New Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon – An Aero’dynamic’ Champion.
An aerodynamically-efficient, svelte design enables the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon to qualify as ‘a car with less drag than any other production vehicle currently on sale’. Mercedes-Benz engineers and designers spent countless hours optimising the latest A-Class in the wind tunnel, resulting in outstanding efficiency, low emissions, and terrific refinement.
The interior of the new A-Class saloon is virtually identical to that found in its hatchback sibling. Every model has digital dials and a pair of wide central, high-resolution, touchscreens as standard – behind which is state-of-the-art technology. The screens are super-easy to operate using the steering wheel, touchpad or touchscreen. The latter represents a world-first that is definitely worthy of praise. Amazingly, the software used is even more advanced than that found in Mercedes-Benz’s flagship car, the S-Class. The cabin of the new A-Class consists of a combination of high quality aluminium, plastics, wood and leather, which infuses the car with an air of luxury befitting of the Mercedes-Benz brand. In fact, the cabin is more in line with what you would expect to find in a luxury saloon than in a family car, and it helps to lift the overall impression above that given by premium-badged rivals.
Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) is standard on all A-Class models and it features the voice-activated ‘Hey Mercedes’ system, allowing you to adjust the climate control, make a phone call or even ask for the weather forecast without taking your hands off the wheel. With the A-Class ‘Human Centred Interface’ you can adapt every detail to exactly your demands, driving style and needs. Just one simple swipe of the touchpad, steering wheel or touchscreen is all that is required. With the touchpad you can control the information shown on the media display intuitively like on a smartphone, and shift or enlarge the content quite simply with multi-finger gestures. Each input is confirmed with haptic feedback, and the touchpad recognises your handwriting should you wish to enter addresses or phone numbers silently.
Trim & Engine Options;
There are three generously-equipped trim levels in the new A-Class Saloon – entry-level Style, mid-spec Progressive, and range-topping AMG Line. Engine options consist of a 1.3-litre (1,332cc) petrol unit (badged A200), or a 1.5-litre (1,461cc) diesel (badged A180d), while the only transmission available, with both engines, is a slick-shifting seven-speed automatic which is easily controlled by way of a steering wheel-mounted stalk.
My test car was a new Mercedes-Benz A180d Saloon AMG Line, and was finished in stylish Mountain Grey metallic paintwork. Courtesy of a 1461cc turbo-diesel engine with 116bhp and 260Nm of torque, the 0-100km/h sprint can be completed in just 10.6 seconds – on the way to a top speed of 206km/h (where permitted). Fuel consumption as low as 4.1l/100km is possible on a combined driving cycle, while annual road tax is just €190. Standard AMG Line specification includes 18” AMG 5 x twin-spoke light alloy wheels, 3-spoke multifunction sports steering wheel in nappa leather with flattened bottom section, AMG body-styling consisting of an AMG front apron with front splitter in chrome, AMG side sill panels, AMG rear apron with chrome trim and visible exhaust tailpipes, AMG sports pedals in brushed stainless steel with rubber studs, diamond radiator grille with chrome pins and single louvre, ‘Direct Steer’ system, double cup holder, ’DYNAMIC SELECT’, folding armrest, front brake calipers with Mercedes-Benz logo, heated front seats, LED high performance headlamps, ‘Light & Sight’ package, lowered comfort suspension, MBUX multimedia system, split-folding rear seats, reversing camera, black fabric roof liner, sports seats, ‘THERMOTRONIC’ automatic climate control and many other luxury, convenience, and safety features. Optional extras fitted to my test car consisted of an ‘Advantage Package’ (Parking Package, Mirror Package, Satellite Navigation with a 10.25-inch display) and ‘a Night Package’ – priced at €2,762 and €569 respectively, while metallic paint is an €888 cost option.
On The Road;
The sports seats in the AMG Line models are designed to hold you in place better through corners and have integrated head restraints for a genuine sporty look. For supreme driving pleasure, the driver seat and steering wheel offer multiple adjustment options, so getting comfortable behind the wheel is never an issue. The standard torsion-beam rear suspension, and MacPherson strut front suspension in my test car provides a well-balanced and fluid feel on an open road, while overall ride comfort is terrific. Accurate, and precise steering ensures that the car responds directly to driver inputs, while a strong brake-pedal feel further adds to driver confidence. The A-Class Saloon is a very safe car to drive – automatic emergency braking comes as standard and it can mitigate, or avoid entirely, front-end collisions with other cars, pedestrians or cyclists. It will even brake the car if it’s bumped from behind to try and avoid you hitting the car in front. Independent crash-test body Euro NCAP awarded the A-Class hatchback the full five stars when it was tested in 2018, so the near-identical saloon can be regarded as being just as safe. The car is fitted with an array of safety systems, both active (to help prevent a crash) and passive, (protecting occupants should the worst happen).
Terrific Load Capacity;
The A-Class saloon is 130mm longer than its new, fourth-generation A-Class hatchback sibling – with which it shares it wheelbase – and that extra space enables a boot capacity of 420-litres, which is up 45-litres on the hatchback. A relatively low load lip makes it easy to load heavy items, and for even greater load capacity, the rear seats split and fold in a 40/20/40 configuration.
Verdict & Pricing;
Overall, the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon is a very likable car in every respect – from its favourable three-box proportions with distinctly styled tail-lamps, to its luxurious cabin, efficient engines, refined road manners, and fantastic infotainment system. The car’s clever and attractive interior mirrors its striking exterior design, and is a car that can wear the Mercedes-Benz badge with pride. Ex-works pricing for the new A-Class Saloon starts at just €34,220, and is on sale now.
Visit www.mercedes-benz.ie for further information.