Hey Mercedes! This hi-tech, new A-Class quality, safety and comfort are so impressive
PUBLISHED: 13:31 24 August 2018 | UPDATED: 10:34 04 April 2019
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class really rises to the challenge of being the premium compact car benchmark with big-car quality, technology, comfort and safety. Motor editor Andy Russell enjoys the wow factor.
The UK is the biggest world market for the A-Class – 43,717 were registered here last year, nearly a quarter of total sales – and now an all-new, hi-tech, more grown-up new model is wowing customers at Mercedes-Benz of Norwich.
This fourth-generation hatchback raises the bar in the premium compact class when it comes to safety and comfort and debuts the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) touchscreen interface and ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice recognition.
Chris Swabey, general sales manager at the Barker Street operation, said: “The reaction from the public, who have seen and experienced the new A-Class, has been overwhelmingly positive. Having taken the model to the Royal Norfolk Show, it was great to see people interacting with the new voice assistant and hearing their first impressions of the car.
“With a very strong initial order, taken since launch in June, we feel the new A-Class redefines the equipment and trim levels on an entry-level compact car, ultimately setting a new standard in quality and comfort.”
Looks and image
Beneath the smart, evolutionary exterior is a revolutionary, upmarket interior, borrowing finishing touches from the flagship S-Class and twin seven-inch or optional 10.25in instrument and infotainment screens to create one futuristic panoramic display.
Under the bonnet
The star of the efficient, new engine line-up is the 163hp, 1.3-litre turbo petrol A 200 – other choices are 116hp 1.5-litre turbo diesel A 180d, developed with Renault and Nissan, and 224hp 2.0-litre turbo petrol A 250, all initially automatic transmission but manual will follow.
The A200’s 250Nm of torque is almost as strong as the diesel but peaks lower at 1,620rpm. It revs freely for perky performance, with the seven-speed auto box responding readily to the throttle, yet returned 47mpg over the the test route.
How it drives
The new A-Class is more rewarding to drive and more comfortable – turning into corners crisply with lovely steering feel. Petrol AMG Line models get multi-link rear suspension, rather than torsion beam, for even more entertaining handling.
With either set-up the new A-Class is more of a driver’s car without sacrificing ride comfort.
Space and comfort
Wider and longer, the cabin boasts more shoulder, elbow and headroom and the boot has grown to 370 litres, with a wider opening and versatile 40/20/40 split rear seat backs.
The dashboard’s wow factor includes work-of-art air vents and those high-clarity, colour display screens. The seven-inch units look good, the 10.25in ones, especially optional double screens, superb. The displays are easy to customise via touchpads and home and back buttons on the steering wheel or a central control pad – and you can save your profile.
MBUX with intelligent voice control really is something to shout about. Instead, just say “Hey Mercedes” and what you want – destinations, phone calls, music, weather forecasts, messages or cabin temperature – and your ‘virtual valet’ is at your command.
The latest A-Class is even more desirable whether aspiring to a premium product or down-sizing but still wanting big-car technology.
The Norwich Mercedes-Benz operation, and four others in Bury St Edmunds, King’s Lynn, Peterborough and Cambridge, were sold by Robinsons Motors Group earlier this year to American retailer Group 1 Automotive which trades in the UK as Barons Group. Based in Houston, Texas, it is the third largest dealership in America, with 175 dealerships, 230 franchises and 48 collision centres across the United States, UK and Brazil. It now has 47 UK dealerships.
To find out more about the Mercedes-Benz range of cars visit www.baronsgroup.co.uk/mercedes-benz or contact your local dealership:
Norwich – Barker Street, NR2 4TN. Phone 01603 751000.
Bury St Edmunds – Northern Way, IP32 6NH. Phone 01284 769676.
King’s Lynn – Beveridge Way, PE30 4NB. Phone 01553 777307.