Shanghai - The next-generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class will have a conventional sedan version and this new concept car, revealed at the Auto Shanghai motor show on Tuesday, gives us a strong indication of where the company is headed with the newcomer’s design, and that of the entire next-generation A-Class family for that matter.

But isn’t the CLA essentially an A-Class sedan? Technically yes, as it has four doors, a three-box profile and a traditional trunk, but Mercedes opted to position and badge it as a more premium ‘four-door coupé’ due to its more low-slung, coupé-like shape.

While it remains to be seen how the CLA will evolve, or even whether it will survive, the A-Class sedan is set to feature a higher roofline, making it more practical, and it will likely be priced closer to the A-Class hatch. It will be more mainstream, in other words.

Mercedes-Benz says the Concept A Sedan provides “an outlook of the next generation of compact vehicles”, meaning it also previews the next A-Class hatch, and perhaps even the GLA crossover.

This means we could well see the production models debut with a ‘Panamericana’ style grille with vertical slats, similar to that on the concept, while the eyebrow-shaped headlights are also likely to evolve into showroom format, as will the matching taillights with their heavily sculpted inner structure.

Expect the new A3 sedan rival to debut internationally in 2018, offering a wide range of engines mainly driving the front wheels, although you can certainly bet on a potent all-wheel drive A45 joining the range at a later stage.

IOL Motoring

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