Monday, August 27, 2012

Mercedes-Benz A Car-class review

Third to arrive in 2012’s trio of premium hatchbacks, will the new Mercedes A-class pass with flying colours?
Mercedes-Benz A-class review
Image a pair of of three
The A-class vary starts from £19,000
Andrew English
By Apostle English
12:18PM BST eleven Jul 2012
Comments20 Comments
This year has been like associate fete of premiumness in my family. I wear a jacket and neckwear in any respect times and our freshly kempt dog lifts his paw to the mail carrier. We’ve poshed up in preparation for the invasion of the premium makers to the cor-blimey family hatchback market, beginning with Audi’s A3, then Volvo’s V40 and currently Mercedes-Benz with its new A-class, star at the Geneva show in March and on sale this winter.
Having launched the initial A-class in 1996 (and once more the subsequent year when the automotive splendidly rolled throughout a Scandinavian elk-avoidance test), Mercedes set that its clever sandwich-floor construction, sit-up-and-beg styling and family friendly credentials would ne'er sell enough to understand its plans for world domination. Instead, it's created a premium hatchback aimed toward the C-sector, one in all Europe’s biggest.
Whisper this, however a premium hatchback is just about like all alternative hatchback, however travels in a very miasma of bovine effluent. “A is for attack,” boasted Dieter Zetsche, Mercedes-Benz’s chief govt, at the car’s unveiling in Geneva. It’s a prize value fighting for, with the C-segment premium share foreseen to grow from five.8 million in 2 years to seven.7 million in 2020.
This new baby Merc is actually enticing, particularly at the front, wherever a good grille feeds into the clamshell bonnet and into heavily rough sides. With a constant of drag of zero.27Cd, this is often one in all the slipperiest hatches during this category. The rear isn't such successful, wanting slabby from some angles.
From the driver’s seat, views to the front ar fine in spite of the thick pillars and low windshield. Rear views ar compromised by the little car window and facet views by the huge B pillars – the blind-spot warning system is quite a gimmick.
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In quality of materials and build, the A-class doesn’t quite match the class-leading normal of Audi’s new A3; there ar some poor material decisions on the centre console and therefore the facultative phonephone holder is freaky. That said, the standard of style surpasses the marginally dated Audi, particularly the instrument housing with its little inset dials for fuel contents and agent temperature. does one actually need 5 connective tissue vents? maybe not, however they give the impression of being sensible. And, due to a wiring loom from Merc’s larger models, there’s a selection of all the toys you'll play with (or afford), as well as skeleton-pattern electrical seat adjusters, intelligent management|control|controller} and a winch control for the satnav.
The standard front seats feel exhausting however provide a cushty driving position and therefore the rears accommodate a few of six footers with head and leg space to spare, though a 3rd adult goes to be press. At 341 litres, the boot isn’t category leading, however sufficiently big for a few of huge suitcases.
The chassis isn’t the last word in innovation. MacPherson strut front and freelance rear suspension may are cold chiselled off a Ford Focus. all-around disc brakes have economy single-piston swinging calipers and therefore the rack-and-pinion steering is electronically motor-assisted. What the initial 1996 A-class offered in technical skill has been replaced by conscientious refinement of class-standard parts.
The engine selection echoes that of the B-class, that shares this chassis. 3 turbodiesels and 3 gas engines, with a selection of six-speed manual or Mercedes’s own seven-speed, twin-clutch transmission. there'll be 5 main model lines: Base, SE, Sport, AMG Sport and one top-model A250 Sport “engineered by AMG”. costs can begin at underneath £19,000, that is keen, however that’s for a manual, 1.6-litre gas stripped out sort of a cataclysm.
We tried the one05bhp 1.8-litre turbodiesel initial, with the seven-speed twin-clutch shell and sports suspension. The engine is refined and powerful enough to haul one.5 tons with cheap life. It additionally looks quieter than once fitted in longwise engined cars, with less noise, harshness and vibration during this crosswise application. This was confirmed by Jörg Prigl, the vice-president of compact cars at Mercedes. If something the gas various was even higher, additional versatile and nicer to drive, though clearly it uses additional fuel.
The seven-speed is very economical in any respect quickens to quick, however not nearly as good because the tight manual selection once you persist. it's reluctant to skip down ratios once coming into corners and you finish up driving to match the transmission. The default is to go away it in automatic, which type of misses the purpose.
Prigl claims that one in all the explanations Mercedes has created such a standard hatchback is that the demand for it to be showy. “The recent A-class was so much too useful and unemotional,” he says. it had been additionally pricey to create. nevertheless the sports suspension choice is way too harsh, with a trembling, unsteady ride on even the smoothest surfaces.
Mechanical grip is kind of sensible, however the automotive feels cumbersome and doesn’t flow. Competitors like the V40 ride far better, the A3 is dynamically superior and attention would go away all of them for dead.
Mercedes’ “direct steer” system is as horrid because the sports suspension. It’s so much too significant, inconsistently weighted and, to take care of a line on a throughway, you've got to meet the factitious resistance like associate recent geographic area leaning against the room door frame on a hot day.
A bit of a disaster, then? underneath the heaviest pressure, Merc force out a few of standard-suspended cars and therefore the improvement was exceptional. Fluent, fine riding, with abundant improved steering, this is often the automotive you would like. The steering still fizzes along side the paved surface, however the quality suspension puts the new
A-class slap bang in competition with its rivals; it's a beautiful machine to drive and fairly sharp once you need to create progress. It’s value noting that each one kingdom cars can have this “comfort” suspension as normal.
In the end, the A-class can sell by the bucketload strictly on the strength of its rootage. The Volvo and therefore the Audi have marginally higher dynamics, however the Merc provides you a star on the bonnet and that’s vital during this badge-obsessed world.
And just in case you were unsure, there's a distinction between premium and non-premium, though that tends to be felt largely within the cabin, wherever the former’s materials and construction ar superior. If you'll live while not a fashionable  cabin and therefore the badge, phone a Ford or Honda dealer, then book a vacation with all the money you’ll save.
Mercedes-Benz A-class
Tested: 1,461cc, four-cyl turbodiesel, six-speed manual transmission, front-wheel drive
Price/on sale: £19,000-£29,000/end of the year
Power/torque: 108bhp @ four,000rpm/192lb linear unit @ one,750rpm
Top speed: 118mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in eleven.3sec
Fuel economy: seventy four.3mpg (EU Combined)
CO2 emissions: 98g/km
VED band: A (£0)
Verdict: With the proper suspension, the new A-class encompasses a fine ride combined with a number of the most effective engines within the game.
Telegraph rating: Four out of 5 stars
Volvo V40, from £19,745
Very nice reinterpretation of the Ford Focus chassis, that handles well however rides higher. Slightly strange digital dashboard takes some learning, however safety is at the highest of the category, as ar the seats. astonishingly competent and enticing selection within the premium market.
Audi A3, from £19,205
Redesigned therefore you’d scarcely notice, Audi’s Golf-based hatch uses metallic element to trim its weight and (optional) advanced suspension systems to mollify the possibly harsh ride of the sports versions. pretty cabin and extremely sensible to drive, however uninteresting to seem at.

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