Coming to America: Mercedes-Benz Unveils the New A-Class
Mercedes-Benz took the covers off the fourth generation of its A-Class in Amsterdam today. While the smallest vehicle in the luxury manufacturer’s lineup isn’t subject to the same kind of fanfare as a new S-Class, it’s a big deal to us, as it will be the first one sold in North America.
Unfortunately, the unveiling was more of an extended teaser. While MB was happy to provide the press with a laundry list of features and options, technical specifications won’t be announced until March. We also won’t be getting the hatchback; that’s relegated for European duty. Instead, American customers will enjoy the sedan variant — which is in the final stages of development.
Thankfully, we do know what kind of hardware it will be working with, and can see from the five-door that it should closely resemble the Concept A Sedan everyone was buzzing about last year.
The overall shape is close to the prototype and holds onto a number of elements from the outgoing A-Class. The end result, at least for the hatchback, is a vehicle that looks to be the runty offspring of a Volkswagen Golf and Buick Enclave. As it turns out, that’s not a bad thing. The A-Class isn’t a bad looking car, but we’re expecting the sedan variant to adhere even more closely to the concept vehicle.
Engine offerings include a 1.4 or 2.0-liter gas-burning inline-four or a 1.5-liter diesel (which likely won’t hit American shores). The 1.4-liter should be good for at least 160 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque while the 2.0-liter should be in the neighborhood of 220 hp and 255 lb-ft. That should place the motors on par with the outgoing model’s specs once auxiliary parts knock off a few ponies.
Higher-trim and 4Matic models will use a multi-link rear suspension, while the base A-Class has a torsion beam setup. The standard tranny is a seven-speed dual clutch automatic. While the 2.0-liter is said to be available with a manual gearbox, there is no promise of that making its way westward.
What should stick around for when the car eventually comes to America, is the interior. Mercedes claims to have taken great care in terms of updating the cabin, and it does appears lavish for an entry-level premium model. Traditional instrumentation has been replaced by a pair of digital panels — 7 inches for the base trim and 10.25 inches for the more expensive models.
Options include an “augmented reality” navigational system that coincides with the front parking camera, intelligent voice control that lets you talk to you Benz like a smartphone, and a 64-color ambient lighting setup that extends all the way to the air vents. Active Lane Assist and Brake Assist are both fitted as standard on the A-Class. Mercedes also saw fit to add Pre-Safe Plus, which preps the car in the event of being rear-ended, and Active Emergency Stop Assist, which gradually slows the car in the event that a driver dozes off while using the vehicle’s other driving aids.
Riding on Mercedes-Benz’s new MFA2 front-wheel drive architecture, which will also underpin new editions of the GLA and CLA, the officially official debut of the A-Class will happen in Geneva on March 5th. By then, we should have some details on the sedan, its pricing, and some concrete specs.
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- Matthew When someone slows down for seemingly no reason at all...and then turns on their blinker and makes a painfully slow turn. It frequently makes me chew them out in Spanish. Spanish just sounds angrier than English.
Frankly, it looks a lot better than the CLA although a lot of that has to do with the hatchback body form that gives the impression of a premium Golf competitor. A sedan is probably going to look awkward. I wonder who the first post-lease owner to pay for a failed dash display will be and how much that will cost. Two 10.25 inch displays on the same extended screen. And why again is this being introduced when they already have a CLA?
You're just paying to be a blowhard with a Mercedes badge.