Since its world premiere in 1997, the A-Class has made a name for itself as a trendsetter and innovative leader in its class. Outstanding safety, great day-to-day flexibility and reliability have always been among the strengths of the A-Class, which has so far captured the enthusiasm of about 1.7 million customers with its distinctive and versatile vehicle concept.In spring 2008 Mercedes-Benz presented the five-door Saloon and the three-door Coupé in completely upgraded versions. Viewed from the front, this compact Mercedes-Benz now appears more youthful and self-confident than before. The sweeping lines of the newly designed headlamps harmoniously combine the front end and flanks, which literally appear to be cast from a single mould. The redesigned front bumper reinforces this impression; its lower air intake is now much larger, emphasising the width of the body. The radiator grille is also in a new design which underlines the progressive aura of the A-Class.
Design features at the front end provide more distinctions between the design and equipment lines of the A-Class. While the louvres in the radiator grille of the basic version are painted in dark-grey, they are respectively in metallic atlas grey and high-sheen iridium silver in the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE lines, and are also visually upgraded by additional chrome strips. Discreet chrome trim strips further reinforce this impression. In the AVANTGARDE line, the front bumper also has a distinctive design which emphasises the arrow-shape of the front end and suggests greater agility.
When viewed from the side the different lines in the A-Class are distinguished by wheel designs. While the basic model is equipped with 15-inch wheels and seven-spoke wheel embellishers as standard, ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE are fitted with individually designed 16-inch light-alloy wheels. The new, larger exterior mirror housings and door handles are now painted in the vehicle colour for all model variants. The previous side rubbing strips have been replaced by discreet chrome trim strips, which provide additional visual highlights in the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE models.The rear end of the A-Class is dominated by a modified bumper and newly designed rear light clusters which extend well into the vehicle flanks. Both these features make the body appear wider and therefore more imposing. In the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE models the rear bumper is embellished with additional, reflector-look trim strips and chrome inserts. The new, ergonomically improved tailgate handle is chrome-plated in both lines, as is the oval exhaust tailpipe.
Interior: upgraded with larger stowage compartments and new fabrics
Mercedes designers paid particular attention to enhanced value when redesigning the interior, choosing new, high-grade upholstery fabrics and door linings. In the ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE lines the seats are upholstered in an attractive combination of ARTICO man-made leather and fabric, which is available in three colours. In addition new decorative trim of smoke-grey, diagonally brushed aluminium enhances the interior of the AVANTGARDE line, while the dignified aura of the ELEGANCE models is heightened by wood trim. All variants of the A-Class share a larger stowage compartment in the centre console and a newly designed cupholder between the front seats.
The luxury seat package with seat cushion angle adjustment and lumbar support, seat height adjustment for the driver’s seat, a front armrest and a parcel net in the front passenger footwell is standard equipment for ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE models.
With fuel consumption figures between 4.9 and 8.1 litres per 100 kilometres, the new-generation A-Class is a model of fuel economy. Thanks to detailed improvements, the fuel consumption of the state-of-the-art direct-injection diesel engines has been reduced by more than eight percent or 0.5 litres per 100 kilometres compared to the preceding series. From autumn 2008 Mercedes-Benz introduced a standard BlueEFFICIENCY package for the three-door A 160 CDI with a manual transmission, with further improvements in engine efficiency, aerodynamics, rolling resistance, energy management and weight. The sum of these measures achieves a fuel saving of 0.4 litres, which means that the A 160 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY has an NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) consumption of just 4.5 l/100 km (52.26 mpg/US, 22.22 km/l). As a result the CO2 emissions of the 60 kW/82 hp Coupé are 119 grams per kilometre.
The BlueEFFICIENCY package also includes an aerodynamically optimised radiator grille. This has a closed-off interior face to reduce the airflow to the engine, though the CDI engine is still cooled effectively at all times. The suspension has also been lowered by ten millimetres to reduce the drag coefficient even further.
Mercedes engineers have exploited an additional fuel-saving potential by controlling the onboard power supply of the A 160 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY according to demand, and therefore on an energy-saving basis. A sensor constantly monitors the battery so that the output of the generator can be reduced for certain periods when the battery is well charged. This reduces the work required of the engine, which therefore consumes less fuel. To recharge the battery with optimum energy efficiency, the generator management system utilises the engine’s overrun phases to produce electrical energy.