The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class, launched to the South African market this week goes in the opposite direction of its forefathers – from short and tall, it now is low and long.
The new A-Class is also the first Mercedes-Benz model to feature the intelligent multimedia system MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience – which also ushers in a new era in Mercedes me connectivity.
“The expansion and rejuvenation of the compact car range are key factors behind the sustained market success that Mercedes-Benz enjoys. The Mercedes-Benz brand has also become noticeably more youthful since the introduction of the third-generation compact models,” says Johannes Fritz, Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and Executive Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
Merc say the design of the new A-Class is the next step in the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of Sensual Purity. Its exterior is bigger than its predecessor – 120 mm longer, 16 mm higher and 6 mm wider – but, 20 kg lighter.
The vehicle is visually extended by the longer wheelbase and character line along the side and the larger wheel arches for wheels from 16 inches to 19 inches make it sit more squarely on the road.
The front and rear wheel spoilers have been specifically optimised to achieve low airflow losses around the wheels. In addition, the wheel arches are insulated from the engine compartment (depending on engine variant) and the radiator surrounds are sealed. This ensures more precise direction of the cooling air and a more efficient cooling system.
Wind noise inside the cabin has also been significantly reduced in the new A-Class compared to its predecessor, as the A-pillars and new exterior mirrors on the beltlines were enhanced in shape and position.
The interior of the new A-Class is completely redefined it gets easier access to the rear and a larger, more family and recreation-friendly luggage compartment.
The capacity of the luggage compartment behind the rear seats is 370 litres – 29 litres more than in the preceding model. Thanks to two-section rear lights, the loading aperture is 20cm wider than before, and the luggage compartment floor is 11,5 cm longer.
MBUX, the new multimedia system, offers intelligent voice control with natural language comprehension. By using the phrase “Hey Mercedes”, users can adjust the air-conditioning, send a text message, or find the quickest route out of the Cape Town city centre on a Friday afternoon.
“The new A-Class offers modern luxury at a level previously unthought of in the compact segment. It uses technology to create an emotional connection between the vehicle and driver,” says Selvin Govender, Marketing Director of Mercedes-Benz Cars South Africa.
“In many ways, our devices are extensions of our personalities and we are now extending this approach to your car. You should not have to adapt to your car, your car should adapt to you. In fact, your car should be just like you. With the new A-Class, achieving this is as simple as striking up a conversation. The new A-Class grows to understand your personal preferences then predicts your needs, making it the ultimate intelligent companion.”
New and improved Mercedes me connect services are launched with MBUX. These include navigation functions such as emergency braking, On-Street Prediction, Real-Time Information and Off-Street Information, which save time and reduce stress levels when searching for a parking space.
The A‑Class is available in two variants – the A 200 and the A 250 Sport, with the diesel model expected in South Africa in early 2019.
Both models benefit from new engines. The A 200 is powered by a 1,33 litre unit that generates 120 kW and 250 Nm of torque with a 7G‑DCT dual-clutch transmission (5.2 l/100 km). The 2,0 litre engine of the A 250 Sport generates 165 kW and 350 Nm, and is available with the 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission which provides a claimed fuel consumption of 6.2 l/100 km.
There is a choice of suspension systems for the A-Class, depending on engine variant and driver preference.
DYNAMIC SELECT is standard equipment and at the touch of a button, provides an individual driving experience in conjunction with the suspension with active damping control (optional).
Like all its predecessors, the new A-Class has a McPherson front suspension. The more powerful A 250 Sport is equipped with adaptive damping in combination with larger wheels, giving it a sophisticated four-link rear suspension. The rear axle is mounted on a subframe isolated from the bodyshell by rubber bushings so that fewer vibrations are transferred from the suspension to the body. The proportion of aluminium in the suspension components is one of the highest of any suspension system in this vehicle segment.