We Hear: Mercedes Planning Mini-Fighting X-Class Cars
Mercedes-Benz and BMW are known rivals, but a new report from Automobile suggests that the German automaker from Stuttgart is gunning for BMW’s Mini division and BMW’s own upcoming front-drive model with a new subcompact X-Class range.
Thanks to its partnership with Renault-Nissan, Mercedes will have access to a flexible shared platform upon which it can build a range of cars that may use X-Class alphanumeric names. The next-gen Smart car’s platform is apparently not scalable, and issues with cost and complexity prevent the automaker from using the A-Class platform.
The first new X-Class car may be based on the small Renault Captur crossover (pictured at right). Next in line would be sub-B-Class Mercedes based on the next-gen Nissan Micra and Renault Clio subcompact hatchbacks. Since these small and inexpensive Mercedes cars won’t debut for a few years, the automaker has time to make sure they’ll be unmistakably Benz and not just a rebadged Renault, like Mercedes’ Citan van.
Powertrain options could include direct-injection, turbocharged gas and diesel 1.0-liter I-3s and 1.5-liter I-4s.
We’ve speculated before that the baby Benzes will be available with a new family of Renault three- and four-cylinder gas and diesel engines. Mercedes is reportedly hoping to sell between 100,000 and 150,000 global units a year. It’s unclear at this point whether the U.S. market would get any of the Renault-based entry-level models, which would slot below the 2014 CLA-Class four-door.
Below are photos of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, B-Class, Citan, and Renault Captur