Twenty-one years after the A-Class was first introduced, this year’s Geneva Motor Show is again set to be the stage for the public debut of the best-selling model’s latest incarnation. While the first generation A-Class was haloed for its functionality and the current (third) generation shot to success due to its athletic design, the 2018 A-Class is expected to bring an extra portion of luxury to the compact market.
- All-new MBUX infotainment interface
- Around 10% all-round improved visibility
- Steering wheel generation from the S-Class
- Standard widescreen cockpit display (double screen)
- Improved boot capacity and load space
A leading light.
With much of the exterior styling being kept tightly under wraps, we have only been gifted brief sightings of the upcoming model during its winter testing in Sweden. View the video here.
As shown, the model’s new angular LED headlights make a noticeable improvement to the A-Class’s front profile. They also boast Mercedes-Benz’s Adaptive Highbeam Assist. This means onboard sensors will automatically adjust headlight projection for optimum illumination without dazzling other road users – eliminating the need to swap between high and low beams while driving at night.
The tail lights have been redesigned to allow for greater loading space. Consequentially, the loading aperture will be 20cm wider than its predecessor and its floor compartment 11.5cm longer. Overall, increasing the boot capacity to 370 litres – an improvement of 29 litres.
Structural dimensions have also increased for added comfort. Shoulder room has increased by 9mm in the front and 22mm in the back, elbow room by 35mm in the front and 36mm in the back with headroom increasing by 7mm and 8mm respectively. Despite these larger dimensions, aerodynamics are improved through intricate changes to airflow paths around the engine bay and undertray. Subsequently resulting in reduced cabin noise at high speed.
Spaciousness complements improved all-around visibility and smaller window pillars achieve better road-view by roughly 10%.
A premium upgrade.
When sitting in the new A-Class you would be forgiven for thinking you were behind the wheel of one of the brand’s more executive alternatives. Not least because it quite literally utilises the same multi-function, touch-sensitive steering wheel as its range-topping counterpart, the S-Class.
The upgraded interior trim is available in a variety of combinations and there are a number of colours, materials and textures to choose from. In any form, it oozes luxury that far exceeds the A-Class of the current day.
Nevertheless, it is the upgraded dashboard and infotainment console that is the real revelation.
The traditional dashboard is replaced with a stunning twin screen display – either with two 7inch or 10inch screens. Essential driving information is visible on the first, while the other handles entertainment and navigation.
With the aim of minimising driver distraction, touch navigation is optimised throughout the cockpit. It is accessible on the steering wheel, the new touch-control pad (which replaces the conventional rotary controller on the central panel) and the central screen. The A-Class therefore also debuts Mercedes-Benz’s first touchscreen display. Voice-activated technology is also utilisable thanks to the new MBUX interface (read on for more details).
There are no cowls over the instruments for the first time and sporty ‘turbine’ air vents complete the look – made ever more lavish by the optional ambient lighting that can illuminate the cabin in 64 different colours.
A high-tech hatchback.
In addition to a more premium aesthetic, the model’s new infotainment system is more advanced than any other Mercedes-Benz currently on the market.
MBUX enters series production in the new A-Class. Like many voice-activated assistance devices available for domestic use, MBUX awakens in response to a recognisable phrase. In this case, “Hey, Mercedes”. Users can then relay a wide range of instructions ranging from telephone, audio and navigation to air con and ambient lighting.
Furthermore, it utilises artificial intelligence that learns and is responsive to, driver preferences and routine. As well as setting up profiles for individual drivers it can make predictive suggestions based on the previous behaviour. For instance, if you frequently call ‘Mum’ on your drive home from work on Tuesdays, it will notify you with this suggestion when you get in the car on that day.
Also expect wider Mercedes Me adaptions for greater personalisation and everyday convenience.
The revolution continues.
The new A-Class marks the start of an exciting future for Mercedes-Benz’s compact car offering as plans have been revealed to increase the model range to include up to 8 models. The next is due later this year and comes in the form of the very first A-Class Saloon.
The A-Class has a special place at the heart of Mercedes-Benz heritage due to its contribution to a more youthful acceptance of the brand and therefore the accessibility of the very latest Mercedes-Benz technology to the volume market. Decidedly, this revolution is set to continue.