Coming to America: Mercedes-Benz Unveils the New A-Class

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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 Traditional instrumentation has been replaced by a pair of digital panels — 7 inches for the base trim and 10.25 inches for the more expensive models.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.

[Images: Mercedes-Benz]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • 30-mile fetch 30-mile fetch on Feb 03, 2018

    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?

    • Syke Syke on Feb 03, 2018

      Probably because Mercedes-Benz has caught BMW Disease: The conviction that they absolutely must have a potential car for every car buyer in the market. Since the CLA went above $30,000.00, they feel they have to have an offering under that price point. And two years further down the road, when the A-class goes over the $30k price point, they'll bring out something again, smaller and cheaper. We're slowly discovering what Europeans have always known about M-B. They aren't just a manufacturer of luxury cars. But to the American public, they're desperately trying to make (and price) every car they make as an entry-level luxury car. Even if it doesn't come anywhere close to that description.

  • JD-Shifty JD-Shifty on Feb 03, 2018

    You're just paying to be a blowhard with a Mercedes badge.

  • 28-Cars-Later I see velour and pleather seats are back in style.
  • 28-Cars-Later Please come buy one of the two things we sell which don't suck.
  • 28-Cars-Later Ahahahahaha.
  • Carrera I live in Florida and owned summer tires once before on a Corolla. Yes I know, it's a Corolla but it drove much better ( to me) with those on. I would have bought them again but replacement time came during the beginning of the " transitory inflation" and by then, I found all seasons that were much cheaper. Currently I own a slightly more performance oriented Acura TLX -AWD and when the OEM all season Michelin wear out, I will replace them with summer Michelins. Often times, a car comes alive with summer tires but I understand why people don't buy them above South Carolina. I lived in Canada for 5 years and just thinking about swapping twice per year made me anxious.
  • Steve Biro I don’t bother with dedicated summer or winter tires. I have no place to store them. But the newest all-weather tires (with the three-peak mountain symbol) are remarkably good year-round. The best of them offer 90 percent of the performance of winter tires and still fall mid-pack among summer ultra-high performance tires. That’s more than enough for my location in New Jersey.
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