After months of teasing, Mercedes has finally taken the wraps off the new A-Class – the smallest car that the brand makes and its rival to the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3.
Yep, we’ve been teased with interior shots and shadowy front-on pictures, but here the A-Class is in the flesh. The styling certainly takes inspiration from the redesigned CLS-Class, which met with a divided reaction. We reckon the A-Class’ styling, though, plays things a little safer.
The front is aggressive enough, certainly, but from the B-pillar backwards, the new A-Class turns into a regular family hatchback, smooth lines and all. In fact, we’d go as far to say that there’s a whiff of Kia at the back.
Regardless, this is one of Mercedes’ best-selling cars, and it was in dire need of an update. And this car makes for one comprehensive update. We doubt Merc will have any trouble shifting them.
So what’s new? Well, the new A-Class is wider and longer than its predecessor, meaning it’s roomier inside with a bigger boot. There’s a new body shell that’s, Mercedes says, is the most aerodynamic in its class. That helps with fuel economy and, crucially, wind noise – a problem that the old A-Class struggled with.
In fact, Mercedes reckons that the new A-Class is way, way more comfortable than the outgoing one. That’s a good thing, because the old one – while very lovely – was a little stiffly sprung and noisy. So you now get a new suspension set-up that’ll enable hard cornering for when you want to drive fast, and a plush ride for when you don’t.
Engine-wise, the new A-Class launches as with the A200 or the A250. The A200 is powered by a new 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine, while, as before, the A250 gets a 2.0-litre turbocharged unit. Mercedes hasn’t released performance specs, but we reckon the A250 will be the one to go for – it should offer Golf GTI-like thrills.
Oh, and the big news is that interior. It follows the same basic design principle as the one in the new S-Class and E-Class. That means two whopping great screens that dominate the experience – one acting as the main instrument cluster, and one as the main infotainment screen. Obviously, there’s much opportunity for huge customisation as to the information that’s displayed.
As standard, you’ll get two seven-inch screens, but if you want to option them, you can have two 10.25-inch screens. And obviously you do want that.
The tech, Mercedes says, is more than just an infotainment system. Apparently, it’ll use machine learning to adapt to your tastes. So, for example, if you prefer to listen to Dubai 92 in the mornings, but Virgin Radio in the evenings, the car will take note of that and have the radio stations ready for you when you jump in.
The new A-Class also debuts Mercedes’ new voice assistant, which is apparently revolutionary because it actually works. Mercedes claims you can wake it up by saying, “Hey, Mercedes,” and give it a whole bunch of commands related to the car.
Further back, the A-Class is adorned with more luxurious seating and materials, making this a car far more deserving of its Mercedes price tag.
So, what do you think? A worthy update for Mercedes’ posh hatch? More pics below.