Mercedes A-Class Cabriolet on way

Drop-top A-Class is set to take aim at the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf

Mercedes A-Class Cabriolet

A convertible version of the new Mercedes A-Class is on the way. It will follow three and five-door variants, which go on sale next year, and is the latest addition to a new family of compact cars.

Mercedes is currently without a rival to the Audi A3 Cabriolet, BMW 1 Series Convertible and VW Golf Cabriolet, but this new model will change that. It will also help the 

firm achieve its long-term goal of becoming the number one premium manufacturer in terms of sales.

During a presentation at the launch of the B-Class, Mercedes CEO Dr Dieter Zetsche announced that five new compact cars are on the way over the next few years, all based on the same platform. Four we already know about: the B-Class, A-Class hatch, a small BMW X1-rivalling SUV and a baby CLS four-door coupe.

The A-Class Cabriolet is the missing fifth link. Under the skin, it will sit on the new front-wheel-drive platform that uses multi-link rear suspension for a more comfortable ride and better handling. A fabric roof is expected, too, as it is lighter and more cost-effective than a folding hard-top.

In addition to a 1.6-litre petrol turbo and a 1.8 diesel, the A-Class range will get a sporty turbocharged 200bhp 2.0-litre petrol motor. But for ultimate thrills, a four-wheel-drive AMG version will produce around 350bhp from its twin-turbo 2.0-litre engine. It is due in 2014.

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