What is it? Between flipping the about-face on its aboriginal all-electric crossover, reinventing an off-road legend, and putting the finishing touches on a 1,000-horsepower hypercar, you could say that Mercedes-Benz has been alive this year. But for all the headline-making news, it’s the new A-Class Auto that could be the best analytical car it launches in America abutting year.
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Despite the crumbling acceptance of baby cars, Mercedes-Benz knows that they’re an capital allotment to adorable abutting barter into the fold. Snag a adolescent and flush customer, and you could actual able-bodied end up affairs him or her addition bristles or ten Benzes over their life. It’s formed able-bodied so far with the CLA, which access assimilate the arena in 2013 with its head-swiveling looks and memorable sub-$30,000 amount tag. Barter flocked to it, bisected of whom were new to the brand. Mercedes followed it up with a crossover alternative alleged the GLA, what was finer a high-riding body-cladded adaptation of the antecedent A-Class Hatchback.
Rather than alter the CLA absolute (a second-gen adaptation is on the way), the A-Class will accompany it and the GLA in showrooms aboriginal abutting year, emphasizing acumen and technology. It’ll be offered alone in A220 form, attainable to snatch sales from the Audi A3 Sedan, Acura’s afresh facelifted ILX, and Tesla buyers who accept developed abrupt from cat-and-mouse for their entry-level Archetypal 3s to be built. Buyers can accept from front-wheel-drive or 4Matic all-wheel-drive configurations.
What’s new? While the A-Class is a accustomed afterimage on European roads, this new fourth-generation archetypal marks the aboriginal time it will be attainable as a auto – America’s adopted architecture for baby cars. While some bunched four-doors tend to attending a bit frumpy, the A-Class is a looker, cutting Mercedes’ minimalist architecture accent smartly.
The shark-nose advanced end, with its chrome-studded grille and abounding LED headlamps, gives the A the actualization of a four-fifths calibration CLS, which is no bad thing. Despite actuality 3.2 inches beneath in all-embracing breadth and featuring a added cocked greenhouse than the CLA, the A-Class Auto is able-bodied ample and attainable on the eyes, decidedly aback cutting the alternative 19-inch admixture auto ($500).
Underneath its skin, the A-Class rides on an adapted adaptation of the MFA belvedere that underpins the accepted CLA and GLA twins, but has been thoroughly revamped for bigger ride and administration to attempt adjoin a abutting bearing of baby exceptional cars from battling brands. Compared to the CLA, the A-Class rides on a wheelbase that is about an inch best and will additionally be attainable with adaptive dampers.
It’s a agnate adventure for the powertrain, which builds on the aforementioned apparatus as the CLA, but with ample enhancements. The A gets the latest bearing of Mercedes-Benz’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo. It produces 188 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque in this application, which trails the CLA’s 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and the European-market A250 Hatchback which develops 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The agent pairs to a seven-speed bifold clamp transmission, controlled by a column-mounted shifter. Paddles for chiral alive are included. Bottomward the road, Mercedes will action not one but two AMG models in the anatomy of the A35 AMG and A45 AMG to attempt adjoin the Audi S3 and RS 3. Apprehend ability ratings of 300 hp for the 35 and as abundant as 400 hp for the added almighty variant.
The A-Class additionally marks the North American admission of Mercedes-Benz’s new MBUX (say: M-B-U-X) infotainment system, which boasts amid added advancements aggrandized absoluteness navigation, Mercedes’s new claimed assistant, not to acknowledgment a accomplished host of added high-end appearance that you’d apprehend to acquisition in a $70,000 affluence auto – not one starting at bisected the price. Added on that in a bit.
What’s it like on the inside? Knowing that aboriginal impressions count, Mercedes has accustomed the new A-Class a admiration of a cabin. The architecture shares added in accepted with the S-Class flagship than the next-size-up C-Class, with its freestanding accompanying 10.25-inch displays (7.0-inchers are standard) and backlit agent air vents. The architecture is avant-garde and sophisticated, a apple afar from added exceptional baby cars.
Those afraid about appearance over actuality charge not be concerned. A about nice mix of textured and stitched plastics beleaguer disciplinarian and passengers, admitting some of the plastics on the lower aperture animate and animate are adamantine and alveolate aural in places. The stitched birr panel, matte-finish metal or copse trim feel the allotment of a affluence car, with the alternative 64-color ambient autogenous lighting ($310) and customized autogenous capacity creating a lounge-like and abundant ambiance. There’s no curtailment of affluence items either with attainable exceptional Burmester complete arrangement ($850), 18-carat covering upholstery, acrimonious and aerial seats, and “kinetic” seats that cautiously acclimatize themselves to anticipate continued ambit adventure fatigue.
Accommodations for rear-seat riders are abundant bigger over the CLA and GLA. While assuredly still a bunched car, the A’s best wheelbase and taller ability accomplish it attainable for a six-foot-tall developed to ride abaft an appropriately alpine driver. Block amplitude is additionally decidedly roomy, and not far off the clip of the bigger, pricier C-Class. A ample aperture makes loading baggage into the block easier.
What new technology appearance does it have? For decades, it has been an accepted aphorism that if you capital to drive the abutting in automotive technology, you could do so in the S-Class. Now, you can acquaintance it in Benz’s best affordable model. How times accept changed.
Central to the A-Class acquaintance is MBUX, which bundles calm infotainment, agent controls, and a claimed abettor all into one. It’s attainable via four altered ways: through touch-sensitive pads on the council caster (left pad for the apparatus cluster, appropriate pad for the centermost screen), a new touchpad ambassador amid on the centermost console, a axial touchscreen display, and by voice.
Where accomplished articulation ascendancy systems centered on car-related actions, MBUX is set up in the affinity of Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, or the Google claimed assistant. Simply say, “Hey Mercedes” to alarm it up, and ask away. The changeable articulation on the added end understands requests on aggregate from academy sports and the banal market, to comestible advice in the donut you were about to chow bottomward on. Impressively, MBUX can accept complicated and nuanced strings such as, “find me an Asian restaurant that’s accessible now rated four stars but is not Japanese,” and will promptly affectation answers, sorted to your criteria. The arrangement relies on the internet and is updatable over time accretion its abilities and accomplishment – acceptable affair too, because alike admitting Mercedes would appropriately acknowledgment questions about the acceptation of activity or bang off a G-rated antic or two, it had a difficult time compassionate the command to about-face the radio off.
If talking to your car doesn’t appear naturally, blow assured that the akin of back-up congenital into MBUX is impressive. You can collaborate with the car in whatever way works best for you. Admitting a bit of a ability to the capital infotainment display, the blow functionality makes zooming in on the aeronautics or interacting with Apple CarPlay easier. Stuck on area to configure a accurate agent function? Alarm up a 3D A-Class, rendered in real-time, and spin, touch, and collaborate with the miniature archetypal to absolutely acquisition the affection you’re attractive to adjust. The axial touchpad, the almsman to the COMAND ambassador knob, allows you to bound breeze through slickly styled airheaded and is appreciably easier to use than the trackpad setups from Lexus and Acura.
By contrast, few will altercation that the A-Class’s Intelligent Drive apartment of alive assurance systems is at the top of its game. The alternative $2,250 Disciplinarian Assistance Amalgamation array brings flagship-grade appearance axis the little A-Class into a semi-autonomous vehicle. Full-speed adaptive cruise ascendancy will chase the car ahead, and it takes inputs from map abstracts to apathetic the car bottomward aback abutting curves, roundabouts and junctions. A 360-degree parking camera is attainable with automated parking feature, but it’ll set you aback $1,090.
Another highlight – and an industry aboriginal – is the aggrandized absoluteness aeronautics system, which comes arranged with a cartage assurance abetment arrangement for $1,150. It overlays artery names, architecture numbers, and aeronautics instructions over a alive beck from a high-mounted camera aloft the car’s windshield. It works brilliantly, admitting we ambition it projected anon assimilate the windshield through the anew attainable full-color head-up display.
When kitted with all the goodies, the A-Class is a appalling tech apparatus that should amaze alike the best agog apparatus geeks.
What’s it like to drive? With so abundant technology it would accept been attainable for Mercedes to coat over the A-Class’s dynamics. Thankfully, it hasn’t. It is credible that abundant time was spent cutting and adorning the shortcomings of the CLA.
While it may not accept the aforementioned action as some of its cross-town rivals (it’s some 30 horses bottomward compared to the Audi A3 Quattro), the new 2.0-liter delivers ability smoothly, quietly, and after lag. In either the absence Abundance or Sport mode, burke acknowledgment is able-bodied advised and off-the-line dispatch is sufficient. The revamped seven-speed dual-clutch chiral is a big footfall advanced from the assemblage begin in the CLA; it is quick to downshift to accumulate the agent in its powerband, but added chiefly is bare of any of the low-speed jerkiness that generally plagues transmissions of this type. Paddles acknowledge bound to inputs.
Better still is what Mercedes has done with the affability of the ride, or at atomic aback the car is adapted with the AMG-Line amalgamation (Comfort abeyance with Sport ride acme and 19-inch auto captivated in summer tires). Over the asphalt streets about Seattle’s Pike Place Market, it captivated impacts that would agitated best bigger cars, and it avoids boundless acerbity over potholes. It’s abutting but not uncomfortably so. We didn’t accept a adventitious to try out the alternative adaptive dampers or the accepted affair 17-inch caster and with run-flat tires; be abiding to sample them aback analysis driving.
In general, the A-Class is a bashful cruiser accouterment the absolute ambiance to adore the alternative Burmester complete system. Agent and wind babble are abnormally able-bodied contained, the closing acknowledgment to its wind-cheating shape.
On arced stretches about Mount Rainier, the A-Class offered responsive, artlessly abounding council and adamant accord alike aback pushed. With affluence of anchor from those ample Pirelli tires, it offers a mature, big-car feel that’s in band with its exceptional aspirations. Those gluttonous live-wire thrills may appetite to authority out for the assured AMG versions which should be a absolute firecracker if the 375-hp CLA45 AMG is annihilation to go by.
Is it fuel-efficient? Official ammunition abridgement abstracts haven’t been appear for the A220 Sedan, but they should be agnate to the absolute CLA 250. Apprehend about 25 mpg burghal and 37 highway. Over our 300-mile bang through Eastern Washington’s hills, we averaged about 27 mpg. Take it easy, and we wouldn’t be afraid if over 40 mpg is attainable with the front-wheel-drive version.
An agent idle-stop arrangement is standard, and for the best allotment is nonintrusive in bringing the agent aback to life. An eco-friendly drive approach is additionally available, with an array of meters and gauges to advice you drive efficiently. One downside? Like best Benz models, this one prefers exceptional unleaded to the approved stuff.
What’s the verdict? The A-Class ability be the aboriginal and atomic big-ticket affiliate of the Mercedes-Benz family, but it impresses in a big way. For the moment this is the best technologically developed auto on the bazaar and it sets the accepted for clarification and abundance amid baby cars.
Final appraisement is still a means out, but we apprehend the A220 to alpha about the $32,000 mark with a acceptable akin of accepted equipment. A across-the-board sliding sunroof, emergency free braking, MBUX, and 17-inch admixture auto are included with the amount of entry. Our tester, loaded to the base with aliment and 4Matic boasted some $15,000 in options, putting it alarmingly abutting to $50,000. That’s a lot of money, but such is the amount to pay for a baby car that can flash as ablaze as any added cutting the three-pointed star.
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