Bechara Aboul-Nasr, 12
face of the A-Class: 2-box, 5-door hatcback (A 180 CDI).
claims that it is "opening up a... new chapter" with the new
generation, it may not mean that this chapter is
only about the move of this model's dimensions into the compact cars
segment. It is a deeper change which covers also the body style, design
and target audience, and even the launch context, if we want to stretch
our memory a bit.
Back in 1997, the launch of the first generation
A-Class got plenty of coverage, but... not the
kind Mercedes-Benz hoped for. If you don't remember the "elk
test" episode, you can read about it in the history
of the A-Class in Wikipedia, although the story has nothing to do with
the 2nd and now the all-new 3rd generation A-Class.
personality in the premium layer of the C-segment.
Anyway, most of what remains from that episode
is that, besides the suspension retuning, all A-Class versions got
standard ESP. Not bad for customers at the time. Sales of that
generation were also sufficient to make the A-Class a familiar face
practically everywhere. Not bad
for the carmaker either.
Today, the all-new A-Class which is having its world
première at the
2012 Geneva Motor Show (8 to 18 March),
before it makes its way to European dealerships this fall, is the
third-generation (W176) of the model, after the first one (W168) served from 1997 to 2004, and the second (W169) which is retiring after eight
years of service.
engines with power ranging from 109 hp to 211 hp.
So, the whole new chapter
Mercedes-Benz is talking about is not a mere marketing argument, since the
new A-Class is not that small MPV we knew in the first and second
generations. Today, the B-Class brother is filling that MPV role, and in
compact rather than small dimensions.
Presented last spring as
Concept at the Auto Shanghai show, the new A-Class is now targeting
its traditional German rivals, the Audi A3 and the BMW
1-Series, not to
speak about others such as the new
Volvo V40, with more direct arguments, as it has metamorphosed
into a dynamic, compact
5-door hatchback with engine power ranging from 80 kW (109 hp, 107 bhp) for
the entry-level diesel, to 155 kW (211
hp, 208 bhp) for the new 2.0-litre petrol (gasoline) version.
ambient lighting in the opening of the front seats.
like the first A-Class got equipped with standard ESP, the standard specification of the all-new
one includes now also the radar-based Collision Prevention Assist
The new A-Class looks clearly dynamic – is it too hard after the MPV shape of the
previous generations ? – with a body that is 4,292mm long (about 40cm
longer than the previous A-Class, which had subcompact, or B-segment
dimensions), 1,780mm wide (about 1cm wider) and
1,433mm high (about 17cm lower).
The new A-Class is also about 7cm shorter, 1cm narrower
and 13cm lower than the B-Class brother, sitting up to 18 centimetres closer to the road than its
So, instead of the previous "monospace" form,
here comes the far more sporty two-box design, targeting a younger
audience, while leaving the MPV sector to brother Bob, for B-Class of
For the same purpose, the new A-Class interior
has its trim surfaces treated with an electroplated finish in "silver
chrome", to give a metallic surface with "cool touch" effect (see the design
addition to other visually dynamic touches in the air vents shape.
integral seats in the front, with a similarly sporty looking rear seat
which can accommodate up to three passengers, or the possible full
integration of new smartphones into the operating and display system, since
a special app makes it possible to use the full functionality of the
iPhone, and later also other smartphones, in the car.
All the aerials are concealed
within the standard roof spoiler which contributes to the aerodynamic Cd value of