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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - A-class

Mercedes-Benz A-Class facelift surfaces

A for effort: Mercedes-Benz has tweaked its popular A-Class hatch and it looks set to arrive Down Under at the end of the year.

The hot-selling Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatch undergoes a mild mid-life update

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Mercedes-Benz logo29 Jun 2015

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

GERMANY’S new-model onslaught continues with a gently facelifted version of the A-Class breaking cover in readiness for a Frankfurt motor show debut in September, emphasising improvements to ride, performance, efficiency, cabin quality, and multimedia functionality.

Due in Australia in the final quarter of this year, the A176 series five-door hatchback will again be topped by the A45 AMG 4Matic all-wheel drive, which now throws the performance gauntlet down hard with a 15kW/25Nm boost, resulting in class-leading 280kW/475Nm outputs for a 0-100km/h time of a scorching 4.2 seconds, 0.4s off the outgoing version.

Variable adaptive dampers are standard on the A45 AMG and available as an option on most bread-and-butter versions to silence critics that have complained about the outgoing A-Class’ at-times firm ride.

Dubbed Dynamic Select, it mirrors a similar set-up available in rivals such as the Audi A3 by offering four modes – Comfort, Sport, Eco, and Individual – with the latter allowing for specific tailoring of the engine, transmission, suspension, steering and air-conditioning systems affected.

The 4Matic all-wheel drive variants acquire Dynamic Select as standard equipment, although the A45 AMG version ditches Eco for Sport+ for racetrack levels of responses and reactions, according to Mercedes’ blurb.

Visually, the changes are subtle, with the A176 Series II sporting the company’s diamond-cut grille, sharper-looking bumpers, revised tail-light lenses with optional LED inserts, and restyled rear diffuser with integrated exhaust outlets.

Inside, a one-inch larger, 8.0-inch pop-up screen has been fitted to up-spec models, ushering in Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink, allowing for upgraded connectivity and a far greater breadth of usability.

More opulent trim and different coloured materials swathe the cabin’s surfaces, backed up by more contemporary instrumentation markings and galvanised switches. Seat cushion depth has been increased by 60mm for added posterior posterity over longer journeys.

On the all-turbo four-cylinder engine front that covers the entire range, Launch Assist arrives for faster and cleaner off-the-line acceleration a new entry-level A160 model with a 75kW 1.6-litre petrol unit surfaces for some European markets, and an 80kW 1.8-litre turbo-diesel version on the A180d (replacing the old CDI nomenclature) materialises, slashing fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions to a hybrid-shaming 3.5 litres per 100 kilometres and 89 grams per kilometre.

Additionally, the in-demand A250 versions gain manual availability in some markets in lieu of the standard 7G seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, while the 100kW A200 CDI gives way to the 105kW A220d.

The A-Class’ driver-assist technology has also been modified, with the Collision Prevention Assist Plus radar-supported proximity warning and braking assistance gaining Adaptive Brake Assist with autonomous partial braking for reduced rear-end collision risk the standard Attention Assist device that detects drowsiness is now easier to comprehend and the LED High Performance headlights, boast a wider beam and a more natural daylight hue.

As before, all models come with electric power steering, MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link rear suspension set-up.

Expect a facelifted CLA to follow suit shortly brandishing similar changes.

The A-Class trails the segment-leading A3 Sportback on sales with 1754 to the latter’s 1945 sales to the end of May this year. The recently renewed BMW 1 Series and fresh front-drive 2 Series Active Tourer have also made inroads, although supply issues continues to constrain the Mercedes.

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