After Volvo revealed the V40, it is now Mercedesí turn to heat up the hatchback segment with the release of its all new A-Class. The new model adopts a more hatchback-like body styling as compared to its predecessor, which looks more like a mini-MPV.
The new A-Class is built upon the Stuttgartís new modular front architecture platform. Measuring 4292mm (L) x 1,780mm (B) x 1,433mm (H), it is 32mm shorter than its arch rival, the BMW 1 series. As compared to the new Volvo V40, it is shorter by a more significant 77mm. In my opinion, this is the right size as a hatchback should not be too long, otherwise it will end up looking like a station wagon.
At launch, the A-Class will be offered with three 4-cylinder petrol power plants. The A180 will be equipped with a 1.6L turbocharged unit producing 121 bhp. This sounds a bit weak as compared to the BMW 116iís 136 bhp TwinPower Turbo 1.6L. Next up is the A200, which is powered by a 154 bhp version of the same 1.6L turbo. The most powerful petrol version at the moment is the A250, which is propelled by a 2.0L turbo delivering a Golf GTI-rivaling 208 bhp. On the diesel front, the A180 CDI is powered by a 108 bhp 1.8L with 250Nm of torque. The A200 CDI uses the same unit but tuned for 134 bhp and 250Nm. The A220 CDI utilizes a 2.2L turbocharged unit that delivers 168bhp with 350Nm of twist. All versions can be ordered with a new six-speed manual gearbox or an optional 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission. Mercedes is also planning a super hot AMG version that will use a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that is expected to generate over 300 bhp.
The front-wheel-drive A-Class comes equipped with ECO start/stop function as standard. Other goodies include Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and an application which allows the driver to integrate his iphone into the carís infotainment system. Discerning drivers can opt for the AMG Sport package for sportier styling and a more dynamic chassis.