A lot has been said and written about the new A Class, which was first unveiled in March 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show. So, this was easily one of the most anticipated premium car launches this year. The first impression of the car, is of course it’s design. Attention has been paid to design this car (both interior and exterior) and the result is outstanding. Very easily, Mercedes Benz A Class will become the best looking hatchback in the country, once launched.
Exterior Design and Size: The special black front grille is the first to grab your attention. It features a total of 302 diamond resembling pins, which are placed in a progressive manner, and helps the car to get a arrow-inspired sporty look. This grille features a big three pointed star logo at it’s center. The bi-xenon headlights with ‘Flare Effect’ LED daytime lamps are well fitted in the front.
From the side, A Class has a coupe style curved roof. It also has a side-line which adds to the aggressive look of the car and so does it’s bi-color light alloys. At the rear are a muscular bumper and rear splitter while tail lights come with a surface finish to enhance air flow around the vehicle, due to airflow break away function at the rear. Overall design is sporty and the new A Class has a drag coefficiency of 0.27. The vehicle spells success with its outstanding design.
The new A Class measures 4,292 mm in length, 1,780mm in width and 1,433mm in height. The wheelbase of the vehicle is 2,699 mm. This makes this new car as the biggest hatchback in India, easily beating the existing version of Hyundai i20. Turning radius is at 5.5 meters, while boot space is at 341 liters. In the boot, you will see the spare tyre, which makes it difficult to carry luggage for 4 or five when heading out for a weekend of a long drive.
Interior Design: Even though, the new A Class is the smallest Mercedes Benz car today (and probably the most affordable), do not make the mistake of thinking even once that there is any compromise done in making this car. From the inside, A Class features black interiors, F1 inspired leather sports seats with contrast stitching, classic Mercedes Benz design for the dashboard, panoramic sunroof, ergonomic cockpit, premium quality on the inside, and emotive dashboard design.
For your multimedia and navigations needs, the A Class features a 14.7 cm TFT display with 800×480 resolution. In the stowage compartment, you will find the AUX-in and USB ports. You can also play music via Bluetooth and all the controls are also present on the multi-function steering wheel, which is covered with leather. The car is fitted with six speakers which are placed perfectly to offer pristine listening experience.
The driver seat has electronic controls for adjustment while the passenger front seat has manual controls. The car is spacious from the inside, and can accommodate 5 with decent legroom, though headroom for the rear-window seat passengers is compromised when there are three people sitting on the rear seats.
Speaking about the uncomfortable part, rear seats’ back support is fixed in a rather upright position, which makes you sit tight and with an erect back. This has been done, probably to offer a decent boot space (which otherwise would have been minimized). Under thigh support too is not good, especially for taller passengers. Air conditioning is good with five vents in the front and two in the rear, which makes the cabin cool in no time. Overall, it is impressive and very quiet once you are inside the new A Class.
Engine: For A 180 Sport, you will be offered 1.6L petrol four cylinder engine that generates a maximum power of 122 hp @ 5,000 rpm and 200 Nm torque @ 1,250-4,000 rpm. This power is delivered to rear wheels via 7 Speed DCT automatic gearbox. The other engine option to be offered in India for the A Class A 180 CDI Style is a 2.2L 4 cylinder diesel engine that will offer 109 hp @ 3,200-4,600 rpm and 250 Nm torque @ 1,400-2,800 rpm.
Drive, Performance and Mileage: A 180 Sport seems a bit under-powered and does not do justice to the word Sport that is added with it’s name. Even though it features steering wheel mounted paddle shift, the car does not seem to accelerate at a desired pace (probably, this is due to the exterior design, which makes you expect a lot from the car). Handling through tight spaces is impressive, which is a huge plus if you are planning to buy this car for city driving. Steering the car is a bit on the heavier side, which might prove tiring during long drives.
Claimed figures for 0-100 kmph stand at 9.2 second while top speed is at 202 kmph. During our test drive, the car delivered a mileage of 13 kmpl. The impressive factors behind, include Start/Stop and the low rolling resistance tyres. Speaking about their diesel A Class with BlueEFFICIENCY, Mercedes Benz claims that it will deliver a mileage of 20 kmpl. This means that the car will be able to cover 1,000 kms on a single full tank of fuel. Fuel tank capacity is at 50 liters (including 6 liters reserve).
Safety, Expected Price and Verdict: The A Class is as safe as Mercedes Benz should be. It features ESP, 7 Airbags, ABS and BA, ASR, Attention Assist, hill hold, rear parking camera, adaptive brake lights, acceleration skid control, tyre pressure loss warning system, electric parking brake, and much more. All in all, the new Mercedes Benz A Class is feature loaded. Mercedes Benz says, “The new A Class is a car that wants it all and shuns compromise at any cost.” We expect the car to be priced in the range of Rs 25 lakhs. Is the car worth the price tag? Yes, you are not exactly going for a value for money car.
With A Class, Mercedes Benz is challenging a new segment of buyers, who are are not willing to compromise at any cost. So who is the target audience? According to Mercedes Benz, people who are young at heart, who want to upgrade to luxury, and affluent households who are looking for an additional car is the target audience for their new A Class. We are sure that there are many who would fall in the category of target audience, but what we are not sure of, is how many of them would want to buy the new A Class.