The family of compact cars from Mercedes-Benz continues to grow: the A-Class Saloon was launched at the end of 2018. The four-door saloon car has a wheelbase of 2729 millimetres and the proportions of a dynamic and compact saloon car with short overhangs at the front and rear. It is at the top of its segment with regard to rear headroom. In addition, the saloon model has the familiar A-Class virtues. These include modern, efficient engines, the high level of safety thanks to state-of-the-art driving assistance systems with S-Class functions, and the intuitive and intelligent MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience infotainment system. With a Cd value of 0.22 and a frontal area of 2.19 m², the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon has the lowest aerodynamic drag of all production vehicles worldwide and thereby defends the world record of the CLA Coupé.
The new A-Class Saloon will be built in Aguascalientes, Mexico, and Rastatt, Germany, and was developed in Sindelfingen, Germany. The new model was presented to the general public for the first time at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. Mercedes-Benz presented the A-Class L Saloon at the 2018 Auto China in Beijing. This saloon model was developed exclusively as a long-wheelbase version for the Chinese market and is also produced there exclusively.
“Following the successful start of the A-Class, things at Mercedes-Benz are happening in quick succession with regard to the new family of compacts. In response to the wish of many customers, we now offer the A-Class for the fist time also as a saloon car”, says Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing and Sales. “Anyone looking for a compact, sporty saloon with a separate boot now has a new attractive alternative. It will enable us to win new customers for Mercedes-Benz”.
The new generation of compacts has made a key contribution to the rejuvenation and image change of the Mercedes-Benz brand. The launch of the four-door CLA Coupé in the USA in 2013 was the first time a compact car from Mercedes-Benz was sold in the American market. In 2017, nearly one in two buyers of a compact car from Mercedes-Benz in the USA had previously driven a competitor vehicle, and more than 50 percent of CLA customers were new at Mercedes (first-time buyers and conquests).
The A-Class established today’s compact car segment of Mercedes-Benz in 1997 and since then more than six million models have been delivered worldwide. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon as the seventh model further expands the range of compact cars from Mercedes-Benz. A logical addition, because with the C, E and S-Class, Mercedes-Benz has more premium saloon competence than most other manufacturers.
The A-Class Saloon offers great utility. That includes above-average shoulder, elbow and headroom plus the easy access to the rear. It is at the top of its segment with regard to rear headroom (944 mm). The boot holds 420 litres and was designed for practical usability. The boot opening is very large with a width of 950 mm and a diagonal of 462 mm between lock and lower edge of the rear window. This allows comfortable loading and unloading of larger luggage items.
The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon takes advantage of the favourable conditions provided by its long rear end to undercut even the already exemplary A-Class with hatchback (Cd value from 0.25). With a benchmark of Cd = 0.22 the new saloon model equals the original world record of the CLA Coupé. Thanks to the frontal area of 2,19 m², smaller than that of the CLA, the new A-Class Saloon has the lowest aerodynamic drag of all production vehicles worldwide.
The good aerodynamic properties are a crucial factor in the low fuel consumption in real-life conditions. A host of details was optimised with numerous computation loops, CAE simulations (computer-aided engineering) and measurements in the wind tunnel in Sindelfingen. The measures also include an extensive sealing concept (with sealing of the headlamp surroundings et al.) as well as the nearly complete panelling of the underbody, which comprises the engine bay, the main floorpan, parts of the rear axle, the diffuser and other components. The front and rear wheel spoilers were optimised specifically to route the air around the wheels as efficiently as possible. The rims and tyres also underwent aerodynamic fine-tuning. Depending on the market, an optional two-part shutter system behind the radiator grille is available, which minimises the airflow through the engine bay.
Engines: start with one diesel and one petrol engine each
The following engines are available from launch:
- A 200 (120 kW/163 hp, 250 Nm); with 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission
- A 180 d (85 kW/116 hp, 260 Nm); with 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission
Equipment & appointments: KEYLESS-GO with HANDS-FREE ACCESS available
The entry-level model is already extensively equipped. Standard features include the MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience infotainment system with touchscreen, and driving assistance systems of the latest generation such as Active Brake Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist. In addition, the A-Class Saloon can be customised with the design and equipment lines Style, Progressive and AMG Line, the Night Package as well as further optional equipment.
The KEYLESS-GO Convenience Package with HANDS-FREE ACCESS is one of the available options, for example. The HANDS-FREE ACCESS convenience function enables hands-free and fully automatic opening of the boot lid with a kicking motion of the foot under the rear bumper.
Design: superior sportiness and modernity
With its puristic design emphasising surfaces, the A-Class Saloon is hot and cool at the same time, and thereby is a seamless fit with the design idiom of Sensual Purity. This includes the clear formal shapes emphasising surface areas with reduced lines and precise gaps. The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon has the proportions of a dynamic and compact saloon car with short front and rear overhangs.
The greenhouse which sits far back and the compact rear end lend the vehicle a formal dynamic boost. Thanks to the 16 to 19-inch wheels and the pronounced wheel arches, the A-Class Saloon has a sporty stance on the road.
The front end design looks very progressive. Contributing to this impression are the low, elongated bonnet, the slimline headlamps with chrome element, the torch-like daytime driving lights – plus the single-louvre diamond radiator grille with chrome pins (optional), and the central star.
The muscular and sensual vehicle shoulder with a precise character line running below it emphasises the perfectly contoured side volume. The side mirrors sit on the beltline.
The two-part tail lamps underscore the clear rear end that emphasises width. The rear reflectors were relocated to the modular two-part rear bumper. Depending on the selected equipment, this rear bumper is available with a black diffuser or with chrome trim strip and chrome tailpipe tips.
Interior design: revolution from within
The interior of the new A-Class is completely redefined with its modern, avant-garde look. Mercedes-Benz has taken a completely new approach, revolutionising the compact class from the inside with a new feeling of spaciousness. The unique interior architecture is shaped in particular by the avant-garde design of the dashboard: The designers completely dispensed with a cowl above the cockpit. As a result, the wing-shaped main body of the dashboard extends from one front door to the other with no visual discontinuity. The Widescreen display (optional) is completely free-standing. The air vents in a sporty turbine look are another highlight.
Below this main body is a low-lying section, the so-called wing. The wing appears to float, as there are no connections or shape transitions to the surrounding area. The ambient lighting enhances this effect, accentuating the free-floating impression of the substructure. The 64 colours of the optional ambient lighting make five times as many colours available than before. And it is not just the variety that has increased, as the emotive presentation also sets standards in this segment: the different colours are composed into ten colour worlds to allow an avant-garde lighting display with spectacular colour changes.
The fully free-standing cockpit is available in three versions:
- with two 7-inch displays (17.78 cm),
- with one 7-inch and one 10.25-inch (26 cm) display and
- with two 10.25-inch displays.
MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience: unrivalled experience
The new A-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz model to feature the completely new MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience multimedia system, which also ushers in a new era for Mercedes me connectivity at the same time. As a result, it also comes standard in the Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon. A unique feature of this system is its ability to learn thanks to artificial intelligence. MBUX is customisable and adapts to the user. It thus creates an emotional connection between vehicle, driver and passengers.
Its further strengths include, depending on the specification, the high-resolution Widescreen Cockpit with touchscreen operation of the media display, the navigation display with augmented reality technology plus intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition, which is activated with the keyword “Hey Mercedes”. A head-up display is also available. The touchscreen is part of the comprehensive MBUX touch-control concept – a triad consisting of the touchscreen, touchpad on the centre console (optional) and touch control buttons on the steering wheel.
MBUX is a revolution of the user experience in the car. Emotively appealing showcasing features underline the comprehensibility of the control structure and thrill through brilliant 3-D maximum-resolution graphics which are rendered, i.e. calculated and displayed, in real time.
New and improved Mercedes me connect services are being launched with the new infotainment generation MBUX. These include the navigation functions based on Car-to-X Communication (information from vehicle to vehicle on events recorded by sensors, e.g. emergency braking, ESP® intervention, or a manual system message from the driver, e.g. about an accident) and Vehicle Tracking, which makes it easier to find the parked car, as well as a message if the parked car has been bumped or towed away.
The Mercedes me app collection can be placed as an icon on the screen in a user-friendly way and can be freely sorted on the homepage like all other main applications. In addition, online content such as current filling station prices or the availability of parking spaces in the multi-storey car park are displayed in MBUX as an option. Online updating is a simple way of allowing new content to be made available in MBUX.
Intelligent Drive: functions from the S-Class
The A-Class has the very latest driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support, and thus provides the highest level of active safety in this segment with functions adopted from the S Class. For the first time, the A-Class is able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations. To do this, it keeps a close eye on the traffic situation: improved camera and radar systems allow it to see up to 500 metres ahead. The A-Class also uses map and navigation data for assistance functions. For example, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC as part of the Driving Assistance Package is able to provide route-based support to the driver in numerous situations, and to predictively and conveniently adjust the speed, e.g. when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts. Also on board are e.g. Active Emergency Stop Assist and intuitively understandable Active Lane Change Assist.
The new A-Class comes with expanded Active Brake Assist as standard. Depending on the situation, it can effectively help to mitigate the consequences of rear-end collisions with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles ahead, and even with crossing pedestrians and cyclists, or prevent them altogether.
Active Lane Keeping Assist (likewise standard) is able to warn the driver by means of pulsed vibrations in the steering wheel when the vehicle is unintentionally drifting out of its lane at speeds between 60 and 200 km/h. If the vehicle passes over a solid line, it can pull the vehicle back into lane by applying the brakes on one side. In the case of a dotted line, such intervention takes place only when there is a danger of collision with a vehicle in the adjacent lane (including danger from oncoming traffic).
PRE-SAFE® PLUS can recognise an imminent rear-end collision. If the danger of a collision persists, the system can also firmly apply the brakes of the stationary vehicle, thus minimising the risk of injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by an impact from the rear.
Passive safety: highly stable passenger compartment and modern restraint systems
The new A-Class is also the first Mercedes-Benz model to have been developed at the new Technology Centre for Vehicle Safety (TFS). The design of the vehicle structures incorporates findings from research into real accidents. Every single body shell component was developed according to the loads and stresses encountered, with respect to geometry, material thickness, joining technology and material quality (increased proportion of high-strength and ultra-high-strength sheet steel).
The centrepiece of the body’s safety concept is the highly rigid passenger compartment. Its great rigidity when subjected to accident-induced stress e.g. in frontal, lateral or rear-end collisions and rollovers is above all due to the greater use of high-strength, ultra-high-strength and press-hardened sheet steel.
Driver and front passenger each have a three-point seat belt with belt force limiter and belt tensioner. In conjunction with the PRE-SAFE® system (optional equipment), the front seats are equipped with reversible belt reel tensioners. Both of the outer rear seats are fitted with a seat belt with reel tensioner and belt force limiter. The new A-Class is equipped with driver and front passenger airbags, a driver’s knee airbag and window airbags as standard. Unlike in many competing models, the window airbag also covers the A-pillar for more complete passenger protection. Thorax-pelvis side airbags are likewise standard in the front, and available as optional equipment for the rear.
MULTIBEAM LED headlamps: optimum visibility in all conditions
The optional MULTIBEAM LED headlamps are another example of the technology transfer from the luxury to the compact class. They allow extremely quick and precise, electronically controlled adjustment of the headlamps to suit the current traffic situation. Each headlamp features 18 individually actuated LEDs. The daylight-like light colour of the LEDs is easy on the eyes and has a positive effect on concentration. The road ahead is precisely and brightly illuminated. LED High Performance headlamps are a further option. As standard, the new A-Class is equipped with halogen headlamps with integrated LED daytime running lamps.
Suspension: agile and comfortable
There is a choice of suspension systems for the A-Class, depending on engine variant and driver preference. The line-up of wheels ranges from 16 to 19 inches.
The front axle of the new A Class features a McPherson design. The more powerful versions and models with 4MATIC, adaptive damping or larger wheels are fitted with a complex four-link rear axle. The other models have a weight-optimised torsion-beam rear axle.