Mercedes-Benz will be expanding its compact car line-up from five to eight cars, with three of those to arrive by 2020, according to Autocar. Two out of the three will be the A-Class sedan and the GLB, while the marque’s five existing compact models, the A-Class, B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA, will each receive successor models.
The new MFA2 platform is said to be stiffer and lighter thanks to more widespread use of high-strength steel, and will continue to be compatible with both front- and all-wheel-drive layouts. The next-generation A-Class will employ a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission; both this and a manual tranmission will find their way into the upcoming A-Class, as will three- and four-cylinder engines.
The MFA2 platform allows greater flexibility, with variations in wheelbase and track widths catered for. With the GLA compact SUV set to have a direct successor, the aforementioned GLB will be another compact SUV, albeit a more rugged one positioned above the GLA. The new compact SUV is planned to be manufactured in two guises: a standard wheelbase version which seats five, and a long-wheelbase seven-seater.
A new manufacturing plant for Mercedes’ new compact models is currently under construction in Aguascalientes, Mexico, where initially the upcoming GLA will be produced, possibly followed by the four-door A-Class sedan. A long-wheelbase version of this car for the Chinese market is on the cards, as is a long-wheelbase GLB.