The brand new 2019 A-Class sedan is a gateway automotive, and Mercedes-Benz aren’t being coy about it. They’ve designed it to attract in a brand new, youthful era of consumers and get them hooked on the model, filling the sedan with engaging new tech you’d usually should pay via the nostril for.
“It is significant in that it’s the first car in the Mercedes-Benz line-up to get our new MBUX system, and this goes to our democratization of technology,” Rob Moran, Director of Communications Mercedes-Benz USA, identified to me. “You used to see the latest technology would be on our most expensive cars, but now we’re putting it on our most important cars in our launch and that’s why the A-Class is going to be the first one with this technology.”
Up to now, it may need taken years for one thing just like the Mercedes-Benz Consumer Expertise (MBUX) to trickle down from S-Class, by means of E-Class and C-Class, and eventually to automobiles just like the A-Class. Upending that sample is about extra than simply delivering know-how to the market as quickly because it’s able to commercialize, nevertheless. It’s a recognition that, for the A-Class Sedan particularly, you’ll want to cater to what your audience is anticipating.
Even placing know-how apart, although, Mercedes-Benz has reimagined what has up to now been a reasonably polarizing car because the entry-level providing. With the A-Class happening sale within the U.S. in early 2019, right here’s why it is best to ebook your self a check drive.
Child of the Class
If you first lay eyes on the outside design of the brand new A-Class, you’ll be forgiven for doing a double take and questioning which class of Mercedes-Benz you’re taking a look at. Whereas it has its personal distinctive design language, the A-Class seems like an extension of the vary somewhat than the diminutive youthful sister that you simply suspect might have truly been adopted.
The look of the brand new A-Class isn’t for everybody, however I’ll say it appears good when in movement on the street. Bernie Glaser, Head of Product Administration Mercedes-Benz USA described the most recent design language as sensual purity.
“It means that we reduce the lines and the edges and the creases on the car. I want to quote our head of design, Gorden Wagener: ‘If you take a line away and you like it, take another one away.’ That takes you to sensual purity, and if you look at the car you only see one character line running through just below the belt-line and that’s pretty much it. There are no more creases or edges on the car, it’s a very evolutionary design, a very smooth design. That gives it a very sports-car look.”
How this interprets is that the A-Class has sharper angles and creases on the entrance than the automaker’s different fashions. The headlights lean in towards the highest of the grill, giving the viewer the general look that the automotive is being propelled ahead, even when it’s standing nonetheless. The crease-lines on the aspect panels don’t seem as deep as on different automobiles that share this similar design language, with the horizontal strains positioned larger up, giving the four-door a extra taunt, greater ‘waistline’. General, these visible design cues present an agile, enthusiastic and energetic really feel.
Whether or not or not you just like the look of the outside there’s something to be stated for the glossy design, with the A-Class setting a world document for manufacturing automobiles with a coefficient of drag at solely Zero.22. That ought to pay dividends for fuel-economy.
‘Hey Mercedes’ brings the automotive to life
Software program is shortly turning into a serious differentiator between automobiles, and the A-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz mannequin to be outfitted with the brand new MBUX. Prime degree, meaning easy-to-use touch-screens, reinvented menus, and clever voice management.
MBUX was introduced at CES this yr and actually creates a singular expertise for Mercedes-Benz. Having lately pushed a number of new automobiles – from producers who I’ll chorus from naming right here – with voice management options, I can inform you that ‘Hey Mercedes’ is miles forward when it comes to each performance and consistency. Not solely are you able to management a seemingly infinite record of auto options — from navigation by means of to cabin temperature — however you can too ask Mercedes something you want, from the present soccer scores to the which means of life. When you’re curious, Mercedes subscribes to the Douglas Adams Concept of 42: The reply to life, the universe and every thing.
She’s sensible, and getting smarter on a regular basis. The MBUX assistant learns your habits and may make recommendations: to get you to work quicker by way of a much less congested route than what you’d usually take, for example, or be extra useful, akin to mechanically pulling up the contacts you name most frequently each Thursday morning. There are not any particular phrases to be discovered both, as Mercedes is utilizing pure language recognition. Feeling chilly? All you might want to say is “Hey Mercedes, I’m freezing” and she or he’ll bump up the temperature. She will additionally deal with complicated requests and follow-up questions. Inform her you’re hungry for deep dish pizza at a family-friendly restaurant alongside your route and she or he’ll make some ideas. Then ask her to type them by worth or star score and she or he’ll fortunately oblige.
A collaboration with SoundHound for the voice management right here within the US is answerable for ‘Hey Mercedes’ accuracy, velocity and skill to help context together with complicated and compound queries.
The group at Mercedes say they gained’t provide the choice to vary the identify of your automotive: her identify is Mercedes and that’s the way it will keep. And if the youngsters begin demanding she re-route you to the closest ice-cream parlor, or hold making an attempt to vary the radio to the Disney channel, you possibly can simply cancel the request by way of a button on the steering wheel or central contact display.
Along with clever voice management, the entire menu expertise has been redesigned. The 7-inch – or elective 10.25-inch – touchscreen provides the swipe, pinch and scroll performance you’re used to in your telephone, and there’s no digging by means of infinite layers of menus to get to the belongings you need. For instance, if you wish to change your car settings you possibly can pan round a real-time render of your automotive, and click on on issues just like the headlights to convey up these specific settings.
“We drastically rethought how you build a user interface,” Alex Hindergard, Designer on MBUX, defined to me. “When you click on an application you can deep-dive, but in many cases you don’t even have to. We designed the home screen with most of your favorite applications and features to be right there on the first or second level.”
With the instrument panel additionally being digital, you’ve the choice to rearrange the gauges nevertheless you’d like. Alternatively you’ll be able to merely use the the built-in themes, or custom-made their format.
Navigation has been overhauled too, together with options born from Mercedes-Benz’s collaboration with UK firm, What3Words. Each three meter sq. of earth has been designated a three-word identifier, so when you don’t have a road tackle however you’ve appeared up the situation within the What3Words app, Mercedes will take you there, even when it’s the center of the desert.
As a part of the non-compulsory multimedia package deal you additionally get Mercedes-Benz navigation with augmented actuality. Whereas it’s doesn’t flip the windshield right into a clear show, it does superimpose navigation directions over your real-world view via the central display, together with floating road numbers over buildings and highlighting visitors indicators.
A-Class measurement with S-Class security
The inside of the A-Class is designed properly, with loads of room: it has the texture of a a lot bigger automotive. You get an enormous panoramic glass roof as commonplace, whereas the backlit, turbine-inspired air vents have been taken from Mercedes-Benz’s costlier choices. There are 64 totally different colours out there for the ambient lighting, and you may even set it to vary the colour of the air vents as you improve or lower the temperature.
You’ll be able to select from quite a lot of high-quality inside finishes, with my favourite being the titanium gray and black leather-based with brushed aluminum trim. Nevertheless, regardless of which choices you select, you possibly can anticipate to expertise the consolation and luxurious that Mercedes is understood for. Even after two full days of driving I felt relaxed and refreshed.
You’re additionally getting all the security and help methods you’ll discover within the S-Class, from Lively Distance Help DISTRONIC, Lively Brake Help with Cross-Visitors perform, Lively Emergency Cease Help to Route-Based mostly Velocity Adaption. The A-Class is able to safely driving semi-autonomously because of improved digital camera and radar methods that permit it to see greater than 1,500 ft forward, and by tapping map and navigation knowledge for extra help.
The Lively Lane Holding Help is likely one of the greatest I’ve skilled, even round sharp bends at comparatively excessive speeds, and I used to be capable of take my palms from the wheel for for much longer than most different automobiles will permit. There was no ping-ponging between strains and also you merely faucet the flip sign to make a lane change. The security and smarts on this automotive virtually make highways and peak-hour visitors one thing to look ahead to.
The A-Class comes with 17-inch wheels however you possibly can improve to 18-inch and even 19-inch, and add the elective AMG package deal for a extra aggressive look. The shark-nose entrance finish is provided with LED lights, whereas the rear lights taper in the direction of the center of the automotive to provide the impression of a good wider stance.
The four-door A-Class is obtainable in A 220 and A 220 4MATIC fashions, each with a 2.Zero-liter turbocharged inline four cylinder engine, producing 188 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 7G-DCT dual-clutch. Whereas not precisely fast off the road, the A-Class is a pleasure to drive at velocity, and has greater than sufficient overtaking energy. It additionally hugs the street, and I used to be capable of have some actual enjoyable once we received off the freeway and into some extra playful turns.
Briefly, you possibly can look forward to finding a whole lot of usually-expensive options packed into this entry-level sedan which makes it a powerful providing, notably given pricing is predicted to start out at round $30,000. From the hands-free trunk opening to the clever voice management I fell in love with the A-Class in pretty brief order. It’s only a pity my love was unrequited. Once I informed Mercedes that I beloved her, she responded with ‘And I love road trips’. Ouch.