What Is This Mysterious A-Class Doing In The USA?

Spy Shots / 2 Comments

The A-Class will be discontinued at the end of 2022, so what's going on here?

A facelifted Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan was recently spied out and about on American roads, lightly disguised to keep prying eyes from seeing the facelifted front and rear design. We're not expecting anything more drastic than updated front, and rear bumpers and possibly a new LED layout within the headlight cluster and perhaps some minor interior updates.

But while seeing spy shots of facelifted models is nothing new for us, this particular A-Class was intriguing for one reason: it's not going to be around for much longer, so why was this mule being tested on American soil?

The Mercedes-AMG A35 was quietly discontinued last year, and the A-Class Sedan is living on borrowed time. The only A-Class-based product that will survive the stateside the culling is the CLA-Class four-door coupe. Even the allure of the mighty three-pointed star isn't enough to lure people out of their SUVs and crossover.

KindelAuto/YouTube
KindelAuto/YouTube
KindelAuto/YouTube

There is something special about this particular test mule, however. You might have noticed the slightly odd tailpipes, which protrude far enough to make the car look like a wheelbarrow. It's a handy feature if it breaks down, but we're 100 percent sure that's not what Mercedes is testing here.

Unless this particular A-Class is trying to land a starring role in the next Fast & Furious movie, we suspect it's trying out some sort of new powertrain that might find its way into the A-Class in the future. Looking at the dual pipes, we suspect it's a performance engine. Since the CLA 45 is still available, Mercedes might be testing an upgraded version of its four-cylinder turbocharged four-pot.

The test mule has a robust set of brakes in the front, though the high-profile rubber is a bit of a mystery. We are, however, confident that this car is hiding something other than refreshed bumpers.

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KindelAuto/YouTube
KindelAuto/YouTube

The first batch of high-end, hybridized Mercedes-AMG four-cylinder products will arrive in the coming months, with the SL 43 leading the charge. Merc's updated 2.0-liter borrows some trickery from its F1 car to put an end to turbo lag. Not that the CLA 45 ever felt slow, mind you. It launches harder than a mid-2000s supercar.

Still, we all know AMG's unofficial catchphrase: Too much power is almost enough. The turbocharged four-pot in the SL 43 uses a small electric motor that drives the turbo's shaft and starts spooling the turbo a few precious split seconds before the exhaust gasses arrive and the traditional turbocharged setup kicks in. We know this powertrain, plus some additional electrical assistance will power the upcoming C63.

It's doubtful those powertrains are being tested in a FWD sedan though, which still leaves us pondering what this mule could be doing.

KindelAuto/YouTube
KindelAuto/YouTube
KindelAuto/YouTube

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