-ft (300 Nm) of torque through a seven-speed dual clutch transmission to either the front wheels or all four. The car is slated reach dealers Stateside before year-end.