Mercedes A Class

The lat­est gen­er­a­tion of Mercedes’ A Class has just ar­rived, and it’s quite some­thing Damien O'car­roll says

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - CONTENTS -

The low, sleek four door is night and day dif­fer­ent from the slightly gawky of­fer­ing that started the A Class line. Not a bad thing, all prod­ucts evolve, and this one’s very svelte. Head­ing into its fourth gen­er­a­tion, and twenty years on from the orig­i­nal, the new A Class looks set to do what the first A Class did – win the Mercedes brand a whole new cadre of own­ers. The range-split­ter A200 is set to ar­rive in Au­gust; en­try level A180 and the A250 4Matic range top­per will drop into show­rooms in De­cem­ber. Di­men­sion­ally, the new A-class is 120mm longer than the old car, with a 30mm-longer wheel­base that adds valu­able space in the boot. The new car is 16mm wider and 6mm higher, but 20 kg lighter de­pend­ing on the model. The A200 has an all-new 120kw/250nm 1.3-litre four-cylin­der petrol with cylin­der cut-off, while the A250 is pow­ered by a heav­ily re­vised 165kw/350nm 2.0-litre four­cylin­der petrol unit. Both drive through a seven-speed dual-clutch trans­mis­sion. The A Class has cur­rently won the Bat­tle of the Dash Dis­plays, with a mas­sive 10.25 inch job that some­how man­ages to not ob­struct the driver’s view of the road. It is the first to get the com­pany’s new ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence learn­ing sys­tem, MercedesBenz User Ex­pe­ri­ence (MBUX) in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem: an app that adapts it­self to the user ac­cessed through a high res­o­lu­tion touch­screen and a new touch­pad on the cen­tre con­sole. There’s also an ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence func­tion that ob­serves your driv­ing pat­terns and habits and of­fers sug­ges­tions as it gath­ers more in­for­ma­tion about you. That’s either very cool or slightly dis­turb­ing.

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