New Generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sets New Benchmark for Compact Cars
With the new generation of the A-Class, Mercedes-Benz reconciles the conflicting aims of sporty performance and enhanced comfort
by Chris Danielson | 29 June 2015
With the new generation of the A-Class, Mercedes-Benz reconciles the conflicting aims of sporty performance and enhanced comfort: With DYNAMIC SELECT the driver is able to change the car’s characteristics in just seconds – at the touch of a button the A-Class drives in a particularly comfortable, sporty or efficient manner. Mercedes-Benz has also increased the range of available engines. The A 160 with 75 kW (102 hp) is the new entry-level model. The new efficiency champion is the 80 kW (109 hp) A 180 d BlueEFFICIENCY Edition with CO2 emissions of 89 g/km. And with its dramatic design in the style of the successful MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 team, the special “Motorsport Edition” model will particularly appeal to racing fans. The Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC also benefits from the model facelift. With peak output of 280 kW (381 hp) and a maximum torque of 475 Nm, the entry-level model from Mercedes-AMG is the world’s most powerful compact sports model. The revised gear ratios, aerodynamic fine-tuning and the new DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes raise overall performance to a higher level, underlining the claim to leadership in this market segment. The new-generation A-Class can be ordered from 3 July 2015. The first models will be in dealer showrooms at the end of September.
“2012 was a year of paradigm change in the compact class. The new A-Class was a radical departure from the preceding series. And a successful one: as the most progressive model in the compact class, the model series has done much to make the Mercedes-Benz brand more youthful. With this model facelift we are now meeting the wishes of many customers for even more comfort with no loss of dynamic performance,” says Ola Källenius, member of the Daimler AG Board of Management responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales. “In addition, with Apple® CarPlay® and MirrorLink® the A-Class has taken the next step for comprehensive and intuitive smartphone integration.”
Striking lines, dynamically curved surfaces and coupé-like window lines characterise the exterior of the A-Class, following the design philosophy of sensual clarity. The form of the new, more arrow-shaped front bumper takes its lead strongly from the Concept A-CLASS (2011). With a diamond grille, new LED High Performance headlamps (optional extra; standard for A 45) 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.
An instrument cluster of tubular design with high-quality dial graphics and galvanised switches upgrades the quality interior, as does the large, free-standing and frameless display of the head unit, which is now to be had with a larger screen diagonal of 20.3 cm (8 inches) on request. New colours and materials, as well as new finishes for the trim in the dashboard, ensure a fresh ambience. New features include sahara beige / black leather in the Exclusive package and a new seat design with red or green highlights in the Style line.
Optional LED High Performance headlamps and ambience lighting which can be individualised with twelve colours and five dimming levels – the equipment range for the A-Class has been judiciously expanded in many areas. Also new is seat cushion depth adjustment by up to 60 mm – a standard feature in all equipment lines.
With its dramatic design in the style of the successful MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 team, the special “Motorsport Edition” model will particularly appeal to racing fans. Areas of the front and rear bumper trim are painted in petrol green, and the same colour adorns the rim flanges of the AMG light- alloy wheels. The AMG rear aerofoil is embellished with petrol green highlights, as are the exterior mirrors (only in conjunction with A 250 Sport and A 250 Sport 4MATIC). Eye-catching details in the interior include the petrol green surrrounds of the air vents and the contrasting topstitching in petrol green. The sport seats upholstered in black leather/DINAMICA microfibre have petrol green decorative strips, as have the seat belts. The “Motorsport Edition” is available for all engine variants from the A 200/A 200 d upwards (except the A 45).
Drive system: engine range extended further
The A 160 with 75 kW (102 hp) is the new entry-level model in the A-Class. The new efficiency champion is the 80 kW (109 hp) A 180 d BlueEFFICIENCY Edition, which is happy with an NEDC fuel consumption of just 3.5 l/100 km. Its CO2 emissions are 89 g/km. Numerous measures to enhance efficiency have made these outstanding figures possible. Also new are the manual transmission versions of the dynamic models A 250 and A 250 Sport.
The A 220 d is now 5 kW (7 hp) more powerful than before with 130 kW (177 hp), while the sport models A 250 Sport and A 250 Sport 4MATIC now develop 160 kW (218 hp) instead of the previous 155 kW (211 hp). In combination with the 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission, the A-Class now has “Launch Assist” for even faster acceleration from standstill. All in all the model range has 17 versions. The “ECO display” also takes a new form to assist the driver in maintaining an environmentally friendly style of driving.
The Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC also benefits from the model facelift. With peak output of 280 kW (381 hp) and a maximum torque of 475 Nm, the entry-level model from Mercedes-AMG is the world’s most powerful compact sports model. This powerpack delivers a dynamic performance that is unrivalled: 100 km/h is already reached from standstill in 4.2 seconds. This means that the new Mercedes‑AMG A 45 accelerates 0.4 seconds faster than its predecessor. At the same time its fuel consumption has been kept at the previous level: no other high-performance model in this class can match its NEDC fuel consumption from 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres (corresponds to 162 g/km CO2).
Mercedes-Benz is also using the A-Class model facelift as the opportunity to introduce the new nomenclature for the drive variants in this model series. While the petrol models have no suffix, the small letter “d” replaces the previous “CDI” – the A 200 CDI is now called the A 200 d, for example.
Suspension: Comfort at the touch of a button
With DYNAMIC SELECT the vehicle characteristics can be adjusted in seconds at the touch of a button, as the system modifies the engine, transmission, suspension, steering and air conditioning at the driver’s behest. The four driving modes “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Eco” and “Individual” can be conveniently selected using the switch in the upper control array.
Models A 200 d 4MATIC, A 220 4MATIC, A 220 d, A 220 d 4MATIC, A 250 4MATIC, A 250 Sport and A 250 Sport 4MATIC are equipped with DYNAMIC SELECT as standard. The system is also included as standard in all models with 7G-DCT, AMG Line or a lowered suspension. DYNAMIC SELECT is available on request for all other engine variants except the two BlueEFFICIENCY Edition models.
DYNAMIC SELECT allows a particularly broad range of setting options in combination with the new suspension with adaptive damping (optional extra). In this case the driver is able to modify the vehicle’s damping characteristics using the DYNAMIC SELECT switch. There is a choice between Comfort mode with comfortable damping characteristics and Sport mode for a sporty and more taut damper setup. Acceleration sensors are used to measure the vehicle’s body movements, and other current information about the vehicle status such as the steering angle, steering speed and yaw rate is included when calculating the damping characteristics. A proportional valve is actuated electronically at each shock absorber to control the oil flow and therefore the damping characteristics. The damping system is infinitely variable, and the configuration is individual for each wheel.
The Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC is equipped with the DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport +” and “Individual”, which are familiar from the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car and the top-of-the-line C-Class model, the Mercedes‑AMG C 63, as standard. As a new optional feature, the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package includes a mechanical front axle locking differential, the AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension with adaptive damping and the fifth DYNAMIC SELECT driving mode “Race”.
Multimedia: trailblazer in smartphone integration
The new-generation A-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz model to be available with comprehensive smartphone integration: from the beginning of 2016 the infotainment systems Apple® CarPlay® (for iPhone® owners) and MirrorLink® will become available.
In the case of e.g. Apple® CarPlay® the system supports telephoning, navigation and listening to music, receiving and sending SMS and emails as well as Siri voice control. To avoid distracting the driver during a journey, only the relevant smartphone content is displayed on-screen.
At the same time the new generation telematics are being introduced into the A-Class. Operation is now even more intuitive, with the functions accompanied by animated menus and visual depictions on the even larger display in the head unit. On request the screen diagonal now measures 20.3 cm (8 inches), making it at least 2.5 cm (1 inch) larger than before.
Assistance systems: Improved support, LED headlamp on request
With numerous driving assistance systems from the drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST to DISTRONIC PLUS distance control, the A-Class is able to give its driver comprehensive support and protection. Some of the assistance systems have been revised. For example, the standard COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS extends the functions of the previous COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST (radar supported proximity warning and braking assistance by Adaptive Brake Assist) with autonomous partial braking to reduce the risk of rear-end collisions.
The drowsiness detection system ATTENTION ASSIST (standard) 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.
Apart from their distinctive look, the new LED High Performance headlamps (optional extra, standard for A 45) offer added safety at night thanks to their wide beam pattern and light of a colour similar to daylight.
Success story: two out of three customers new to Mercedes-Benz
The new generation of the A-Class entered the market in September 2012. Owing to the great success enjoyed by this model around the world, it is manufactured not only in Rastatt, but, since August 2013, also by the Finnish production specialist Valmet Automotive. Unit sales soared by over 46% in Great Britain last year, and by over 51% in the growth market of China. However, most A-Class models continue to be sold to customers in Germany.
Around one in two drivers of a Mercedes-Benz A-Class or B-Class, GLA or CLA in Germany and western Europe previously drove a competitor vehicle. In the case of the A-Class, no less than two out of three European customers come from competing brands. The Mercedes-Benz brand has also undergone a noticeable rejuvenation since the introduction of the new compact models. Nowadays, the average age of European drivers owning the new A-Class is around 13 years less than for the preceding model series. In China the average age is 34 years.
The new Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC
The world’s most powerful compact performance model
Affalterbach. Following a comprehensive upgrade, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC opens up a new dimension in vehicle dynamics. With peak output of 280 kW (381 hp) and a maximum torque of 475 Nm, the entry-level model from Mercedes-AMG is the world’s most powerful compact sports model. The revised gear ratios, aerodynamic fine-tuning and the new DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes raise overall performance to a higher level, underlining the claim to leadership in this market segment. The compact saloon absolves a sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 4.2 seconds, 0.4 seconds faster than the preceding model. Maximum traction also on tight bends is ensured by the standard all-wheel drive and the optional front axle differential available for the first time. At the same time fuel consumption has remained as before: no other high-performance model in this class can better its NEDC fuel consumption from 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres (corresponding to 162 g/km CO2).
Mercedes-AMG’s entry into the compact class in 2013 exceeded all expectations: the sophisticated A 45 immediately took the top position in its market segment. The sporty and exciting driving experience plus an emotionally appealing design immediately impressed the dynamic and individualistic target group, and gained new customers for the sports car brand.
“We never rest on our laurels, but constantly strive to develop our products further,” says Tobias Moers, Chairman of Mercedes-AMG GmbH. “The A 45 still had so much improvement potential that we felt compelled to realise it to the full. Our brand claim simply obliges us to.” The AMG development team intelligently optimised numerous features of the compact bestseller to further enhance the vehicle dynamics and driving pleasure.
Modifications to the transmission, suspension, electronics, design and appointments have turned the compact sports model into a completely new car delivering 280 kW (381 hp) and 475 newton metres of maximum torque to enter dimensions previously the province of higher vehicle classes, and unrivalled by any competitior: 100 km/h is already reached from standstill in 4.2 seconds. This means that the new Mercedes-AMG A 45 accelerates 0.4 seconds faster than its predecessor.
Low fuel consumption at the level of the preceding model
At the same time its fuel consumption has been kept at the previous level: no other high-performance model in this class can match its NEDC fuel consumption from 6.9 litres per 100 kilometres (corresponds to 162 g/km CO2). The agile, turbocharged four-cylinder engine combines its power and efficiency to produce a top figure in its class: the output of 141 kW (191 hp) per litre marks a record for a series production four-cylinder engine, and raises the high-performance AMG power unit to the level of thoroughbred super sports cars.
The engine specialists at AMG mainly achieved this increase in power output with a newly configured valve assembly. In addition the combustion processes have been optimised by reconfigured timing and turbocharging. The maximum charge pressure continues to be 1.8 bar.
On the road the turbocharged AMG 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine thrills with extremely fast responses to accelerator movements, high torque, enormous flexibility and an emotional engine note. The exhaust system features an automatically controlled exhaust flap as standard. The emotional appeal of the engine sound can be varied depending on driving mode or at the touch of a button.
From the GT and C 63: The new AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes
Already familiar from the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car and the top-of-the-line C-Class model, the Mercedes-AMG C 63, the DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport +” and “Individual” now also allow the driver of the Mercedes-AMG A 45 to preset the handling characteristics according to personal preferences or the driving situation.
Driving mode “Comfort” allows relaxed, non-stressful driving with a subdued engine note and gentle gearshifts. The “sailing” function installed for the first time, plus the ECO start/stop system, help to save fuel. “Sport” mode emphasises agility and driving pleasure, with a sporty engine and transmission configuration. The sound of the turbocharged engine becomes more throaty. In “Sport +” mode the transmission responds even faster to dynamic load changes. The shift strategy of the transmission is optimally modified for the needs of a very sporty driving style – including extremely short shift times, emotional double declutching and faster responses to the accelerator. Over and above the preconfigured modes, the “Individual” driving mode makes it possible to vary individual parameters for the engine, transmission mode and 3-stage ESP® .
New: The AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package as an optional extra
Completely new for the Mercedes-AMG A 45, the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package sharpens up the vehicle dynamics even further. It clearly shows the influence of the numerous motor racing successes by Mercedes-AMG on the development of road vehicles. One major component is the newly developed, mechanical front axle locking differential, which significantly improves traction when driving in a sporty style. The greatest advantages become apparent during fast acceleration out of bends, where the locking differential allows maximum grip and high rates of lateral acceleration. Moreover, the A 45 is stabilised even more effectively during load changes and at high speeds.
The AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package also includes the AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension: one of its new features is the two-stage, adaptive damping adjustment. The system operates fully automatically, adapting the damping forces for each wheel according to the driving situation and road conditions. The driver is also able to preselect the basic damping characteristics in two stages for a personally configured setup. The RIDE CONTROL sport suspension is also available individually as a separate optional extra. The speed-sensitive sports power steering of the A 45 fundamentally supports a sporty driving style with its high steering precision and direct self-steering characteristics. It likewise has two different sets of characteristics: depending on which damper setup the driver has selected, it provides a taut, sporty or more comfortable steering feedback.
The fifth DYNAMIC SELECT driving mode “Race” is included with the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package and the AMG RIDE CONTROL sport suspension: this makes the Mercedes-AMG A 45 ideally suited to fast laps on the racetrack.
The response characteristics of the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and the accelerator are now even more immediate than in “Sport +”. The exhaust system, suspension and steering remain at “Sport +” level, while 3-stage ESP® changes to “SPORT HANDLING MODE” and allows wider drift angles. The transmission activates “Race” mode, which is configured to maintain an optimum engine speed in the lowest possible gear when driving at racetrack speeds. “RACE” mode is rounded off by rapid and responsive gearshifts.
Lower ratios: The AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sport transmission
Another dominant factor in the agile and dynamic character of the power transfer is the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sport transmission. Thanks to the now shorter transmission ratios in 3rd to 7th gear, the driver experiences even more dynamic acceleration in all speed ranges. Together with optimised response and shift times, the closer ratio spread ensures better transitions when upshifting.
Excellent traction and great driving pleasure: The all-wheel drive AMG Performance 4MATIC
The AMG Performance 4MATIC all-wheel drive system combines the best possible traction with outstanding driving pleasure. To suit the dynamic handling requirements, the Mercedes-AMG A 45 features infinitely variable torque distribution. The range extends from front-wheel drive only to a 50:50 percent distribution to the front and rear axles. In the compact class this variability suited to the driving situation results in an optimum measure of dynamism, efficiency and traction.
Design and aerodynamics:More stability, more dynamism
The influences from motor sport are immediately apparent in the new Mercedes-AMG A 45: the muscular AMG design with new features impressively accentuates the dynamic design idiom of the A-Class. The front skirt in the new A-wing design gives the compact proportions an even sportier emphasis. The distinctive, three-dimensional A-wing also acts as an air feed to the three exclusively styled, AMG-specific cooling air inlets. New LED High Performance headlamps with “eyebrows” as daytime driving lamps are included as standard. The A 45 also shows clear motorsport influences at the rear: the rear apron with four vertical fins and a striking spoiler lip in the diffuser provides a visual highlight.
Yet it is not only the design, but also the aerodynamics of the A 45 that the AMG developers have improved even further. The aim for a sports car is not only to achieve perfect streamlining, but also the greatest possible downforce. In the A 45 the new combination of a spoiler lip under the front splitter, a rear apron with a diffuser insert and an AMG spoiler lip on the roof spoiler generates even more downforce for increased handling stability. These measures also improve the aerodynamic balance, with a positive effect on handling.
Passion for performance extends into the interior
The dynamic and sports character continues in the interior: the new multifunction sport steering wheel ensures a perfect link between the car and its driver. The steering wheel rim with a flattened lower section, perforated leather in the grip area and red contrasting topstitching is both attractive and pleasant to the touch. For better adjustment to suit different body sizes, the sport seats now feature seat cushion depth adjustment as standard.
Thanks to latest-generation telematics, the new A 45 can also be perfectly networked with the modern smartphone and internet environment. Options include e.g. COMAND Online with a WLAN module and extended functions such as optimal smartphone integration by Apple® CarPlay® for iPhones® and MirrorLink®. The Mercedes-AMG A 45 also exudes superiority with respect to safety, for example with improved, innovative safety and driving assistance systems such as the autonomous braking function in COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS, Traffic Sign Assist or the improved ATTENTION ASSIST.