New 2018 Mercedes A-Class: full pricing, specs and details
The new Mercedes A-Class hatchback will cost from £25,800 in the UK, with first customer deliveries due in May
The all-new Mercedes A-Class will be priced from £25,800, the German brand has confirmed, with the hatchback making its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show. On sale now, the first UK customers will take delivery in May, with the range initially topping out at £30,240.
Designed as a rival to the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Volkswagen Golf, Mercedes says the 2018 A-Class is a ‘new interpretation’ of the existing design, and our first look at the new car in the metal confirms its subtle evolution from the outgoing model.
Initially, buyers will have the choice between one diesel and two petrol engines. The 116bhp 1.5-litre diesel, badged A 180d, will be the most efficient at launch promising 68.9mpg. Mercedes claims it can hit 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds. The two petrol options include the 161bhp 1.4-litre turbo, badged A 200, and 222bhp 2.0-litre turbo, badged A 250.
Three trim levels will also be offered to buyers: SE, Sport and AMG. Standard kit across the lineup includes alloy wheels, DAB radio, leather and fabric upholstery, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Keyless-Go starting function and air conditioning.
New Mercedes A-Class: interior design and technology
If you want revolution, rather than evolution, then look inside. The ground-breaking design (which was first seen last year) features a pair of free-standing instrument panels and turbine-style air vents, with ambient lighting used to highlight the separate sections of the dashboard.
It doesn’t just look different; it works in a very different way, too, using the Mercedes-Benz User Experience system that we first saw at CES in January. Not only can this learn through artificial intelligence, it can be personalised and adapted to each user.
That means the digital screens can be set up to display the driver’s preferred combination of information in the way they want. On top of that, the system learns if you phone the same people or tune to certain radio stations at particular times of day; and, if you do, the system then suggests these to the driver at the appropriate moment.
Similarly, if the driver sets out to what the system recognises as a regular destination, navigation will automatically start in the background; and, once the driver confirms the destination, all the information about the route, such as congestion and any other problems, will already be available.
The system also gives access to the ever-expanding Mercedes ‘me connect’ services. These include everything from extra navigation features to an in-car office and the ability to book your car in for a service remotely.
We’ve already tried the system and were extremely impressed at how easy it was to work through the various menus and to control everything.
Drivers can control the new A-Class infotainment system in several ways – by voice control, the touchscreen, a touchpad on the centre console or touch-sensitive panels on the steering wheel. The standard system has a pair of 7-inch screens, the one in centre of the car being a touchscreen. Buyers then have the option of upgrading, by having either a 10.25-inch touchscreen or two 10.25-inch screens. A head-up display can also be fitted as a further option.
One of the most interesting features is the ‘augmented reality’ navigation, which superimposes navigation information on top of a live video image taken by the front camera.
The voice control system, too, is said to be very sophisticated and is activated either by pressing a button on the steering wheel or by simply saying ‘Hey Mercedes’, much like the Siri system on an iPhone.
According to the company, the system can recognise everyday language, rather than just responding to set commands. For instance, Mercedes says that not only will it respond to indirect comments like ‘I am cold’ rather than ‘temperature to 24 degrees’, it can also learn new words, as it takes information from both the onboard software and the cloud.
New Mercedes A-Class: passenger comfort, practicality and safety
Passengers, meanwhile, will appreciate the extra space inside, with more shoulder, elbow and headroom throughout, as well as easier access to the rear seats. The boot, too, is bigger, while the opening is wider, the rear seats backs can be set more upright to take bulky items in the boot, and there is more stowage space in the cabin.
Various features more readily associated with luxury cars are also available in the new A-Class. So, buyers can choose heating and ventilation, as well as a massaging system, for the front seats.
Similarly, some of the advanced driver-assistance and safety systems from the S-Class luxury car have been introduced on the A-Class. That means the new hatchback can drive semi-autonomously in certain situations, with the camera and radar systems able to see up to 500m ahead.
The Active Distance Assist Distronic system will maintain a set distance behind the vehicle in front and give steering assistance, even in corners. And, beyond that, it also uses map data to adjust the car’s speed approaching bends or roundabouts.
Every model in the range will come with Active Brake Assist (which can help to mitigate the effects of a rear-end collision or possibly prevent it completely) and Attention Assist, which will warn the driver if they are showing signs of fatigue.
Among the options are Multibeam LED headlights. With 18 individually activated LEDs in each headlight, they can adjust automatically to the driving situation.
Mercedes A-Class: new engines, performance and economy
There will eventually be a full range of engines, but at launch the A-Class will come with just three engines. All are brand new turbocharged units, and the A 200 has a four-cylinder 1.4-litre petrol engine that develops 161bhp. When paired with the dual-clutch semi-automatic transmission, it has cylinder shut-off technology that helps to give claimed fuel economy of 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 120g/km. A more powerful 222bhp 2.0-litre turbo is also available.
Meanwhile, to start with, the only diesel option is the A 180d. This turbocharged 1.5-litre unit develops 114bhp, has claimed fuel economy of 68.9mpg and emits 108g/km of CO2.
Four-wheel drive will also be available, along with three choices of suspension. As an alternative to the standard arrangement, buyers can opt for a 15mm lower set-up, designed to give sportier handling, or active damping control.
With this system, not only can drivers choose their preferred damping characteristics, the system also uses information from the transmission, brakes, steering and engine to adjust the suspension accordingly. For example, when the car is accelerating or braking, the damping is stiffened to reduce pitching or body roll.