Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its all-new A-Class Sedan – a new C-segment entry that will serve as the German automaker’s most affordable sedan around the world, U.S. included. The model, which starts at $35,000, will serve as a direct competitor to the upcoming Cadillac CT4. The first 2019 A-Class reviews are beginning to roll in, and they’re mostly on the positive side.
A recent first drive review by Car & Driver gave the small German sedan props for a roomy cabin, an overachieving powertrain and a sporty chassis, but dinged it for “bland exterior styling”, underdeveloped ergonomics and half-baked signature technology features.
The smallest Mercedes-Benz sedan is set to go on sale early in the 2019 calendar year, so let’s take a closer look at exactly what the Cadillac CT4 will be up against when it launches next year.
You may already be familiar with Mercedes’ CLA-Class, which is a C-segment “four door coupe” – a term paraded by the German automakers as if it made sense (it doesn’t). But we’ll pretend to play their game, and say that this: while the CLA is a “four door coupe”, the A-Class Sedan is a proper “non-coupe” version, but on a new . generation of the automaker’s front-drive platform. The next-generation CLA-Class, meanwhile, will also adopt this same architecture when it’s redesigned in the near future.
Notably, this marks the first time that an A has graced Mercedes’ proper three-box sedan form factor. The luxury compact features front struts and a multilink rear suspension, as well as optional adaptive dampers that deliver for a ride that’s more and also better-controlled.
Front wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel-drive is available. All A-class models in the United States will be powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 188 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. The boosted two-oh is mated to a revised version of Mercedes’ seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Two higher-performance AMG models are expected: one with around 300 horses, and another with roughly 400.
Cabin & Technology
Like many new models aimed at the younger consumer, the A-Class is packed to the gills with technology. In the case of the new A-Class, Mercedes’ new infotainment system, called MBUX, is the star of the tech-fest.
The system works by way of two fully-digital screens – one for the gauge cluster and the other for the center stack. That’s pretty impressive. But that’s not all: the other big news is the way in which the driver can interact with the system.
The first way is by using traditional scroll wheel on the center console. The second is by simply uttering the words Hey, Mercedes, followed by a command. This invokes the car’s built-in virtual assistant, which will respond to voice commands in a similar fashion to Apple’s Siri personal assistant.
We should note that some of the features are dependent on a data connection.
Though the design evokes feelings of a space ship, the interior is well-done, with a fair share of metallic or wooden accents along with high-quality surfaces all around.
The $35,000 starting MSRP puts the new A-class among a company of one in the United States: the Audi A3 range. BMW has yet to confirm any plans to bring its (front-drive-based) 1 Series sedan to the United States, though the vehicle is on sale in China.
But the 2020 Cadillac CT4 is coming, and it will be gunning for both the A-Class and the A3, along with the 1 Series in China.
How Will The CT4 Stack Up?
The CT4 is expected to be roughly the same size as ATS Sedan, which was discontinued after the 2018 model year to make room at GM’s Lansing Grand River plant for the upcoming Cadillac CT5. Like the ATS, the CT4 will be built on an updated version of GM’s Alpha Platform. In fact, we have started to think of the CT4 as a second-gen ATS of sorts, but one that has been redesigned, repackaged, and repositioned to be a C-segment player that goes directly against the likes of the A-Class and A3.
What the CT4 will have going for it is its drivetrain layout: unlike all of the other segment contenders, which are based on nose-heavy front-drive platforms, the Cadillac will be rear-wheel drive. Optional all-wheel drive will be offered just as well. A high-performance CT4-V is expected 12-24 months after the initial debut of the regular CT4.
There is no information available currently about what the CT4’s powertrain range will look like, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the all-new 2.0L Turbo LSY as the base mill outputting around 250 horses, followed by the 3.6L V6 LGX making 315 ponies. The CT4-V will likely use the 3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 LGW making around 400 horsepower.
We’re also certain that the CT4 will also use Cadillac’s new Y trim level strategy, offering a base model called Luxury, a sport-oriented model called Sport, and a luxury-focused model called Premium Luxury. As we unearthed earlier this year via new spy shots, the three trims will likely have unique personas, trim elements, and features.
With the entry-level luxury sedan market heating up, all indicators point to the Mercedes Benz A-Class making a mark on the segment, much like the Audi A3 did when it launched several years ago. But this time around, it’s quite possible that Cadillac could outdo the Germans in the space they created.