Editor: Jason “The Bok” Date – 20 Aug 2018
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class has really developed over time with the latest-generation model focusing on what is a much more modern and contemporary design. The W177 packages sharper looks with technology which is simply segment leading.
I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to drive the A200 prior to its SA media launch around the streets of Cape Town and discover that the new model brings to the table.
The new A-Class grows on the design of its predecessor introducing much sharper and more angular lines. The front-end represents a design we first saw emerging on the new Mercedes-Benz CLS. The front-end features striking LED daytime running lamps with a more pointed and aggressive bumper design.
The body of the new vehicle is both longer and wider, this gives the new A-Class a more grown-up and planted road presence. Around the back of the A, the lines are also much sharper and more striking.
Perhaps, the most significant change to the W177 comes in terms of its interior cabin space and wealth of technological advancements.
The new A-Class introduces a cabin which is more familiar to the likes of the S-Class and more recently the E-Class. Gone is the smaller floating multimedia screen at the centre of the dash and welcomed are the new dual-displays of the instrument cluster and MBUX multimedia AI-based system.
Using the MBUX system is much like using Siri on the iPhone and Google Voice on Android-based devices. The system uses clever AI to interpret your user commands and as if there is a concierge hidden within the dashboard that will perform an array of tasks. Simply saying the words “Hi Mercedes,” the system is awakened and can operate everything from the electric roller sun-shade to navigating to a new address, reading out the weather report or even finding you some new music to listen to.
Two smaller 7-inch display’s come as standard, with the option to upgrade your A-Class to have two larger displays, which feels very much more like being in the A-Classes larger siblings. The new A-Class is also now also be offered with seat massagers, air-suspension and many other toys previously never imagined within the segment of vehicle.
From launch in South Africa, the A-Class is offered with two petrol-driven engine variants namely, the A200 and A250. I spent time driving the A200 which is powered by a 1.33-litre turbocharged petrol motor and which delivers 120 kW and 250 Nm of torque. All power is mated to a very smooth shifting 7G-Tronic automated transmission. The previous generation A200 featured the older generation 1.4-litre turbopetrol motor.
The wider, longer and more planted chassis of the new model allows it to iron out bumps in the road and feel more planted than that of its predecessor.
The new engine technology offered in the A200 also allows for greater efficiency, thanks to a clever engine cylinder shutoff system which uses only the amount of engine cylinders when and where they are required. In terms of consumption, the A200 is claimed to consume 5.2 – 5.6 L/100 km, while the A250 is claimed to use between 6.2 and 6.5 L/100 km.
The increase in overall body size has positively impacted the overall cabin space of the new A-Class, it has also improved the boot space which is now up by an impressive 29-litres of luggage load capacity. Cleverly designed rear seats, help make dropping the rear-backrests very easy and help make the new A-Class more practical than ever.
Verdict & SA Pricing
Since its inception, the A-Class has improved with every generation offering more in the way of sharper lines and improved technology. Gone is the old MPV style of the first and second generations and here is now the much more contemporary and upmarket face that is very much in keeping with the Mercedes-Benz modern design ethos. The A-Class maybe the entry point to the famous three-pointed star of Mercedes-Benz, but it certainly does not feel that way!
Mercedes-Benz A200 – Base R499,000
Mercedes-Benz A250 – Base R593,300