In March 1997, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its new pioneering model to a global public at the Geneva Motor Show. Bearing the internal designation of the W 168 model series, the newcomer attracted a great deal of attention – and, a short time later, a certain amount of criticism too after an A-Class tipped over in the so-called “moose test” conducted by motoring journalists from Sweden. Mercedes-Benz was quick to react, equipping the A-Class with a modified chassis and fitting the Electronic Stability Program ESP® as standard. In the process, the brand took compact car safety to even greater heights. And this high standard would in future come to shape the entire industry.
It showed to impressive effect how Mercedes-Benz had, for the first time, succeeded in resolving one of the classic trade-offs of automotive development: the A-Class brought together compact exterior dimensions, a roomy and versatile interior, as well as the brand’s customary high standard of safety within a unique overall concept.
So began the A-Class success story that still continues today, with the third generation now on the market. The A-Class has in the meantime spawned a youthful model family all of its own and plays its part in the strong sales performance of the Mercedes-Benz brand.
Twenty years from its first arrival to our showrooms, we wanted to gauge the opinion of our customers and determine whether the A-Class lives up to its impressive reputation.
A resounding favourite in our survey responses was the A-Class’ distinctive styling.
With a diamond grille, new LED High Performance headlamps and newly designed rear lights with exhaust tailpipes integrated into the bumper, the new generation emphasises the sportiness and dynamism of the successful compact class series.
Mrs Wills chose the interior design of her A 200 d AMG Line as her favourite feature. She commented, “I needed a smaller car and the A200 is a classier design, both internally and externally, than most other cars of this size.”
Besides a competitive part exchange offer, Miss Ripping stated choosing her A180d Sport because of “modern styling and the Mercedes-Benz badge”. Her standout feature was the multi-function display.
Technology & Performance.
The A-Class offers a range of specially developed petrol and diesel engines, each blending impressive power with remarkable efficiency. All feature energy saving measures such as ECO start / stop technology and CO2 emissions are as low as 89 g/km. It reconciles the conflicting aims of sporty performance and enhanced comfort. The revised gear ratios, aerodynamic fine-tuning and the new DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes raise overall performance to a higher level.
When Miss Reynolds chose her A 200 d AMG Line she was looking for something that was both economical and powerful. She stated, “After owning a small car, I was looking for something that was still on the small side but had a much larger engine, 5 doors and was more economical. The A-Class provided that and more.” Touching on the model’s innovative media and infotainment system, she chose Apple CarPlay as her favourite feature.
When we asked Mr Parke what he liked most about his A 200 d AMG Line he also complimented the A-Class’ communication capabilities. However, he also likes the control offered by his manual shift paddles, “My favourite features are the automatic gearbox with manual shift paddles and the COMAND in-car entertainment system.”
The A-Class is refined in style and functional in design. It offers the versatility of a compact car with the driving experience you would expect from a premium brand. With options that cater to every taste, the A-Class allows you to define your road presence.
Mr Turner was recommended the A-Class by his work colleagues and contacted us after seeing the car advertised on television. He commented, “The A-Class is a great looking car which fits all my needs. It offers comfort all round.” A popular model amongst our respondents, he currently also owns a A 200 d AMG Line.
As you would expect from a Mercedes-Benz, the A-Class has been designed with safety in mind.
With numerous driving assistance systems, from the drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST to DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control, the A-Class is able to give its driver comprehensive support and protection. The assistance systems, which fuse data from various sensor technologies, significantly enhance safety and comfort. For example, COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST provides autonomous partial braking to reduce the risk of rear-end collisions. The drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST has been similarly upgraded: operating within an extended speed range (60 – 200 km/h), it now uses a five-stage bar display to visualise the driver’s current attention level.
For further peace of mind, there are up to nine airbags inside the cabin offering maximum protection for you and your passengers. Add to this Active bonnet, a pedestrian safety measure which detects an impact and raises bonnet by 65 mm, and it’s clear why Mercedes-Benz has such a stellar safety record.
To find out more on the A-Class, visit our model pages.