New models - Mercedes-Benz - A-class - A200
Driven: Tech-heavy Benz A-Class comes online
Only one version of new Mercedes A-Class for now, but more engines coming soon
10 Aug 2018
By TUNG NGUYEN
MERCEDES-BENZ Australia/Pacific’s (MBAP) all-new A-Class will be offered in just the single A200 version at launch until the premium hatchback range is expanded with an all-paw A250 4Matic before year’s end and an entry-level A180 early next year.
Speaking to GoAuto at the launch of the new A-Class this week, MBAP public relations and product communications manager Jerry Stamoulis said the new A-Class is expected to retain the premium hatchback sales crown, once the full range is made available.
“The outgoing car has shown what it can do in the last six months and when you look at the figures, if you match up A-Class hatch versus the other hatches and not include sedans, it has led the segment for some time,” he said.
“I think once we get into a rhythm where we actually have every model (grade), then I think leading the segment is a high possibility.”
Despite being in runout, the outgoing A-Class reached 2474 sales in the first seven months of the year, down 14.2 per cent over the same period last year, but still enough for second place in the premium small-car segment behind the Audi A3 Sportback and sedan with combined sales of 2552.
Of the engines on offer, the diesel-powered A200d will not carryover to the new-generation model due to slow sales, while Mr Stamoulis said the most popular variant will likely either be the A200 or A250, like before.
“Once the mode mix is available to us in full, 200 and 250, it is hard to say which one (will be the volume seller),” he said.
“The 250 was 60 per cent of our volume at one stage and then 200 overtook it, so it depends on model lifecycle, but both of those models should be the top sellers.”
As the brand’s second-best selling passenger car behind the C-Class sedan and wagon, which has amassed 3526 sales year to date, Mr Stamoulis said the A-Class has a chance of overtaking the mid-sizer given its cheaper price point and market conditions.
“You just can’t predict what that segment that C-Class is in could do, and I don’t think many could have predicted what C-Class has done,” he said.
“(The A-Class will not outsell the C-Class) in the short term, but we have the facelifted C-Class coming out a little bit later this year … I guess it won’t be an apples to apples approach to sales, but over the next couple of years, who knows?”
Details on the rest of the petrol-only A-Class range are yet to be confirmed, while Mercedes is also likely to introduce a plug-in hybrid A250e version down the track, but the AMG-tuned A45 hyper hatch will soldier on in current form until the flagship variant is expected to be replaced in about 2020.
For now, only the $47,200 before on-roads A200 is on offer, powered by a 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine, co-developed by Renault, that sends 120kW of power and 250Nm of torque through the front axle via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Zero to 100km/h is dispatched in 8.0 seconds and official fuel economy figures are pegged at 5.7 litres per 100km, while CO2 emissions are rated at 130 grams per kilometre.
Compared with the outgoing A200’s turbocharged 1.6-litre engine, the new A-Class produces 5kW more power and the same torque figure, but it is 0.4L/100km more frugal and 11g/km less pollutant.
Inside, buyers are treated to sports seats with four-way lumbar support for the driver, nine-speaker sound system, all-digital and customisable instrumentation, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic wipers, Dark Carbon trim, Artico trim, push-button start, black roof liner, five USB Type-C charging ports and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
However, the headline feature in the new A-Class is the inclusion for the first time of the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system splayed across a 10.25-inch touchscreen.
MBUX features include natural language voice control, Bluetooth connectivity, digital radio, wireless smartphone charging, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility and Wi-Fit hot-spotting, as well as an artificial intelligence-powered assistant that can make suggestions on sat-nav destinations and phone contacts after six weeks learning driver behaviour.
Users can also turn off the latter feature and use MBUX in a discreet mode, while inputs include the touchscreen, steering wheel-mounted controls and new touchpad.
Measuring 4419mm long, 1796mm wide, 1440mm tall with a 2729mm wheelbase, the fourth-generation A-Class has grown in every dimension. The boot will now swallow 370 litres – up from 341L – and features a larger opening aperture.
On the outside, 18-inch wheels shod in 225/45 rubber are fitted at all four corners and the dual exhaust pipes are finished with a chrome look.
Standard safety features in the new A-Class includes cruise control, reversing camera, active parking assist, autonomous emergency braking, hill-start assist, nine airbags, driver fatigue monitor, passive blind-spot assist with exit warning, cross wind assist, traffic sign recognition and Mercedes’ Pre-Safe accident anticipatory system.
As standard the A200 will also come with a torsion beam rear suspension set-up, it but can be lowered 15mm with the addition of the AMG Line Sports Package for $1990 that also bundles 18-inch AMG wheels, floor mats and body styling, as well as red contrast stitched interior, sports pedals and brushed aluminium trim.
A multi-link rear with adaptive damping can also optioned in the $3190 AMG Exclusive Package, which also includes 64-colour ambient lighting, cooled front seats and dual-zone climate control with rear vents.
Buyers can also spec up their A200 with equipment such as a surround-view monitor, head-up display, heated front seats and open-pore wood trim littered throughout various other optional packages ranging in price from $790 to $2990.
A limited-production Edition 1 package is also on offer for $7090 that includes unique styling touches inside and out with a choice of five exterior colours – metallic Cosmos Black, Digital White and Mountain Grey, or non-metallic Polar White and Night Black.
Standard paint colours include non-metallic red, white and black with metallic hues an $1190 option.
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