A-Class de­signed to be a friend

South Western Times - - Wheels - Derek Og­den

Hi, Mercedes, what’s the go? The ’go’ is that the Ger­man maker of pres­tige cars wants buy­ers of its lat­est A-Class to treat the com­pact as their new best friend.

A new level of hu­man/ma­chine in­ter­ac­tion through MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Ex­pe­ri­ence) can be ac­ti­vated by say­ing “Hi Mercedes” to gain ac­cess to im­por­tant func­tions, des­ti­na­tion de­tails, phone calls, mu­sic choices, as well as the abil­ity to write and hear mes­sages.

The first Mercedes ve­hi­cle to bring this ex­cit­ing in­no­va­tion to Aus­tralia is the just-re­leased A-Class in A 200 hatch­back form. Pow­ered by a new four-cylin­der 1.3-litre tur­bocharged petrol en­gine it puts out up to 120kW of power and 250Nm of torque, driv­ing the front wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

An en­try-level A 180 and an up­mar­ket A 250 will be avail­able later in the year. A sedan is due here in 2019.

The A 200 sells for $47,200, plus on-road costs, but is avail­able with a host of add-ons, in­clud­ing vi­sion pack­age, seat com­fort pack­age and night pack­age, plus an AMG Line sports pack­age and AMG Ex­clu­sive pack­age.

Op­tions in­clude am­bi­ent light­ing, key­less go and wire­less charg­ing for mo­bile de­vices. There is also a spe­cial edi­tion A 200, in strictly lim­ited num­bers, for an ex­tra $7090. From Oc­to­ber a driv­ing as­sist pack­age will put the A-Class in line with S-Class safety.

Made avail­able to the me­dia on launch day were stan­dard ver­sions and a cou­ple with ac­tive sus­pen­sion.

The stan­dard model showed a han­dling pedi­gree far above its class, with taught steer­ing, while the ride lagged with a few bumps along the way.

The Mercedes-Benz A 200 with ac­tive sus­pen­sion did its stuff ami­ably on some twisty coun­try roads. I can’t see many buy­ers go­ing for the stan­dard model af­ter driv­ing the elec­tron­i­cally el­e­vated ac­tive sus­pen­sion.

Lower on the road, the new com­pact Merc has a sleeker pro­file with fewer creases to of­fend the hot-hatch lover’s eye.

The cabin boasts an ad­justable in­stru­ment dis­play with a choice of modern clas­sic, sport or un­der­stated lay­outs, with the pos­si­bil­ity of up to 25 pro­files.

There is a host of stan­dard safety fea­tures, in­clud­ing nine air bags - front, pelvis side and win­dow bags for driver and front pas­sen­ger, side bags for rear oc­cu­pants and a knee bag for driver. Hightech sys­tems abound, with ac­tive brake as­sist with semi-au­ton­o­mous brak­ing, ac­tive park as­sist with Park­tronic, ac­tive lane keep as­sist, blind spot as­sist with exit warn­ing not open the door if traf­fic or pedestrians are com­ing up close to the ve­hi­cle on the out­side, traf­fic sign as­sist and re­vers­ing cam­era.

Lower on the road, the new com­pact Merc has a sleeker pro­file with fewer creases. High-tech sys­tems abound in the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.