Mercedes-Benz is rapidly electrifying its model lineup as evidenced by the next-generation A-Class and B-Class versions being offered with gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid powertrains.

Due up first is the subcompact A-Class (example pictured above), which spy photographers have caught testing at Germany’s Nürburgring.

Both vehicles will be built on the new MFA 2 platform, which was developed in conjunction with Renault and will make greater use of aluminum in a bid to remove some weight. The extensive changes will also make it more suitable for a variety of powertrains, including the plug-in hybrid versions.

A conventionally powered Mercedes B-Class.

A conventionally powered Mercedes B-Class.

Little is known about the plug-in hybrid’s powertrain other than it is expected to involve a turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine, and most likely a twin-clutch automated transmission.

SEE ALSO: Mercedes B-Class Electric Comes With Tesla Inside

The A-Class has been a success in Europe and Mercedes is said to have made a decision to bring it to the U.S. soon after the new car debuts at the September 2017 Frankfurt motor show as a 2018 model.

The company is planning two models for the new A-Class: the classic five-door hatchback and for the first time, a four-door sedan.

To be more competitives with the Audi A3, BMW 1-Series, Honda Civic and Volkswagen Golf, the new A-Class will have more rear passenger room and a larger cargo space, with the rear hatch opening increased in size for easier loading.

The new B-Class, which may or may not continue to be offered as a pure battery-electric model, is now planned to arrive in 2019.

Auto Evolution