THE ALL -new Mercedes-Benz A-Class has arrived in South Africa, sporting enhanced luxury and technology.
The new A-Class is the first Mercedes- Benz passenger car to feature
the automaker’s intelligent multimedia system MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience).
Johannes Fritz, co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA), said:”The expansion and rejuvenation of the compact car range are key factors behind the sustained market success that Mercedes-Benz enjoys. The brand has also become noticeably more youthful since the introduction of the third-generation compact models.”
The hatchback’s sporty exterior is larger than its predecessor; 120mm longer, 16mm taller and 6mm wider though 20kg lighter. The vehicle also benefits from a longer wheelbase and larger wheel arches.
The A-Class is available in two variants – the A200 and the A250 Sport, with the diesel variant expected to arrive locally in 2019. Both models benefit from new engines.
The A200 is powered by a 1.3-litre unit which generates 120kW/250Nm with a 7G DCT dual-clutch transmission (5.2-litre/100km). The 2.0-litre engine of the A 250 Sport generates 165kW/350Nm and is available with the 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission which provides a claimed fuel consumption of 6.2 litres/100km.
New features for both engines include Camtronic for the intake camshaft and particulate filter as standard.
There is a choice of suspension systems for the A-Class, depending on engine variant and driver preference. Dynamic Select is standard and at the touch of a button, provides an individual driving experience in conjunction with the suspension with active damping control (optional).
Like its predecessors, the new A-Class is fitted with McPherson front suspension. The more powerful A250 Sport is equipped with adaptive damping in combination with larger wheels, giving it a sophisticated four-link rear suspension.
The interior of the new A-Class is completely redefined; shoulder, elbow and headroom have been improved. The new A-Class also offers easier access to the rear and a larger, more family-friendly luggage compartment.
Luggage compartment behind the rear seats is 370 litres – 29 litres more than the outgoing model. Thanks to two-section rear lights, the loading aperture is 20cm wider than before, and the luggage compartment floor is 11.5cm longer.
All-around visibility in the new A-Class has also been improved, with the area obscured by the pillars reduced by 10% compared to its predecessor.
MBUX, the new multimedia system, makes its way to the Mercedes passenger car market following its launch in the Sprinter Van.
The system learns and adapts to suit the user through artificial intelligence so the more a user interacts with it, the more the new A-Class becomes aware of his/her needs.
In addition, MBUX 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.
Selvin Govender, marketing director of Mercedes-Benz South Africa, said: “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.
“In many ways, our devices are extensions of our personalities and we’re now extending this approach to your car. You shouldn’t 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 being launched with MBUX. These include navigation functions like 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 new A-Class also offers a number of functions that were previously the preserve of the luxury class: real-time parking, for example, and the ability to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations. To do this, it keeps a close eye on the traffic as the improved camera and radar systems allow it to see up to 500m ahead.
It comes with extended Active Brake Assist as standard. Depending on the circumstances, this can effectively help to mitigate the consequences of rear-end collisions with slow-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles. This extended Active Brake Assist even responds to crossing pedestrians and cyclists to help prevent collisions altogether.
The success story of the compact cars from Mercedes-Benz began 21 years ago, with the launch of the first generation A-Class. Since then, nearly six million Mercedes-Benz compact cars have been delivered worldwide, three million of which were A-Class models.
MBSA says: “For the first time in the compact segment, Mercedes-Benz uses a two-section Airpanel (optional). This louvre system behind the radiator grille opens its adjustable louvres depending on the cooling requirement with the additional louvre system in the air inlet below the registration plate, further improving system performance.”
The front and rear wheel spoilers have been 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 sealed.
Wind noise has also been significantly reduced in the new A-Class compared to its predecessor.