Well, here it is. This is the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class L Sedan, which makes its official debut at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show. The arrival of a sedan version of the A-Class has been heralded for some time ever since the Concept A Sedan was shown back in April last year.

First things first, the L in the name refers to the longer wheelbase found on this specific-to-China variant – a trait that is very much welcomed there. The official figure stands at 2,789 mm, or 60 mm more than the hatchback’s 2,729 mm, with most of it dedicated to the knee room for rear passengers.

As for the other dimensions, the A-Class L Sedan measures 4,609 mm long, 1,796 mm wide and 1,460 mm. While the width is the same as the hatchback, the sedan is 190 mm longer and 20 mm taller by comparison.

The longer tail does contribute to a boot space of 420 litres, which is 50 litres more than the 370 litres offered in the hatchback. No word on how much more knee room is provided, but it should be more than the hatchback. Of course, a standard-wheelbase A-Class Sedan will come with a set of different figures, and you can expect such a model in the second half of the year.

In terms of engines, the China-only sedan will be offered with a M282 1.33 litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the states of tune – 134 hp and 161 hp – the latter with cylinder shut-off tech. Later on, a 2.0 litre four-cylinder powerplant will join the fray with 188 hp, but all engines are paired with a 7G-DCT seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as standard. As we don’t see a “4Matic” badge in any of the photos (all of which are of the A 200), we expect front-wheel drive to be offered as standard, with all-wheel drive a likely option for higher variants.

Design-wise, the front end of the A-Class L Sedan is almost identical to the hatchback, and features cues such as a diamond radiator grille with a single louvre, chrome pins and central star. Customers will get to choose between Sport Sedan and Sedan versions, the former with prominent creases on the bonnet.

Viewing the car from the side is where the difference in shape is most apparent, with a more rakish roofline leading to the boot as well as reshaped doors on the sedan. The two-piece taillights also follow a separate design from the hatchback, although they are reminiscent of the facelifted W176.

Other visible element include a small concave section on the bootlid that forms part of the lip spoiler, corner outlets and twin exhaust finishers. A number of wheel options are also available, ranging from 16 to 19 inches in size. Also something to note: rose gold is available as an exclusive paint finish for the Chinese market.

Unsurprisingly, the interior of the hatchback is replicated in the sedan as well, with the same layout of items. The dashboard is dominated by two 10.25-inch widescreen displays that are linked up to the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) system, which has been homologated for the Chinese market.

This includes support for voice recognition involving Chinese dialects and even the popular WeChatMy app. There’s even a navigation display function featuring augmented reality technology – Mercedes-Benz is the world’s first automaker to provide such a feature for the Chinese market.

Other familiar items include the design of the steering wheel with Touch Control, dedicated climate control switchgear and touchpad controller on the centre console. You’ll need to look really closely to spot the trim surrounding the air-con vents are of a different shape to those in the hatchback.

A range of driver assistance systems will also be offered, but the automaker didn’t provide the specifics. We reckon systems such as Distronic adaptive cruise control, Active Emergency Stop Assist and Active Lane Change Assist, Extended Active Brake Assist and Pre-Safe Plus will be on the menu.

The A-Class is an important model for Mercedes-Benz in China, as 40% of buyers of the W176 were first time car buyers. Other bits of trivia include the fact that 50% of buyers of the A-Class in the country were females. As a comparison, in Europe around four out of ten buyers of the A-Class are of the fairer sex.

The A-Class L Sedan will be produced exclusively at Beijing Benz, a joint venture between Daimler and BAIC Motor – a market launch for the model is set for the second half of 2018. Beijing Benz’s current portfolio includes the C-Class Sedan with short and long wheelbases, the E-Class Sedan with long wheelbase, the GLA, and the GLC.

As mentioned earlier, a version of the A-Class sedan tailored to the needs of customers outside China will be launched in the second half of the year. Show of hands, how many of you would welcome such a model in Malaysia?

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