When we drove the 2012 Mercedes-Benz A-Class earlier this year, we called it "likely the most important Mercedes-Benz passenger car since the old 190 turned into the C-Class "Baby Benz" back in 1993." And just like that car opened all kinds of new doors for The Three-Pointed Star, the A-Class looks to be doing the same. Autocar reports that pre-orders in Western Europe number 70,000, a figure that would represent a ten-percent conversion rate of potential customers invited to pre-launch events.

That would also make the third-generation A-Class the most successful car launch in Mercedes history, an auspicious start for a car with a heavy burden. The segment continues to expand and will be a key battleground, especially as both Mercedes and Audi plan on being the number one luxury carmaker by 2020, taking over from BMW. The uptake of the standard model bodes well for the fortunes of the CLA sedan and the utility variant to come.