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Diesel for A-class

A-class distilled: A180 CDI is on its way here.

Mercedes-Benz's most efficient model, the A180 CDI, is just two months away

2 Jul 2008

MERCEDES-BENZ Australia is about to introduce its most efficient car. The new A180 diesel will use just 5.5 litres of fuel for every 100km when it is introduced this September.

Mercedes had been unable to bring the oil-burning baby to Australia previously because of a design rule compliance issue related to ground clearance which has since been sorted out.

The company says it is looking forward to having the more miserly A-class join the line-up and expects it to sell strongly.

“We pushed really hard to get the diesel A-class,” said Mercedes-Benz Australia communications manager David McCarthy.

“We believe there is a real market for that car.” The numbers certainly suggest there will be enough people keen to lay their money down, with 40 per cent of all B-class models being fitted with diesel engines.

While the car will be called the A180, the number doesn’t refer to the engine size. It is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder common-rail turbodiesel with 80kW of power and 250Nm of torque.

In the slightly larger B-class, the 180 engine uses just 5.8 litres of diesel per 100km, but that figure drops by 0.3 litres in the A-class. The base transmission for the new A-class diesel is a six-speed manual, while a continuously variable automatic (CVT) will also be available as an option.

4 center imageMercedes-Benz will bring the A180 diesel to Australia as a fi ve-door model only, but will consider introducing a three-door if there is enough demand.

The current Australian A-class range consists of the 1.7-litre petrol A170 and 2.0-litre petrol A200, which are both available in either three or fi ve-door bodystyles.

The A200 Turbo is only available as a three-door. Pricing for the A180 diesel is expected to be confi rmed in the next few weeks, but it is expected to slot in between the A170 five-door at $37,200 and the A200 five-door at $47,300.

The diesel A-class arrives as the whole A-class range gets a facelift, which will be limited to cosmetic alterations inside and out as well as a slight change in specification.

Mercedes is expecting the arrival of its new mini-diesel to boost A-Class sales, which are currently lagging behind the larger B-class. Last year, Mercedes sold 1088 A-class cars compared 1783 B-class models.

VFACTS figures showed that at the end of May, sales for the A-class stood at 304, compared to 475 for the B-class. While the A180 diesel is the most economical A-class currently available, a new electric model is reportedly in development.

Daimler AG board member Thomas Weber told Germany’s Wirtschafts-Woche that the company was working on electric versions of both the A-class and B-class.

He told the medial outlet that such vehicles could be required for large cities that may ban emissions-heavy vehicles. Mercedes also recently announced it is working on two new separate small economical cars that would be different to the A-class and B-class models.

It said it would invest $1.3 billion in a new small car plant in Kecskemet, Hungary, where it will put on 2500 workers.

The company announced it would give its existing small car plant in Rasatt, Germany, a $980 million upgrade to help with the “expansion of its product portfolio.” Daimler chairman and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Dieter Zetsche, said the new models would win additional target groups for his company.

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