The Mercedes-Benz A-Class small hatchback brand ups the luxury with more space and a tech-filled interior, due for Singapore in 2018
Mercedes has just taken the wraps off its latest A-Class hatchback ahead of its debut at the Geneva Motorshow. This rival to other small premium hatches like the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series will be available in Singapore around Q3 2018.
This fourth-generation model is clearly cut from the same cloth as its predecessor: Reports point to a new compact front-drive architecture that’s a development of the current MFA platform and allowing for more space.
Mechanically, the other big news is the arrival of a new engine. The A-Class launches with two petrol variants, A 200 and A 250; the former utilises a new 1.4-litre turbo unit co-developed with Renault. It packs 163hp – nine more than before – and 250Nm, and features cylinder cutoff technology for greater fuel efficiency when cruising.
The A 250 meanwhile uses a development of the existing 2.0-litre unit, producing 224hp (up from 208hp) and 350Nm of torque and will do 0-100km/h in 6.2 seconds.
There is a third launch variant, the A180d, but that’s unlikely to make it to Singapore. All variants are available with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission.
All of that is wrapped up in sheetmetal that looks like a sharper, more grown-up evolution of the current design.
The front end in particular, bears much resemblance to the scowling nose of the recently announced CLS four-door coupe, with a wide-set hexagonal grille and triangular headlamps. Aerodynamics are claimed to be class-leading too, at 0.25cd.
Further down the road, we can possibly expect a lower-powered version of the 1.4-litre unit that will be Cat-A COE-friendly, as well as hotter AMG variants.
In addition to a new AMG A 45 model that could possibly breach the 400hp mark, there will also be a less rabid (and less expensive) mid-range AMG A 35, although no specifics have been confirmed other than that it will have a brand new engine.
The dashboard is now split into horizontal segments, and is dominated by a ‘widescreen cockpit’ with twin digital screens for the instruments and infotainment – a feature first introduced in the flagship S-Class.
Twin 7-inch screens are standard, and larger 10.25-inch ones can be optioned. Jet turbine-style aircon vents, 64 colour ambient lighting and a steering wheel with touchpad controls further up the luxury ambience up front.
The A-Class is also the first production car to feature the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience ‘artificial intelligence infotainment system’.
Dubbed MBUX for short, it’s able to use augmented reality to assist with navigation, “learn” a driver’s routine, as well as receive voice controls in conversational language similar to Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri functions; just say “Hey Mercedes” and you’re away.
Passengers will appreciate a roomier and airier interior, thanks to a 120mm and 16mm growth in length and width, a 30mm longer wheelbase, and larger rear doors.
The boot has expanded by 29 too, to 370 litres, and has a much wider and more practical aperture than before.
Mercedes’ compact car family is currently five members strong; the new A-Class is the first model to be revealed, but expect new versions of the B-Class MPV, CLA Coupe and Shooting Brake, and GLA mini-SUV to appear in the coming months.
This family will eventually swell to accommodate eight models altogether, starting with an A-Class saloon that was previewed by a concept at the Shanghai motor show last year.
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