Mercedes-Benz A-Class – third-gen takes over the mantle

Remember the cutesy MPV-looking vehicle from Mercedes-Benz? Well, it looks like the baby Mercedes is all grown up and ready to face the world – the new-generation A-Class, or the W176 if you will, has arrived.

UPDATE: The Mercedes-Benz A-Class has been officially launched in Malaysia. Read our launch report and view the pics here.

For starters, the A-Class is 4,292 mm long, 1,780 wide and 1,433 mm tall. It also crouches 180 mm closer to the road when compared to its predecessor, no doubt to match its exciting exterior that tears away the stigma of the brand for boring and balding. And if that is not enough, the A-Class retains the diamond grille that was first seen on the Concept A-Class. Refresh your memory here.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class – third-gen takes over the mantle

If the tight design of the sheet metal isn’t enough, the daylight running lamps and indicators have been organised to give out a distinctive ‘flare effect’. It only highlights the company’s desire to appeal to a younger (or young at heart) audience.

As for the rear, the taillights, which consists of fibre-optic cables and LED modules, continues the muscular lines and the A-Class’ stocky width.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class – third-gen takes over the mantle

The interior injects that youthful feel as well, with a high-quality feel of course. It comes with trim surfaces that feature an electroplated finish in ‘silver chrome’ for a ‘cool touch’ effect and the option to pair the car via an iPhone app (more smartphones to be added to the list soon). And then there are the ‘little’ details that pull your attention, such as the air vents that are said to stand out like ‘sparkling jewels’.

The A-Class comes in petrol and diesel powerplants. Mercedes-Benz claims that this is the first time it has produced a vehicle that emits just 99g of CO2 per kilometer. All engines also come standard with an ECO start/stop function.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class – third-gen takes over the mantle

There are three permutations for the petrol engine. The A 180 has a 1.6 litre that produces 115 hp, while the A 200’s 2.0 litre is good for 156 hp and the A250 is powered by a 2.0 litre 211 hp engine. All the engines will feature direct injection and exhaust gas turbocharging.

Specific to the 1.6 litre engine – a first for Mercedes-Benz – is something called CAMTRONIC, which restricting the amount of fresh mixture via the adjustments of valves on the intake side. What this means in English is that the system further reduces fuel consumption.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class – third-gen takes over the mantle

There are three choices for the diesels as well. The A 180 CDI outputs 109 hp and 250 Nm, the A 200 CDI is rated at 136 hp and 300 Nm, and the A 220 CDI (with its 2.2 litre engine) offers 170 hp and 350 Nm. All engines can be partnered with either the new six-speed manual transmission or the 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Ride and handling duties of the new A-Class will be taken care of by a new four-link rear axle, which together with its lower centre of gravity gives the A-Class the credentials to slip on the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system. There’s also the option for customers to tweak suspension settings. The electromechanical steering has also been completely redesigned and repositioned to make usage of the Dual Pinion EPS possible.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class – third-gen takes over the mantle

As for safety features, well Mercedes-Benz says that the A-Class is the only one in its class to feature the radar-based Collision Prevention Assist as standard. The A-Class also comes with a wide menu of safety tools like the Pre-safe, Brake Hold function, Hill-Start Assist, Distronic Plus, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Active Parking Assist and Speed Limit Assist, to name a few.

The question is, will we see a Malaysia-bound A-Class? If it does arrive it should be sometime next year.

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