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Mercedes Benz: An A-Class Experience

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Mercedes Benz: An A-Class Experience

Bobby Buys
February 1, 2014

Despite the fact that Mercedes runs a pretty successful Formula 1 Grand Prix racing team, the overall brand image leans towards solid technology and impressive engineering rather than sportiness and excitement.

The new Mercedes A-Class threatens to turn that image around. Whereas the previous model was small, conservative and largely unexciting, the new model, with its low slung body, large wheels and body shape that reminds you more of a coupe, has much more sporty lines and an all-round energetic look.

From the slinky, arrow-shaped front end through to the muscular looking rear, the new A-class resembles a finely trained athlete. The curved roof line, together with the deeply creased door panels and rising shoulder line, adds to the muscular impression.

The sporty feel continues inside. A colour LCD screen provides the driver interface with the prime systems, such as information, entertainment, navigation and communications via a rotary controller. As expected from Mercedes, the interior oozes high quality.

But the A-class is not just one model. With a wide range of engines, drive systems and interior packages you can virtually design your own A-class specifically tailored for just your needs.

There are six engine variations available, three turbo diesel and three turbo petrol models, ranging from the A180 CDI with a capacity of 1461cc to the A220 CDI at 2143cc in the diesel category, or the A180 (1595cc) up to the A250 Sport (1991cc) for the petrol engines.

Whether you prefer manual or automatic transmission, the A-class range has both available as options. The six speed manual transmission is standard on the A180 CDI and the A200, while the optional 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission combines the benefits of sportiness, economy and comfort with a unique system incorporating two sub-transmissions which ensures immediate gear changes.

The 7G-DCT system can be used in three differing modes, economy, sport or manual, selectable through a switch on the centre console. Selecting manual mode enables the driver to shift gears using the racing style paddles on the steering column.

Safety has been a strong point with Mercedes vehicles and the A-class is no exception. From a range of warning systems, accident preventative systems such as ABS, through to injury reducing systems should the worst happen the A-class is designed to keep you safe on the roads.

So there you have it. A radical departure from the rather staid and solid previous A-class and an opportunity for Mercedes to break into the sporty hatchback category. However, this welcome addition to the Mercedes range faces stiff competition from the likes of the BMW 1-class and the Audi A3. Whether it succeeds or not, only time will tell. But it certainly shows promise.

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