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