Mercedes-Benz has never been this pleased with its front-wheel drive models. After all, the German premium carmaker’s front-wheel drive models have been posting excellent sales. It seems Mercedes can’t hold its intentions any further as it is already planning to expand its front-wheel drive lineup by three more models, from the current five to eight new premium vehicles.
This comes after Ola Kallenius, chief of the Mercedes-Benz brand, disclosed to Car and Driver that the next generation of the premium carmaker’s front-wheel drive platform will underpin eight new models. The second generation of the platform – the Modular Front-wheel-drive Architecture 2 or MFA2 – is expected to be stiffer and lighter than the first generation, thanks to a more extensive use of high-strength steel.
Just like the first-generation Modular Front-wheel-drive Architecture (MFA), MFA2 will not only accommodate front-wheel drive layouts but will also cover all-wheel drive configurations as well. However, the new MFA2 platform would be more flexible, as it allows for more variations in wheelbase and track widths – the reason why it could underpin eight new Mercedes-Benz models.
Mercedes’ current front-wheel drive platform, the MFA, is what underpins the A-Class hatchback, the B-Class high roof people mover, CLA-class four-door coupe, CLA Shooting Brake station wagon and the GLA-class SUV. Of these, only the B-Class, CLA-Class, and GLA-Class are offered in the United States. As soon as the new MFA2 platform is ready to underpin new models, all of the aforementioned models will be succeeded by a new generation. This means the new MFA2 will underpin the next-gen A-Class hatchback, B-Class, CLA-Class four-door coupe, CLA-Class Shooting Brake and GLA-Class. It also means that three all-new models will be born from the new MFA2.
Kallenius didn’t disclose to Car and Driver any information about the three all-new Mercedes models. However, it is understood that the A-Class hatchback will get a sleek sedan version while an all-new GLB-Class will be an off-road specialist. Just like the GLA-Class, the GLB-Class will be a compact SUV, but will have a more rugged appearance to match its off-road capabilities. In addition, the all-new A-Class sedan is expected to have a long-wheelbase version (L), which should be a good proposition for luxury customers in China.
To sum it up, the new MFA2 will underpin three A-Class models (hatchback, sedan and long-wheelbase sedan), a B-Class, two C-Class models (four-door coupe and Shooting Brake station wagon), a GLA-Class SUV and a GLB-Class off-roader.
In terms of styling, all these front-wheel drive models from Mercedes will adopt a more mature and more elegant design language. This means that these MFA2 models will have more subtle styling, although their front ends are expected to have a sportier appearance.