1 Oct 2008
The A-class represented a huge change for Mercedes-Benz – presenting a massive step down in size for the German luxury car-maker as well as an unexpected upright look – but it brought many extra sales and an entirely new demographic to the brand.
The second-generation W169 model introduced to Australia in May 2005 rounded off some of the rough edges and has proven to be even more popular than the original W168, so it is hardly surprising that, when it came to a mid-life facelift, Benz took it easy with the changes.
The A-class facelift is mainly cosmetic, with revised headlights, radiator grilles (different for each model level), front bumper with wider intake, tail-lights, rear bumper, wing mirrors (in body colour), wheels and three new metallic paint finishes.
Inside are some trim variations, the addition of leather steering wheel and gear knob trim, the addition of rear electric windows in the five-door models, Bluetooth connectivity and new audio systems, including iPod integration.
Mercedes upgraded the electronic stability control system to include a hill-holder function that maintains brake pressure until you touch the throttle when you are stopped on a slope so that the car does not roll backwards.
Also new is an active parking assist system called Parktronic, which automatically steers the car into a parallel parking space while the driver operates the throttle and brakes. It is standard on the A200 and A200 Turbo models and on other models comes as part of the Metro pack ($4680) that also includes the CVT transmission and cruise control.
But the big news was the introduction of a diesel model for the first time in the form of the A180 CDI with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder common-rail injected engine with 80kW of power at 4200rpm and 250Nm of torque from 1600-2600rpm.
Priced from $39,900, the new A180 CDI comes only in the five-door body and standard specification includes ESC, ABS with brake assist, eight airbags, a full-size spare wheel, climate control, a split-fold rear seat and a multi-function steering wheel.