New A and B worth a see

The small­est Mercedes get a fresh look in­side and out, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide - For more im­ages of the Benz mod­els, go to­

THE small­est let­ters in the Mercedes-Benz al­pha­bet, A and B, have been mas­saged with a makeover. Up­grades in­clude some ex­te­rior vis­ual tweaks to freshen the A-Class and B-Class, re­vised in­te­ri­ors and the ad­di­tion of a 2.0-litre tur­bod­iesel in the A-Class.

The A180 CDI costs $39,990 and is avail­able with ei­ther a six-speed man­ual or a CVT au­to­matic.

For the first time an ac­tive park­ing as­sist rev­ers­ing sys­tem is also avail­able in the A and B.

The sys­tem is a $4680 op­tion on the A170 and A180 CDI as part of a ‘‘metro’’ pack that in­cludes a con­tin­u­ously vari­able au­to­matic, cruise con­trol and 12-volt socket in the lug­gage com­part­ment.

The sys­tem is stan­dard on the A200 three and five-door and turbo.

On the B-Class the same sys­tem costs $4160 on the B180 CDI and B200 as part of the same op­tion pack but is stan­dard on the B200 turbo.

The park­ing sys­tem uses ul­tra­sonic sen­sors to iden­tify suit­able park­ing spa­ces, then au­to­mat­i­cally guides the car into the space. It is sim­i­lar to that avail­able in some Volk­swa­gen mod­els.

Mercedes-Benz Aus­tralia spokesman David McCarthy ex­pects a strong take-up of the park­ing sys­tem as well as the new tur­bod­iesel in the A-Class.

‘‘We think the A180 CDI will at­tract more peo­ple to the brand,’’ he says.

A and B-Class sales have dipped this year by more than 30 per cent be­fore the ar­rival of newer mod­els.

Though the C-Class re­mains the vol­ume seller here, McCarthy says he ex­pects the A and B to lift vol­umes, par­tic­u­larly the tur­bod­iesel in the A-Class.

The new 80kW/250Nm 2.0-litre tur­bod­iesel A-Class is the sixth model in the brand’s en­try line-up and shares its en­gine with the B-Class.

In the A180 CDi it hits 100km/h in 10.8 sec­onds and de­liv­ers peak power at 4200 revs and peak torque be­tween 1600 and 2600 revs.

The fru­gal diesel has a com­bined fuel econ­omy of 5.2 litres/100km.

Like all A-Class mod­els, the A180 CDI has a com­pre­hen­sive safety story, in­clud­ing elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, anti-skid brakes, brake as­sist, ac­cel­er­a­tion skid con­trol, eight airbags and a full-sized spare wheel.

Com­fort fea­tures in­clude cli­mate con­trol, multi-func­tion steer­ing wheel and dis­play, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity and a split­fold rear seat.

Mov­ing up a notch, the B-Class, like its lit­tle brother, gains up­dates from the bumpers and head­lights to seat trim and up­graded au­dio.

The front bumper gets a larger air in­take and more ag­gres­sive treat­ment. Vis­ual up­grades in­clude body­coloured mir­rors, door han­dles and lower side skirts on all mod­els.

In­side, the B-Class gets brushed alu­minium high­lights on the dash­board, reach-ad­justable steer­ing and hill-start as­sist.

Prices for the A and B have risen slightly. The A-Class is up from $500-$800 de­pend­ing on the model and the B-Class has risen $400 across the board.

The en­try 1.7-litre A170 coupe costs $35,500. The top-range A200 turbo costs $49,500.

In a flash: the Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatch. In the A and B, flash­ing brake lights ac­ti­vate if the driver brakes at more than 50km/h.

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