Make / Model Search

New models - Mercedes-Benz - A-class

First drive: Benz's bigger, better new A-class

Volume-seller: Benz expects the mid-range A170 to comprise half of all new A-class sales.

Mercedes-Benz launches a bigger, funkier new A-class hatch Down Under

6 May 2005

MERCEDES-BENZ likes to think of its A-class model as a sort of automotive version of Olympic high jumper Dick Fosbury’s then controversial but now mainstream "Fosbury Flop", which took him to the heights of athleticism when he cleaned up the field at the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games.

The A-class might have challenged perceptions of how people thought a small car should look when it was introduced in October 1997, but the once-awkward dimensions have become almost commonplace now, with more than one million mini-Benzes sold since the launch eight years ago.

The new A-class, as you’d expect, has grown in all directions, answering criticisms from customers and would-be buyers.

It is 232mm lower and 45mm wider than the original short-wheelbase version, creating a massive increase in interior space while also changing the base proportions to make it a less awkward-looking car.

The A-class is not just a five-door compact hatch anymore either there’s now a base, three-door hatch that allows Mercedes to sneak in at just below $30,000 at entry-level.

The new A-class comes with the choice of three alloy four-cylinder engines, all essentially a basic, eight-valve design with a single overhead camshaft.

There’s the base 1.5-litre version producing 70kW and 140Nm, the 1.7-litre 85kW version with 155Nm, a 100kW 2.0-litre version with 185Nm and, later this year, the more adventurous 2.0-litre turbo version that produces 142kW and 280Nm.

Significantly, the new A-class offers the choice of five and six-speed manual transmissions – the latter only available with the turbo – plus a new CVT transmission available with all engine variants.

4 center image The A-class incorporates the safety engineering that it pioneered in the first version, including the "sandwich" type floor construction that both controls the deflection of the engine in a front-on collision away from and underneath the passenger compartment, and absorbs heavy impacts in a side collision.

The new A-class has been tested satisfactorily against an S-class Mercedes in crash-lab tests.

Mercedes research as shown A-class buyers favour extra space and comfort over the very basic proportions of the original model, so the designers have extended the car in two important directions – length and width - to make it more acceptable.

The wheelbase has gone up by 232mm which, coupled with the increase in body length, has resulted in 30mm more legroom. Headroom has also increased, by 51mm.

Mercedes-Benz says the proportion of female buyers in Australia is slightly higher than the general global average, up from 40 per cent of sales to 46 per cent locally.

The bulk of A-class sales are expected to comprise about 50 per cent A170 five-door models, with the more powerful 2.0-litre version accounting for around 40 per cent.

The entry-level A150 three-door will make up about 10 per cent of A-class sales. When the new car gets rolling with full deliveries, the company expects to sell around 1500 A-class annually - 50 per cent more buyers than the previous model attracted.

GoAuto can help you buy a new A-class

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Mercedes-Benz models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here