Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The heartbeat of a new generation: at the centre of Mercedes-Benz's presence at the Geneva Motor Show will be the world premiere of the new A-Class. The company is opening up a whole new chapter in the compact segment: markedly emotive in design, with powerful engines and extremely efficient, with emissions. At the same time the new model underlines that for Mercedes-Benz safety is not a question of price - the standard specification includes, amongst other things, the radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST system.

"A is for Attack: the A-Class is a clear statement of the new dynamism of the Mercedes-Benz brand", explains Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "It is completely new, down to the last detail. In automotive development, it's not often you get the chance to start with a clean sheet of paper. Our engineers and designers have made the very most of that opportunity."

Design and dynamism are obvious characteristics of the new A-Class even at first glance, simply in the way it sits up to 18 centimeters closer to the road than its predecessor. The radical new design idiom that was so enthusiastically received upon its first appearance with the "Concept A-CLASS" has been rigorously applied for the series-production model. With their fresh interpretation of the classic two-box design, the Mercedes designers have created an emotive exterior with a pronounced sporty flair. "Applying the new dynamic style of Mercedes-Benz to the compact class was a challenge that we thoroughly enjoyed", explains Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Mercedes-Benz. "The almost sculptural lines of the A-Class are very typical for Mercedes. The feature lines, particularly along the sides of the car, then give the A-Class structure and tautness."

The objective when it came to the interior design was to complement the sporty look of the exterior. On top of this the car has a high-quality feel about it that is unique in this segment, achieved both through the design idiom as such and through the choice and combinations of the high-quality materials used. As seen in the Concept A-CLASS, there is an option allowing a smartphone to be fully integrated into the operating and display system. A special app makes it possible to use the full functionality of the iPhone®, and in due course also of other smartphones, in the car.

All trim surfaces feature an electroplated finish in "silver chrome", giving them a genuine metallic surface with "cool touch" effect. "This is just one example of the way in which the quality of the A-Class's interior is not defined by classic trim elements but by consistent design and by the specific materials used", explains Hartmut Sinkwitz, Head of Interior Design. "The motto we used when designing the interior was 'pure sportiness, newly interpreted'."

Particular visual highlights include, for example, the air vents, which stand out like "sparkling jewels" (Sinkwitz), so underlining the exceptional quality of the interior. The sporty character of the vehicle is further emphasized by the integral seats (optional extra) in the front. The rear seat is similarly sporty in appearance and can accommodate up to three passengers.

As well as the basic specification, which can be individualized with a wide range of options, there is a choice of design and equipment lines that have been put together with the requirements of customers in mind: "Urban", "Style" and "AMG Sport".

The world premiere of the new A-Class (length/width/height: 4292/1780/ 1433 millimeters) will take place at the Geneva Motor Show (8 to 18 March 2012). It will be making its way to European dealers in September 2012.

For the first time, the performance specialists from AMG were involved in the development of the compact class from a very early stage. The result is the most dynamic version of the new model series - the A-Class Sport 'engineered by AMG', in which the visual affinity to the Concept A-CLASS is at its most evident - particularly in terms of the new diamond grille. The A-Class Sport features exclusive 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a 5-spoke design with 235/40 R18 tires all round and painted high-gloss black with a high-sheen finish, together with red-painted brake calipers. These give an indication of the particularly dynamic driving qualities of the A 250 Sport and the A 220 CDI Sport, which are differentiated, amongst other factors, by a special AMG-developed front axle and a suspension that has been configured to match.

Hints of red on the AMG front and rear aprons also serve to emphasize the expressive positioning of the new model. The contrast between black trim and additional accents in red continues in the interior: the contrasting decorative topstitching on the steering wheel and seats is in this same bright shade, as are the seat belts. The ambient lighting of the instruments and the highlight rings of the air vents are similarly red.

A broad range of both petrol and diesel engines has something to suit every performance requirement, whilst also demonstrating the current state of the art in terms of efficiency: for the first time, a Mercedes-Benz will produce emissions of just 99 g of CO2 per kilometre.

The bandwidth of the new generation of petrol engines with a displacement of 1.6 and 2.0 litres ranges from 113 HP in the A 180 and 154 HP in the A 200 through to 208 HP in the A 250. Common to all is the combination of direct injection and exhaust gas turbocharging, a more advanced combustion process and an extended stratification range for lean-burn operation that uses fast-acting injectors for the multiple injection of the fuel as well as on-demand multi-spark ignition. CAMTRONIC is an innovation that will be celebrating its world premiere in the 1.6-litre engine: adjusting the valve lift on the intake side restricts the amount of fresh mixture used in the partial load range, so reducing consumption.

The diesel engines also offer an impressively high level of efficiency and environmental compatibility, thanks to sophisticated injection technology and turbocharging. The A 180 CDI offers an output of 108 HP and a maximum torque of up to 250 Nm, while the A 200 CDI has a maximum output of 134 HP and torque that rises to 300 Nm. The A 220 CDI has a displacement of 2.2 litres, an output of 168 HP and torque of 350 Nm, delivering absolutely exceptional performance in the A-Class.

The appearance of the new A-Class reflects the new Mercedes-Benz design strategy. The result is what is known as a two-box design with a distinct character of its own, a sportily emotive exterior and an exceptionally high-quality feel to the interior.

Defined edges and tautly drawn surfaces mark out the exterior design of the new A-Class. The constant interplay between concave and convex planes creates a characteristic play of light, particularly along the sides of the car, which contributes to its unique appearance.

Typical features of the long, sporty front are its pronounced V-shape, the separate headlamps, the radiator grille with central Mercedes star and double slats to either side of the star, as well as the additional air intakes on the sides. The "dropping line" apparent in the side profile dissipates towards the vehicle's front end. The design of the headlamps, together with the configuration of the light functions within them, is a key element of the design concept.

The light modules and LEDs behind the headlamp cover glass have been arranged in such a way as to create the characteristic "flare effect" for the daytime running lamps and indicators. The so-called "flare" is made up of the feature line within the headlamp, the LED modules for the daytime running lamps and the bulb sets for the indicators. This signature effect gives the car its energetic look and so helps to define a new, youthful face for Mercedes.

The high-quality feel and sportiness of the car are continued in the interior. Both objectives have been achieved with the help of a specific design idiom and through the various combination options possible with the high-quality materials selected. All trim elements have been given an electroplated finish, resulting in real metal surfaces with "cool touch" effect. The work has been executed with considerable care and attention to detail, so that they appear to have been moulded in one piece.

The instrument panel is clearly divided into a wing profile-type upper section and an aesthetically influenced lower section. The resulting effect is that the upper section appears to be supported by a 'muscle'. The manufacturing process used for this 'muscle' allows the creation of varying surface structures with soft tactile qualities. By using special films with three-dimensional structures it is possible to create a range of different surface finishes that permit an attractive play of light. The instrument panel incorporates five round vents, the outer rings of which have a high-quality electroplated finish. The airflow direction is governed by an insert that is reminiscent of an aircraft turbine and reveals a meticulous attention to detail. This too has an electroplated finish in "silver chrome". The free-standing display screen features a black piano-lacquer-look front panel and a flush-fitting silver frame.

The instrument cluster comprises two large round instruments, each of them with a small round instrument set within it. When at rest, the dial needles stand at 6 o'clock. The pointer inlays are generally white, although with the sportier design and equipment lines such as Urban and AMG Sport they are in red. The dials on the sporty equipment lines and packages are colored silver with a checkered flag effect. The 3-spoke steering wheel comes with 12 function buttons and an electroplated bezel.

Source: Mercedes-Benz press

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