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Technology boost to new Mercedes-Benz A-Class

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The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class will arrive on UK roads in June in what its designers describe is a form “grown up and comfortable like never before.”

The car’s designers are promising greater refinement and class-leading technology for the sixth-generation small hatch, several functions previously only offered on luxury cars progressing down to the A-Class including a degree of semi-autonomous driving capability.

While using the same platform as its predecessor, the new A-Class has a 30mm longer wheelbase, which frees up more interior space particularly in the boot. Capacity goes up 29 litres to 370 litres, with a 12cm longer floor and a 20cm wider loading aperture. A sleeker body shape with more steeply sloping bonnet produces a 0.25Caerodynamic figure, which Mercedes says is class-leading and producing improved fuel economy and emissions.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class The Car Expert
Interior features radical cockpit redesign.

The interior is completely redesigned with the emphasis on more space. A major new take on the cockpit design sees the gap between the instrument display and the centre console infotainment screen filled to produce an effectively one-piece dash. This can be specified in three ways – either as two seven-inch displays, one seven and one ten inch, or two ten-inch variants.

An all-new multimedia system is dubbed the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) and set to be rolled out across future models. The system is said to be able to learn the operator’s requirements through the use of artificial intelligence, as well as offering extensive personalisation. The system operates through touchscreen functions or through a new form of voice control, activated by speaking “Hey Mercedes,” in similar form to the Apple Siri or Amazon Elexa technologies.

Autonomous tech

A range of new technologies will be launched under the Mercedes Me Connect banner, including intelligent navigation, a vehicle tracker that can remotely alert the driver if an incident happens to their vehicle while parked, and functions such as the availability of car park spaces and filling station prices.

The new A-Class will be offered with driver assistance systems using improved radar and camera technology. Semi-autonomous functions available will include the ability to read the navigation map and adjust the car’s speed when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts, lane-changing assistance and emergency braking and stopping.

The Mercedes-Benz A-class will go on sale initially with three engine options, all of which are said to be new or improved. They range across 1.4-litre 163hp and 2.0-litre 224hp four-cylinder petrol engines and a 1.5-litre diesel of 126hp. All are specified with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto transmission, though the smaller petrol unit can also be ordered with a six-speed manual gearbox. All-wheel-drive will also be available as an option.

The auto version of the 1.4 petrol and the diesel will be available at launch, the 2.0-litre petrol following in summer 2018 and the manual by the end of the year. UK prices for the A-Class will be announced closer to order books opening in March.

 

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.