Mercedes-Benz Introduces Long-Wheelbase A-Class for China
An extra 2.4 inches in length adds a little more luxury for the back-seat occupants of the A-Class L.
The idea of a long-wheelbase version of a compact sedan might sound silly, but it’s a very popular configuration for luxury car buyers in China. In the U.S., if we want a bigger version of a Cadillac ATS, we buy a CTS. In China, they buy a long-wheelbase ATS. The latest entry into that niche luxury market is the stretched out Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan that just debuted at the Beijing Auto Show.
Long-wheelbase cars are intended to be chauffeured in rather than driven. The owner of one of these cars spends more time in the back seat than in the front and the new A-Class L is no exception. Developed in China exclusively for China, this stretched out compact sedan is 2.4 inches longer than the standard sedan making more room for the back-seat occupants.
Another China-exclusive for the A-Class is a diminutive 1.3-liter inline-four engine making 163 horsepower with a turbo 2.0-liter option coming later. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will be standard on all A-Class L models. The reason for the tiny 1.3-liter engine is likely to comply with tightening Chinese emissions standards.
Since long-wheelbase compact luxury sedans aren’t really a thing here in the U.S., the only version of the A-Class we’re getting is the standard-wheelbase sedan. Our A-Class is expected to come with a 224-horsepower turbocharged inline-four with the seven-speed DCT with available all-wheel drive.
Availability of the A-Class L in China is expected to begin in the second half of 2018 and the U.S.-spec A-Class sedan should be arriving in the States this autumn.