► 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-class spotted
► Fourth-gen hatch expected in late 2017
► Underpinned by latest MFA2 platform
Not long to go now until Mercedes-Benz shows its new 2018 A-class, expected to make its world debut at the Frankfurt motor show.
To whet your appetite, we've managed to snaffle some new spy photos spilling the interior secrets of the new A, which looks set to offer a cut-down version of the electro-display wizardry from bigger Mercs.
These scoop pictures reveal a wide, twin-screen digital display instead of conventional dials, a trio of cool-looking round air vents dominating the central stack and some much higher quality metallic switches for heating and ventilation. Keyless ignition is also fitted.
We caught the new A-class pounding the Nurburgring, as engineers continue to hone the new underpinnings which are upgraded from the current A's platform. What's new? It's designed to incorporate more alternative powertrains and is said to have a longer wheelbase for extra interior space.
The warm hatch: is Merc preparing an A40 AMG?
Our new spy photos follow on from earlier shots of Mercedes-Benz A-class prototypes testing in southern Europe. One of the cars was a higher-performance version, but not quite the replacement for the all-singing, all-dancing A45.
Spotted testing with a variety of other AMG production cars and prototypes, this go-faster model is thought to be an upcoming A40 variant, a circa-300bhp competitor to the likes of the Audi S3 and VW Golf GTI. Clues as to its uprated performance over cooking A-class models include a large additional air intake in the front bumper, larger ventilated brake discs and two exhausts at the rear.
What’s the 2017 A-class like inside?
Early spyshots suggest a wide, dual-screen digital instrument layout along the lines of the S-class and E-class. Plenty of physical buttons on the steering wheel, however…
If you’d previously been tempted by the Mercedes A-class, but found it wanting in terms of space, then you’re in luck as the fourth-gen version is set to offer more room inside.
Our original set of spy shots showed the new A-class being tested in southern Europe, while CAR reader Chris Ellen also spotted the Mercedes out on the road in Germany – and supplied us with many of the shots in the gallery above.
How will Mercedes tweak the A-class to offer more room?
Mercedes’ upcoming hatch will reputedly ditch the current A-class’s MFA platform for a new version, dubbed ‘MFA2’. It grants a longer wheelbase, increasing interior space.
The new MFA2 platform will also also be slightly lighter than the outgoing platform, and offer more flexibility when it comes to powertrains.
Are there any other big changes?
The rear light clusters have been redesigned, judging by the spy shots. In the current A-class they’re a wide one-piece design, resulting in a narrow opening in the tail – meaning it’s hard to load bulky items.
It looks to be the case, however, that the new car will feature split tail lights, with standalone clusters in the tailgate and rear wings – making the aperture wider, improving access to the A-class’s boot.
Mercedes is also planning a four-door version of the A-class, this time around – but we’ve no official word as to whether this’ll make it to the UK yet.
Any new engine options this time around?
There’ll be the obligatory four-cylinder petrol and diesel options, as well as a few AMG derivatives. Our sources suggest that as well as the mooted A40 AMG with around 300bhp will sit the A45 AMG, which in its second iteration will pack around 400bhp for more Porsche-slaying antics at the traffic lights.
Mercedes may also roll out a three-cylinder petrol version of the fourth-gen A-class, along with a plug-in hybrid version ideal for company car drivers – or those regularly driving in London.
Will the MFA2 platform be used in anything else?
It’s expected to find its way under the next generation of CLA, B-class and the mooted upcoming GLB SUV.
When’s this new A-class due?
It’s expected to arrive in September 2017, at the Frankfurt motor show, ahead of deliveries in early 2018.
See more spy shots