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The fourth-generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class sets new standards in the compact premium segment, combining the luxury, technology and comfort of luxury-class saloons in a compact yet desirable package. First test with the A 200 turbo four-cylinder.
The new generation of the MFA module platform – more flexible and lighter – has more dynamic proportions, even if it has grown meaningfully in all important directions: 12 cm longer (4,42 m), 1,8 cm wider (1,80 m) and 1 cm higher (1.44 m) with a wheelbase of 2.73 m (plus 3 cm).
The design is reminiscent of the classic elegance of Mercedes-Benz and emphasizes clearer, more natural lines. Thin, trapezoidal front and rear light units are reminiscent of the four-door CLS Coupé and give the new A-Class a sporty look. Another unique detail: in comparison to the previous generation, the exterior mirrors are mounted directly on the doors.
Mercedes-Benz also says that the new Class A is up to 20 kg lighter than the old model – recommended in view of the abundance of new safety systems that come directly from the luxury class: Active Distance Assistant, Distronic with Active Steering Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Traffic Assistant, Active Lane Change Assist (active between 60 and 200 km / h).
To start Mercedes-Benz offers only an entry-level variant of the type A 180 d (1.6 liters, 116 hp) and two turbo engines with gasoline engine: A 250 (2 liters, 224 hp) and A 200 (1.33 liters, 163) hp ) – Subject of this test. In terms of transmissions, Mercedes simplifies the choice, as all models are exclusively available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission – from Getrag for A 180 d and A 200 and 100% Mercedes-Benz for A 250. The gasoline base model A 180 ( 1.33 liters, 115 hp) will be launched at the end of the year, while the new 2-liter diesel from Mercedes in early 2019 will appear under the hood of the A 200 d (150 hp). and A 220 d (190 hp) variants.
More interesting, however, is that the new A-Class is the first compact Mercedes model offered with a Torsionslenker rear suspension – a common solution for affordable tailgates, but the space and cost reasons for a vehicle with Benz Logo so far unequaled. Mercedes-Benz says it is not economical, but the new setup is 8 kg lighter and more compact, without compromising comfort. Of course, the A-Class is also available with a four-link Multilink rear axle. However, this is only for the four-wheel drive versions A 250 and 4Matic standard. Fortunately, you can also buy an A 200 with the more sophisticated rear suspension. The secret lies in the specification of some options in the long list of features for the new Class A: the AMG Line package (3,415 euros) and the 18 or 19-inch alloy wheels or AMG Ride Control Adaptive Suspension (€ 1,178), also available in the test car ,
Particular attention was paid to the interior design. The quality you perceive is simply fantastic and the design and ambience inspired by the E-Class and the S far exceed what its best rivals offer. There are new vents that mimic the shape of turbines, the same steering wheel as in the S-Class and ambient lighting with LED technology – including the 64-color air vents, three different areas and different levels of intensity. However, attention is inevitably focused on the two TFT displays (one for virtual instruments – three display modes: Classic, Sport, Understated), the other for the control panel – 7-inch standard, optional hard drive navigation with two 10.25- Inch screens) housed in the same frame.
The MBUX multimedia system, which is controlled by pressing a button, voice commands, the touchpad on the steering wheel or the central control, is completely new. The operating concept and ultramodern interface are the result of collaboration between research and development at Mercedes-Benz Centers in Sindelfingen and Silicon Valley, which is the center of the world where the logic of using smartphones and tablets continues to shape our digital lives. The new A-Class A brings the concept of infotainment in the compact class to an unprecedented level. The graphics are superb and once the placement process is complete, the functionality is truly intuitive. The MBUX is modern, powerful, upgraded and equipped with artificial intelligence (voice command: Hey Mercedes) – the more you speak to him, the more he will learn to understand.
And the place is clearly superior to the previous generation, especially in the back, where the seat has a long cushion, the back is well formed and the space for the shoulders and the head has been increased by 2 and 4 cm. The driving position is ideal, with rich steering wheel and seat adjustments, while the trunk with 30 liters is more generous than the old model. The total load is 305 liters.
The 163 hp and 250 Nm turbocharged L4 turbocharged engine that powers the A 200 was supplied by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, but recalibrated by Mercedes-Benz to its refinement standards. This is a technological gem that features vitality and remarkable elasticity for a small cylinder engine. The temptation to choose the Sport setting to further sharpen the "feelings" of the engine, steering and ESP system becomes addictive (the adaptive suspension can be adjusted in two ways: sport and comfort). However, you will also notice some shortcomings with the dual-clutch transmission. Otherwise manoeuvrable and efficient, under hard pressure it suddenly becomes hesitant about the ideal gear management and exaggerates the noise of the engine, highlighting the limitations of a small turbo that ultimately only has 1,332 cc. And that's why it uses very little (especially in Eco mode) and can only work on two of the four cylinders at low speeds. It is to be welcomed that the driver does not feel the moment when the cylinders are automatically deactivated or coupled. The recorded average did not exceed 7.25 l / 100 km, with 7.87 l / 100 km in the city and 6.33 l / 100 km outside the city.
Comfort is also great on the roads, which are dominated by unpleasant potholes, and the damping is supple and precise, even with generous 18-inch wheels, as well as the insulation of the passenger compartment from unpleasant bumps or noises. Also, in terms of maneuverability, the new A-Class does not disappoint, provided you want a refined yet agile car as the corners get tighter and tighter.
The traction and brakes are impeccable, the precision of the steering with progressive electrical assistance is just as good. The understeer is significantly reduced, above all, the recurring incisiveness of the new A-Class is undoubtedly the welcome consequence of the low mass, which is influenced by the use of a small turbo. The smallest Mercedes-Benz is also an exceptionally quiet car with no rivals in this chapter, like its bigger brothers in their respective segments. The Benz tradition is strictly respected regardless of class, price and size. The best or nothing!
Mercedes-Benz achieves the impossible and offers what we did not consider possible in the compact class: a small S-Class. The new A-Class is the most technically advanced, quiet, comfortable, luxurious and sophisticated car in the segment.
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SOURCES: CARSCOOPS BMWBLOG MOTORAUTHORITY
CLASSICCARS MOTOR1 JALOPNIK FOURTITUDE INSIDEEVS
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