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June 28, 2012

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The new A-Class represents a milestone for Mercedes-Benz

Stuttgart - With the new A-Class, Mercedes-Benz is opening up a new chapter in the compact segment: markedly emotive in design, with powerful engines ranging from 80 kW (109 hp) to 155 kW (211 hp), extremely efficient with emissions from just 98 g of CO2/km and a best-in-class drag coefficient of 0.27. At the same time the new model underlines that for Mercedes-Benz, safety is not a question of price – the standard specification includes, amongst other things, the radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST system. Prices in Germany start at €23,978.50 (incl. 19% VAT) for the A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY.

"Mercedes-Benz is becoming the most dynamic premium brand in the world. As part of this development, the A-Class represents an important milestone. The A-Class is completely new, down to the last detail. In automotive development, it's not often you get the chance to start with a clean sheet of paper. Our engineers have made the very most of that opportunity", explains Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars.

 

Standing as much as 160 millimetres lower on the road than the preceding model, the new A-Class communicates design and dynamism at the very first glance. This radical form language, presented and enthusiastically acclaimed around the world with the Concept A-CLASS, was consistently implemented in the series production car. The appearance of the new A-Class reflects this new Mercedes-Benz design strategy. The result is what is known as a two-box design with a distinct character of its own, a sportily emotive exterior and an exceptionally high-quality feel to the interior.

The interior of the A-Class represents a big step forward in terms of quality – both in the materials used and in the consistency of the design. Both objectives have been achieved with the help of a specific design idiom and through the various combination options possible with the high-quality materials selected. All trim elements have been given an electroplated finish, resulting in real metal surfaces with "cool touch" effect. The work has been executed with considerable care and attention to detail, so that they appear to have been moulded in one piece.

 

The fact that the new A-Class is a sporty hatchback model with a low centre of gravity is reflected in its dimensions: measuring 4292 x 1780 x 1433 mm (length x width x height), it hugs the road. Compared with its predecessor, which followed a different design, the height has been reduced by 160 millimetres.

The A-Class is a five-seater model. The rears seats provide room for three passengers, despite looking like two individual seats with their sporty design. The boot volume is 341 litres, based on the VDA standard. If the rear seat backrests are folded down, its capacity jumps to 1157 litres. In all models the seat backrests feature a 60:40 split can be folded forward individually. The width of the luggage compartment between the wheel housings is 1050 mm.

A wide choice of petrol and diesel engines meets every power requirement and reaches new heights in terms of efficiency and environmental compatibility: the A 180 CDI will be the very first Mercedes-Benz to emit only 98 g of CO2 per kilometre. Moreover, the A 220 CDI (available from December 2012) already meets the Euro 6 emission standard which only comes into force in 2015. All engines of the new A-Class feature the ECO start/stop function as standard. The engines can be combined with the new six-speed manual transmission or optionally with the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission, which ideally combines comfort and sportiness. Fuel consumption down by up to 35 percent compared to comparable preceding models, accompanied by a considerable power increase: these are the salient features of the engine range for the new A-Class.

"The new four-cylinder models from Mercedes-Benz occupy a leading position by virtue of their performance, high efficiency and very low emissions. They impress with their smooth, superior power delivery and offer customers refinement at the highest level," says Professor Dr Thomas Weber, Daimler Board Member responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

Refined sportiness means maximum agility combined with the sense of safety, unspoilt driving stability and high levels of ride comfort which are all typical of the brand. The suspension of the new A-Class has a four-link rear axle, electromechanical power steering with assistance functions and ESP® with "Extended Traction Control" (XTC). During development, the suspension experts made intensive use of simulations and the driving simulators at the Mercedes development centre in Sindelfingen as part of the so-called digital ride and handling test.

The preconditions for achieving dynamic handling are excellent in the A-Class. This is because compared with its predecessor the centre of gravity (24 mm lower) and seating position (174 mm lower) has been reduced significantly. A new feature is the four-link rear axle: forces are absorbed by three control arms and one trailing arm per wheel. This means that longitudinal and lateral dynamics are virtually independent of one another. Wheel carriers and spring links are made of aluminium to reduce the unsprung masses. The goal was to achieve high lateral agility with high driving stability thanks to small sideslip angle on the rear axle.

Three chassis and suspension set-ups are available: the comfort suspension and optional sports suspension for sporty yet comfortable handling (in conjunction with the Dynamic Handling package or the AMG Sport equipment line). In addition, the A 250 Sport has a sporty, "engineered by AMG" high-performance suspension. Altogether this results in low dynamic rolling behaviour and low start-off pitch angle. Furthermore, the vehicle also has a reduced tendency to understeer in the higher lateral acceleration range: the driver is therefore able to control changes in direction with low steering input but high steering precision. When accelerating out of bends taken at speed, the tendency to understeer is reduced even further by "Extended Traction Control" (XTC): with this function, ESP®provides support in the form of directional stability by generating a yaw moment on the front and rear wheels located on the inside of the bend.

Photos: MB

(June 27, 2012)


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