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Mercedes-Benz gives the Chinese a stretched A-Class sedan

Because their market buys an insane number of cars

Essentially a longer A-Class with a trunk. PHOTO FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

In 2017, China continued to be the largest market for Daimler (Mercedes-Benz and Smart) in terms of sales. A total of 610,000 vehicles were delivered to customers in the People’s Republic, more than in any other year. This may be attributed to the brands’ products, which best suit the needs of Chinese customers. This year, another specially designed vehicle joins the Mercedes stable in China: the A-Class L Sedan.

It looks like the hatchback from this angle. PHOTO FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

Rear-seat legroom is very important to Chinese car buyers. Many luxury vehicles are chauffeur-driven with the owners sitting at the back. Mercedes-Benz recognizes that need, so increasing space in the back became the primary goal in the A-Class L’s development. To that end, the wheelbase is 60mm longer than in the hatchback version.

The A-Class sedan is 4,609mm long, with a wheelbase extended by 60mm. PHOTO FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

Aside from the extended wheelbase, the A-Class L Sedan gets new toys that are unique to the Chinese market. The new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system, first introduced on the new A-Class, is standard equipment. This proprietary system uses artificial intelligence which Mercedes-Benz claims has the ability to learn and create an emotional connection between the vehicle and its occupants. Integrated into the MBUX is a car version of the popular WeChat messaging app. The MBUX for the A-Class L also has voice command that is fluent in several Chinese dialects, including Sichuanese and Cantonese.

What the Chinese want, the Chinese get. Including this elegant trunk here. PHOTOS FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

The A-Class L Sedan benefits from Mercedes-Benz’s latest design philosophy used in the A-Class hatchback. The short overhangs at both ends, the creased side panels, and the newly designed lights and body panels give the vehicle a subtle sporty look and a confident stance on the road. Customers who opt for the higher Sport Sedan trim get power domes for the hood. The interior does away with the instrument binnacle cowling, and features a combined widescreen display for the instrument panel and the MBUX interface. The ambient lighting, new for the A-Class, offers occupants an extensive palette of 64 colors.

The Chinese owner takes the back seat. PHOTOS FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

Powering the A-Class L is a choice of two 1.3-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engines with cylinder shutoff technology. Power outputs are at 134hp and 161hp. A seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is standard for both engines. Customers can also expect a 2.0-liter engine with 188hp to be made available later on.

It pays to have a cargo compartment. PHOTO FROM MERCEDES-BENZ

The A-Class L Sedan is exclusive to China, and will be built at the Beijing Benz Automotive Company plant alongside the C-Class, the E-Class, the GLC-Class and the GLA-Class. It is the first and only extended-wheelbase model in the premium compact segment in the country.

Miggi Solidum

Miggi is an editor-at-large at VISOR. Professionally speaking, he is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He writes the 'G-Force' column.