We’ve reported a number of times in the past that Mercedes-Benz is working on family of new small cars to replace its current A- and B-Class hatchbacks sold overseas. We even saw a concept car previewing one of the new models, the Concept A-Class, bow in first at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show and then a day later at the 2011 New York Auto Show.
It was this second unveiling in New York that has the media buzzing. You see, Mercedes officials were happy to admit that the next-generation A-Class is coming to local showrooms, and it’s coming in several different flavors.
Europe will get to see the face of the new A-Class early next year when a tallish van-like model similar to the current A- and B-Class goes on sale. You can see spy shots of that model by clicking here.
By the time the car arrives in the U.S., possibly by the end of next year but more likely sometime in early 2013, a more traditional hatchback similar to the Concept A-Class, both in three- and five-door trims, will be available. They will also be joined by a compact sedan version with coupe-like styling, designed to take on the likes of the upcoming 2013 Audi A3 Sedan.
Another important issue is that they will have to be priced below the starting price of the C-Class, which currently lists from $33,990. The base engine here is likely to be the new 201 horsepower turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder launched in the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C250, though a V-6 may be offered as well.
Dual clutch transmissions will be the order of the day and there’s word that a high-performance AMG version complete with a 320 horsepower engine will eventually be launched--its prime target being the recently launched BMW 1-Series M Coupe.