Mercedes-Benz has reportedly confirmed plans to add more models to its compact car range.
The range at present consists of the A-Class, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA but by 2020 should have three new additions.
The information was reported by Autocar, whose sources claim two of the three new models will be an A-Class sedan and an SUV larger than the current GLA. The latter is thought to be called a GLB and has already been spotted in test mule form (shown below). Both five- and seven-seat options are pegged for the GLB.
The A-Class sedan is expected to be a more traditional notchback design, as opposed to the coupe-like CLA. It will reportedly include a long-wheelbase option for the Chinese market. Its rivals will be the Audi A3 as well as BMW’s new 1-Series.
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB test mule spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-Medien
It’s not clear what the third model will be. Possibilities include a convertible to challenge the Audi A3 Cabriolet or perhaps even a sports car to challenge the Audi TT.
Underpinning the cars will be an updated version of the current MFA (Modular Front-drive Architecture) platform. Referred to as MFA2, the updated platform will bring weight savings plus greater capacity for alternative drivetrains. It will also reportedly support a new 9-speed dual-clutch transmission. A stretched version of this platform will underpin the GLB and most likely the A-Class sedan.
Separately, Infiniti, which was set to use the MFA2 platform for its future compact cars, on Monday at the 2017 Detroit auto show told Autocar that it won’t use the platform because it can’t incorporate its new VC-Turbo engines into the design. (The engines are unique in the world because of their ability to alter their compression ratio.)
Infiniti had intended to use the MFA2 platform initially for its next-generation QX50, which was previewed in Detroit by the QX50 concept. CEO Roland Krueger said that while the QX50 won’t use the MFA2 platform, there would still be synergies with Mercedes, for example sharing sourcing of components.