Mercedes-Benz is known for its sedans. After all, for a long time and even today, sedans and luxury are used almost synonymously in the automotive world. There are few brands in the world that can match Mercedes in luxury department, let alone better it. So when the German carmaker decided to offer a hatchback in India, there were mixed emotions. There were people (like me) who rejoiced. There were not-so-enthused types too. The car in question, the third-gen A-Class, came via the Completely Built Unit (CBU) route to the country. It got enthusiasts on its side with its playful dynamics and practical body style for India. The new car is a fourth-gen model. What does the new car bring to the table and should you wait for this car’s India launch (that is, will it be worth your consideration)?
|Variants||A 200||A 250||A 180 d|
|Price||Euro 30,232 – 32,326 (approx Rs 24.14 – 25.82 lakh)||Euro 36,461 (approx Rs 29.12 lakh)||Euro 31,398 (approx Rs 25.08 lakh)|
|Engine||16-valve, turbocharged, 1.33-litre inline-4 petrol||16-valve, turbocharged, 2.0-litre inline-4 petrol||8-valve, turbocharged, 1.5-litre inline-4 diesel|
|Transmission||6-speed manual/7-speed 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic||7-speed 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic||7-speed 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic|
|Front Suspension||McPherson struts with coil-over springs||McPherson struts with coil-over springs||McPherson struts with coil-over springs|
|Rear Suspension||Torsion beam with coil springs||Multi-link with coil-over springs||Torsion beam with coil springs|
|Front Brake||Vented disc brakes||Vented disc brakes||Vented disc brakes|
|Rear Brake||Solid disc brakes||Solid disc brakes||Solid disc brakes|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||
43 litres with 5-litre reserve (51-litre tank available as an option)
What’s new about the Mercedes-Benz A-Class?
The fourth-gen Mercedes-Benz A-Class is packed to the brim. Since it is an all-new model, let’s start with the car’s design. The A-Class carries Mercedes’ Sensual Purity design language and looks quite good. It is characterized by a sloping hood which ends in a flat nose up front, giving this car a bare-knuckle brawler-like feel. The bonnet has a few creases to accentuate that brawler feel. On the side, one can see two creases. One of these runs from the front fender along the car’s waistline to the taillamp on either side. The other runs between between the wheel arches. These convey the feeling that this car is not all about brawling and knows a few moves too.
The rear is neat and devoid of lines but unlike the front end, it slopes easy from the roof down. Styling elements give the car a sleek appearance. The pinched headlamps up front have integrated L-shaped LED DRLs. The front bumper gives the car a sporty look with two faux air intakes and a central air dam (going by pics). The jewel-effect diamond grille houses a big three-pointed star with a chrome-lined slat. The wheels offered measure between 16 inches to 19 inches in diameter. The rear gets pinched-effect taillamps, registration plate housing in boot lid, and twin exhaust pipes.
Inside, the dashboard has dual-layer finish with the top part finished in black and the lower part in beige. However, what one will likely notice first is the dual screens on the dashboard. This means only one thing – this car now gets MBUX (more on this in a bit). The centre console feature three A/c vents and some controls. The bottom part, where a driver’s hand will rest, is finished in piano black trim. The best bit about this interior is that this dual-layer scheme has been executed all around the cabin (even door panels get the same finish) for a wraparound look. Not to miss is the ambient lighting strip across the black portion of the dashboard.
In the engine bay, owners will get an option of three engines – two petrol and one diesel. The smaller petrol engine carries M 282 internal designation (available in A 200) and displaces 1.33 litres. Developed in collaboration with Renault, this engine has four cylinder, is turbocharged, and has cylinder deactivation feature to save fuel too. It makes 163HP power and 250Nm torque. It will be available with two transmission options – a seven-speed 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic (developed with Getrag) and a six-speed manual. Either transmission sends engine power to front wheels (a 4Matic four-wheel drive option will arrive later).
The second petrol engine is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit with M 260 internal designation. It is a development of the M 270 engine with 6 per cent increase in output. This engine makes 224HP power and 350Nm torque and is paired to a seven-speed 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic gearbox and can send its power to just the front wheels or all four wheels (via the 4Matic all-wheel drive system).
Lastly, there’s the 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine with OM 608 internal designation. It is a development of the OM 607 diesel engine with more power and is Euro 6d emissions’ compliant (will likely comply with India’s BS-VI emission norms too). The increased power is a result of an electric actuator in the turbocharger and increased injection system pressure to 2000 bar. This engine, co-developed with Renault, makes 116HP power and 260Nm torque. It is paired to a seven-speed 7G-DCT dual-clutch gearbox that sends power to the front wheels.
That’s all well and good. However, the real party trick to the new A-Class is the MBUX infotainment system. Keen followers of everything auto know about it – dual digital displays, different layouts, touchscreen navigation, and a host of other features. In this case, there is a new trick too. Mercedes-Benz uses Augmented Reality (AR) to help the user navigate his/her way around. For this, the car uses a camera up front. This camera’s feed is augmented with overlays on navigation display. This helps the driver navigate to a specific house on a street (for instance) without hassle.
For the first year of sale, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class Edition 1 will be on sale. Based on the AMG Line trim, this car will have numerous highlights in Edition Green colour. This will be offered with all three engine options. Equipment like sports seats, ambient lighting, and LED headlamps will be standard features too.
Is the Mercedes-Benz A-Class worth consideration?
That depends on whether one likes hatchbacks or not. More importantly, does the said person think a hatchback can be as comfortable/sporty as a sedan or not? A spin in the previous A-Class saw many people buying one. Yes, that three-pointed star has something to do with it too. However, one cannot deny the fact that even in a hatchback, no one does luxury better than Mercedes-Benz. The third-gen A-Class is both luxurious and sporty and the new model will likely build on those aspects.
All said, there is still one problem with the A-Class currently on sale – price. The hatchback came to India via the CBU route, inflating its sticker price to cost similar to that of a Toyota Fortuner. From a pure driving dynamics perspective, the price isn’t half that big of a problem. However, from a value-for-money perspective, the case for the A-Class became weak from the get-go.
Will Mercedes-Benz go the CBU route in getting the fourth-gen A-Class to India? Will it go for CKD route? No one knows. What is worth knowing is the price it will come at. It will be key to this car’s success here and making the Mercedes-Benz brand more accessible to people. Let’s wait and see what the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class’ sticker says on that.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class – Synopsis
- Prices start at Euro 30,232 (approx Rs 24.14 lakh at current exchange rate)
- Is the least expensive model from Mercedes-Benz
- Fourth-generation model brings new engines, tech to the A-Class nameplate
- Gets two petrol engines and one diesel engine
- Transmission options include a six-speed manual and a seven-speed 7GDCT dual-clutch automatic
- Will be offered with a torsion beam rear suspension as well
- Can be equipped with 4Matic all-wheel drive system as well
- Clean exterior design influenced by Sensual Purity design language, highlighted by sleek-looking styling elements
- Interior gets a dual-tone wraparound design, also features MBUX infotainment system
- Gets AR support to help driver navigate to destination with ease
- Edition 1 will get add-ons like LED headlamps, sports seats, and ambient lighting as standard features