The A-List

New Mercedes-Benz A-Class set to be an even big­ger hit

Hertfordshire Life - - CONTENTS - WORDS: Andy Rus­sell

With the UK the big­gest mar­ket for Mercedes-Benz’s A-Class, the new hi-tech, hi-spec fourth-gen­er­a­tion’s more grown-up feel is set to make it an even big­ger hit

We love the baby Mercedes-Benz A-Class in the UK – its largest mar­ket glob­ally with 43,717 reg­is­tered here last year, nearly a quar­ter of to­tal sales. This fourth-gen­er­a­tion model gets a more grown-up feel and equip­ment in­clud­ing au­to­matic trans­mis­sion across the board for launch mod­els – man­u­als will fol­low – and sat-nav, more safety kit and de­buts the Mercedes-Benz User Ex­pe­ri­ence (MBUX) touch­screen in­ter­face and ex­cel­lent ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice recog­ni­tion. Hence, there­fore, the price hike...

LOOKS & IM­AGE

It’s an evo­lu­tion­ary look out­side, but the in­te­rior is more up­mar­ket with a hi-tech fas­cia, work-ofart air vents and twin seven and 10.25in in­stru­ment and in­fo­tain­ment dis­plays op­er­ated via re­spon­sive touch­pads on the steer­ing wheel. This is the fu­ture of fas­cias.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

Ef­fi­cient new en­gines are 116hp 1.5-litre turbo diesel A 180d, de­vel­oped with Re­nault and Nissan, 224hp 2.0-litre turbo petrol A 250, but the star is the 163hp, 1.3-litre turbo petrol A 200. The lit­tle cracker’s 250Nm of torque is al­most as strong as the diesel, but peaks lower at 1,620rpm. It spins freely at high revs for perky per­for­mance, the seven-speed au­to­matic box re­sponds read­ily and re­turned 47mpg.

HOW IT DRIVES

De­signed to be bet­ter to drive and more com­fort­able, the petrol A 200 feels crisper turn­ing into cor­ners with bet­ter steer­ing feel than the heav­ier diesel. Petrol AMG Line mod­els, with mul­ti­link rear sus­pen­sion rather than tor­sion beam, feel even live­lier.

With ei­ther set-up the new A-Class is more of a driver’s car with­out sac­ri­fic­ing com­fort, but AMG Line’s big­ger 18in wheels cre­ate more tyre noise.

SPACE & COM­FORT

The new A-Class is wider and longer and you feel the ben­e­fit inside with more shoul­der, el­bow and head­room, and rear legroom is ad­e­quate for tall pas­sen­gers.

Boot space has grown to 370 litres, with a wider open­ing, and 40/20/40 split rear seat backs fold flat.

TECH­NOL­OGY HIGH­LIGHT

The A-Class de­buts MBUX with in­tel­li­gent voice con­trol – wake up your ‘vir­tual valet’ with the key­words ‘Hey Mercedes’ and sim­ply say where you want to go, who you want to phone, mu­sic choice, weather fore­casts, writ­ing and hear­ing mes­sages and con­ve­nience func­tions such as cli­mate con­trol and light­ing. It’s enough just to say ‘Hey Mercedes I am cold’ to change the tem­per­a­ture. Ac­tive lane keep­ing as­sist is stan­dard to steer the car back if drift­ing off course.

FI­NAL SAY

The lat­est A-Class is even more de­sir­able – more grown up with in­no­va­tive big-car tech­nol­ogy that will ap­peal to driv­ers down­siz­ing. The higher price is one many will pay, es­pe­cially on monthly fi­nance pack­ages.

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