New generation Mercedes A-Class combines performance and comfort

The new-generation A-Class from Mercedes-Benz reconciles the conflicting aims of sporty performance and enhanced comfort.

001-off-my-wheelsBrian Joss – With Dynamic Select, the driver is able to change the best-seller’s characteristics in a matter of seconds – at the touch of a button the A-Class drives in a particularly comfortable, sporty or efficient manner. Mercedes‑Benz offers the A-Class in two diesel and three petrol variants.  For the diesel models, the A 200 d and A220 d and the A 200, A 250 Sport and Mercedes-AMG 45 4MATIC for the petrol models.

With its dramatic design in the style of the successful Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team, the special “Motorsport Edition” model will particularly appeal to racing fans.

The Mercedes A220 d: striking design. Picture: Quickpic
The Mercedes A220 d: striking design. Picture: Quickpic

The Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC also benefits from the model update. With a peak output of 280 kW and maximum torque of 475 Nm, the entry-level model from Mercedes-AMG is the world’s most powerful compact sports model. The revised gear ratios, aerodynamic fine-tuning and the new Dynamic Select driving modes raise overall performance to a higher level, underlining the claim to leadership in this market segment.

“With the driving programme selector, the new chassis with adaptive damping and LED high-performance headlamps, the new generation of the A-Class demonstrates just how high the level of innovation can be in this segment”, says Florian Seidler, Co-CEO Mercedes-Benz South Africa & Executive Director Mercedes-Benz Cars.

“2012 was a year of paradigm change in the compact class. The new A-Class was a radical departure from the preceding series. And a successful one: as the most progressive model in the compact class, the model series has made a significant contribution to make the Mercedes-Benz brand more youthful. With this model update we are now meeting the wishes of many customers for even more comfort with no loss of dynamic performance,” adds Seidler.

The chassis: comfort at the touch of a button

With Dynamic Select the vehicle characteristics can be adjusted in seconds at the touch of a button, as the system modifies the engine, transmission, suspension, steering and air conditioning at the driver’s behest. The four driving modes “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Eco” and “Individual” can be conveniently selected using the switch in the upper control panel.

The A 220 d and the A 250 Sport models are equipped with Dynamic Select as standard. The system is also included as standard in all models with 7G-DCT, AMG Line or a lowered suspension.  Dynamic Select is available as an option for the A 200 and the  A 200 d.

Striking lines, dynamically curved surfaces and coupé-like window lines characterise the exterior of the A-Class, following the design philosophy of sensual purity. The form of the new, more arrow-shaped front bumper takes its lead strongly from the Concept A-CLASS (2011) concept vehicle. With a diamond grille, new LED high-performance headlamps (optional extra) and newly designed tail lamps with dual tailpipe trim integrated flush into the bumper, the new generation emphasises the sportiness and dynamics of the successful compact class model series.

An instrument cluster of tubular design with classy dial graphics and anodised switches upgrades the high-quality interior, as does the large, free-standing and frameless display of the infotainment system, which is now optionally available with a larger 20.3-cm (8-inch) screen. New colours and materials, as well as new finishes for the trim in the dashboard, ensure a fresh ambience. New features include sahara beige / black leather in the Exclusive package and a new seat design with red or green highlights in the Style line.

The A 200 rated at 115 kW is the entry-level model of the A-Class. The efficiency champion is the A 200 d delivering 100 kW of power and the A 220 d with 130 kW of power and 350 Nm of torque respectively.  Both diesel models report 116 (A 200 d) and 109 (A 220 d) CO2 g/km emissions, and are therefore not liable for CO2 tax.  Fuel consumption on these diesel models are just 4.2  l/100 km for the A 220 d and 4.5 l/100 km for the A 200 d. Numerous measures to enhance efficiency have made these outstanding figures possible.

The A 220 d now has a slightly higher output of 130 kW while the sport models A 250 Sport now develops 155 kW. The “ECO display” also takes a new form to assist the driver in maintaining an environmentally friendly style of driving.

The Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC also benefits from the model update. With a maximum output of 280 kW and a peak torque of 475 Nm, the entry-level model from Mercedes-AMG is the world’s most powerful compact sports model. This power pack delivers a dynamic performance that is unrivalled: it accelerates from rest to 100 km/h in just 4.2 seconds. This means that the new Mercedes‑AMG A 45 takes 0.4 seconds less for this exercise than its predecessor. At the same time, fuel consumption has been kept at the previous level: no other high-performance model in this category can match its NEDC minimum fuel consumption of 7.3 – 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres (corresponds to 171 – 162 g/km CO2).

Mercedes-Benz is also using the A-Class model update as the opportunity to introduce the new nomenclature for the drive variants in this model series.

The new generation of the A-Class entered the market in September 2012. Owing to the great success enjoyed by this model around the world, it is manufactured not only in Rastatt, but, since August 2013, also by the Finnish production specialist Valmet Automotive. Sales soared by more than 46% in Great Britain last year, and by more than 50% in the growth market of China. However, most A-Class models continue to be sold to customers in Germany.

Around one in two drivers of a Mercedes-Benz A-Class or B-Class, GLA or CLA in Germany and Western Europe previously drove a competitor vehicle. In the case of the A-Class, no less than two out of three European customers come from competing brands. The Mercedes-Benz brand has also undergone a noticeable rejuvenation since the introduction of the new compact models. Nowadays, the average age of European drivers owning the new A-Class is around 13 years less than for the preceding model series. In China, the average age is 34 years.

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