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New A-Class ‘sets benchmark in compact segment’

  • Two petrol models for now, diesel coming
  • ‘Rejuvenation of the compact-car range’
  • ‘Emotional connection between vehicle and driver’
2018 MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS: Image: Mercedes-Benz
2018 MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS: Image: Mercedes-Benz

PRETORIA, Gauteng – Mercedes-Benz has introduced its all new A-Class to the South African market with claims of ”an unprecedented pairing of luxury and technology in the compact car segment”.

It’s also said to be the first Mercedes to have an ”intelligent” multimedia system (MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience} to introduce a ”new era” in the automaker’s connectivity.

Mercedes launched its compact cars 21 years earlier – the first generation A-Class – and since then nearly six-million smaller cars have been delivered worldwide – three million of them  A-Class units.

2018 MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS: Image: Mercedes-Benz
2018 MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS: Image: Mercedes-Benz

Johannes Fritz, co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz SA and executive director of Mercedes-Benz Cars, told The Corner in a media release: “The expansion and rejuvenation of the compact-car range are key factors behind the sustained market success that Mercedes-Benz enjoys.

”The brand has also become noticeably more youthful.”

So, back to the present…

The 2018 A-Class is said to have more utility value, ”making it more youthful than ever but grown-up like never before”. Its ”striking” sporty shell is bigger than its predecessor (120mm longer, 16mm higher and six mm wider) yet is 20kg lighter.

The wheelbase has been marginally extended and the wheel-arches can now accommodate wheels up to 19” in diameter. The Cd figure is listed as 0.25 and so, Mercedes claims, makes it the aerodynamic leader in its segment.

2018 MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS: Image: Mercedes-Benz
2018 MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS: Image: Mercedes-Benz

Slipstream noise reaching the cabin has also been significantly reduced – and the accommodation ”completely redefined” with an avant-garde look that ”revolutionises the compact segment from the inside”. There’s more shoulder-, elbow- and headroom and access to the cargo / luggage volume has been make more accessible – at 370 litres, it’s 29 greater, the load aperture made 20cm wider and the floor 11.5cm longer.

The MBUX system has ”intelligent” voice control with natural language comprehension, woken up by the user saying “Hey Mercedes!” to attract attention for instructions to, for instance, adjust the aircon, send a text message, or find the quickest route through the afternoon crush hours.

Selvin Govender, Mercedes-Benz SA’s marketing director, expanded: “The cars use technology to create an emotional connection between vehicle and driver. In many ways, our devices are extensions of our personalities and we’re now extending this approach to your car.

READ MORE Mercedes features on Carman’s Corner

”You shouldn’t have to adapt to your car, your car should adapt to you. The new A-Class learns your personal preferences an, predicts your needs.”

2018 MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS: Image: Mercedes-Benz
2018 MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS: Image: Mercedes-Benz

The cars will be available in two variants: A200 and A250 Sport (a diesel expected early 2019). The A200 has a 1330cc unit capable of 120kW / 250 Nm with a 7G‑DCT dual-clutch transmission (5.2 litres/100km). The two-litre in the A250 Sport makes 165kW / 350Nm with the same transmission but using slightly more fuel 6.2 litres/100 km.

Suspension systems have been amended to handle the differing power outputs – let your local sales staff explain in detail… but suffice to say that the A250 Sport will live up to its title on a suspension containing the most aluminium of any suspension system in its segment.

2018 MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS: Image: Mercedes-Benz
2018 MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS: Image: Mercedes-Benz
2018 MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS: Image: Mercedes-Benz
2018 MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS: Image: Mercedes-Benz

Overview of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class models and prices:

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