The attack of the small coupes – Mercedes CLA, Audi A3 Sedan and BMW 2 Series
Kaustubh Shinde, They say sooner or later your passion finds you. Sometime in late 2009, I started writing for IAB and ever since then it has been a roller coaster ride for me. An amazing experience that has taught me a lot, taken me to new places, driven some great cars and met some amazing people. When you don't find me on IAB (very rarely), you will find me either at a coffee shop or an eatery or at the nearest gadget store. Hope you enjoy IAB as much as we do!
The luxury auto market has gone through dramatic changes in recent times. We are getting to see new products, new technologies and new features at price points which were not very long ago considered brand-diluting or unprofitable.
We are also witnessing dramatically new product lines which are completely changing our perception of luxury. We have seen the birth of the Compact Crossover Coupe, and now it is time to delve on Compact Coupes.
A Coupe is not a new concept in the automotive industry. It has been around since the era of dinosaurish muscle cars. However, in the past one year, we have witnessed something very startling. Luxury automakers such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi are introducing small and affordable coupes for the young generation.
The whole idea started when Mercedes decided that its had enough of fan following of people with old money. It needed to introduce new and exciting products to attract younger audience to the showrooms to secure its future with repeat customers.
Someone at the product development department took a hard look at the new A Class and decided to put a boot on it. And so was born the Mercedes CLA Class – a sedan version of the Mercedes A Class. The Mercedes CLA debuted at 2013 Detroit Motor Show and is coming to India next year.
Based on the new MFA platform, the CLA is a stylish sedan with a swooping roof line. It sits below the Mercedes C Class as the new entry level sedan. Mercedes is so bullish about the success of the CLA that a sporty AMG version is ready to make its public debut at the New York Motor Show tomorrow.
Audi was quick to respond to Mercedes’s challenge. The Ingolstadt-based giant decided that it too needs a similar rival in the entry level coupe market. Just like Mercedes, Audi decided to extend the A3 hatchback to form the A3 sedan.
Considering the A3 hatchback is based on the highly modular MQB architecture, the development time of the A3 sedan was surprisingly short. In fact, Audi is ready to unveil the A3 sedan on the 27th of March.
This time, BMW is late to the party so they want to try something more unique in this segment. Thus, the Bavarian automaker is developing a whole new 2 Series product line to challenge the CLA Class or the A3 sedan.
While there is no confirmation on whether the CLA will go topless, the 2 Series will definitely be available as a convertible. Somewhere down the line there will also be a ‘M’ version of the 2 Series.
BMW also wants to build a GranCoupe (four door super luxurious coupe) model of the 2 Series but is quite skeptical that it might eat into the 3 Series’s market share as it would come dangerously close to the 3 Series in size and specifications, while undercutting some variants in price.
With the attack of these new compact coupes, young buyers are sure to be spoiled for choice.