Mercedes-Benz to launch subcompact car range to take on MINI, Audi A1

Article by Anita Panait, on April 5, 2013

Mercedes-Benz will launch a subcompact car range with the help of partner Renault-Nissan, according to German magazine AutoBild. The subcompact car range, to be known as X-class models, carries tag prices of below EUR20,000, targeting rivals like the Mini brand and the Audi A1, the magazine reported.

The subcompact models are expected to fill the gap between the Smart brand and the Mercedes A- and B-class compacts. AutoBild said that the pioneering model would be an SUV-styled crossover that would target the upcoming Audi Q2.

The pioneering model would be based on the Renault Captur subcompact crossover and could be rolled out in 2018. It would be followed by a spacious subcompact minivan that would be a smaller version of the Mercedes B class. The subcompact minivan would be based on the next-generation Renault Clio subcompact hatchback. Both models will be powered by three- and four-cylinder gasoline and diesel powertrains.

The magazine said that with five years to develop the subcompact models, Mercedes will look forward to design a completely new vehicle and will not simply overhaul one of Renault-Nissan's current vehicles. Mercedes currently markets the Citan car-derived van that is based on the Renault Kangoo. According to Auto Bild, the German carmaker had initially mulled shrinking and de-contenting the A class to build the crossover, but decided against it due to the high costs involved.

Mercedes also considered the next-generation rear-engine Smart as a base for the vehicle, but its platform was not flexible enough. The report remarked that low pricing of the X-class vehicles implies that they will be front-wheel drive, adding that the carmaker targets to sell between 100,000 and 150,000 units of each model annually around the world. Mercedes' parent, Daimler, called the report speculation. Daimler and Renault-Nissan have been looking for further venues to expand the partnership they disclosed in 2010 to pool development and production of small cars and engines.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The latest Mercedes-Benz A-Class is paving the way for a new chapter in the world of compact cars with a deeply emotional styling, powerful engines that give you anywhere from 80 kW to 155 kW, very low 0.27 drag coefficient, and very low emissions of only 98 g of carbon dioxide per kilometer.

Simultaneously, the new A-Class proves that for the German automaker safety should not be expensive as it includes several safety features as standard, including the collision prevention assist that uses radar. In Germany, you can own the new A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY for as low as €23,978.50 (19% VAT included).

Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars and chairman of the board of management of Daimler AG Dr Dieter Zetsche explains that the carmaker is fast becoming the most dynamic brand around the world. Because of this, the A-Class has been reworked down to the last detail. And the engineers have taken full advantage of the opportunity to start everything from scratch, Zetsche says.

The exterior

The new A-Class is 18 centimeters lower than the previous model, helping give it an image of dynamism and style. The new A-Class concept is presented the world over and it is also seen in the new A-Class. The design is best described as a two-box styling with a recognizable character: athletic exteriors that appeal to emotions paired with interiors that have an expensive feel.

Mercedes-Benz head of design Gorden Wagener says that bringing a new style into the compact car segment was challenging but fun. Wagener also says that the new A-Class is the most progressive in its class, with its sculptural shape, structured and tight character lines. That dynamic design is seen at first sight in the interior of the car as well.

The exterior design of the new A-Class is characterized by tight surfaces and marked edges. It makes use of a playful play of light on the convex and concave surfaces, especially along the sides. These give it a one-of-a-kind look.

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