While it may not look it on first glance, this is the all-new Mercedes A-Class. Taking the ever-popular ‘evolution over revolution’ styling approach, the overall shape of the newest version of the baby Merc hasn’t changed much, but look closely, and the details are there.
We have slimmer, neater light clusters at the back, plus a higher waistline. The front borrows quite heavily from the new CLS, and the wheelbase is 30mm longer.
It’s wider too, and as such, it’s bigger inside - shoulder, elbow and headroom has all increased, while ingress and egress through the rear doors is apparently easier. The 370 litre boot is 29 litres larger than before, and Mercedes has even thought to reduce the ‘pillar claddings’ to improve visibility.
Overall, the changes to the cabin are rather more obvious than the exterior tweaks. As revealed by Mercedes previously, the new A-Class won’t have a traditional instrument binnacle. It’s been replaced by a pair of 10.25-inch screens housed in a single glass panel, or, if you go for a lower-spec model, two 7.0-inch displays.
There are touch control control buttons on the steering wheel, an optional augmented reality function in the navigation that works together with the front parking camera, and even an optional ‘intelligent voice control’ that’s activated by saying “Hey Mercedes,” which definitely isn’t inspired by the whole “Hey Google” thing. Definitely.
The finishing touch to the interior is a 64-colour ambient lighting system (again, that’s an option), which includes light-up air vents.
We’re still not done talking about tech, as the A-Class is stuffed full of it. In addition to all of the above, the new A also has a semi-autonomous function, a ‘Pre-Safe Plus’ system that detects and minimises the impact of rear-end shunts, and ‘Active Emergency Stop Assist’.
On the engine front, the range kicks off with an adorable 1.4-litre inline-four in the A200, good for 161bhp and 184lb ft of torque. A 1.5-litre A180d oil burner produces 114bhp and 192lb ft, while 2.0-litre petrol-powered A250 will sit at the top of the tree (until a 400bhp+ AMG model arrives, that is) with 221bhp and 258lb ft on offer. The latter will do 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds, on to a top speed of 155mph. The A200 is the only one available with a manual transmission - everything else will be fitted with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox only.
The A250 and all 4Matic models have multi-link rear suspension, with all others making do with a torsion beam/trailing arm arrangement. The four-wheel drive system has been updated too, with the rear differential’s integrated multiplate clutch now electro-mechanically actuated, instead of electro-hydraulically. The reason why is so complicated, it’s probably best we just say it’s cleverer therefore better for now.
The new A-Class will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, going on sale at some point during the same month.