THE new Mercedes A-Class compact hatch will feature heavily on the technology from the S-Class.
The key aspect is the MBUX – a touchscreen interface that is standard on all models, which comes directly from the S-Class: The Mercedes-Benz User Experience.
Standard as a pair of seven inch infotainment screens, there is the option to upgrade to a 10 inch screen or two 10 inch screens.
The driver screen and passenger screen can work independently of each other.
The MBUX can be voice operated with the words ‘Hey Mercedes’ to catch its attention. Intelligent voice recognition allows it to operate several functions.
MBUX is also driver adaptive – over time, says Mercedes, it will learn your preferences: for example, a news radio programme in the morning commute; and a classical station for the evening commute. These MBUX will pre-select for you.
This technology will play a key part in maintaining the A-Class success story in the UK says Mercedes.
Last year the A-Class accounted for 43,717 models sold, while in 2017 the UK was the largest market for A-Class globally.
Kylie Skilton, Product Executive from Mercedes-Benz, believes the new A-Class will accelerate the model’s popularity.
“The new A-Class is an extremely important model for us. It is the first time S-Class technology has been made available in our entry model.”
What’s more, Kylie says the new A-Class will appeal to more buyers than just those wanting a premium German compact to drive.
Mercedes stats report that the average age of European drivers owning an A-Class is more than 10 years younger than for drivers of the preceding model series.
Kylie says the new A-Class will widen the Mercedes appeal to an even younger generation to whom the technology of MBUX appeals.
“We will be targeting drivers of cars such as those who may have chosen a Golf before, as well as drivers of premium compacts.
“And it’s all to do with the technology in the MBUX. It’s the fact that it’s adaptive. If you put on Radio 1 each morning it will recognise this.”
Three model lines for new A-Class
The new Mercedes A-Class will be available in three model lines: SE, Sport and AMG Line.
There is the choice of three engines – just one diesel, an A 180 d – and two petrol models: A 200 and A 250. All have seven speed automatic gearboxes as standard.
Expect the engine range to widen and there will be manual derivatives. However, Kylie says that there will be no PHEV models in the range. Electrification will be full electric only, and we will have to wait until the Paris Motor Show in October before we discover more.
“In terms of how the engine mix will pan out we are still unsure,” says Kylie. “Clearly there has been a shift towards petrol, and this has been reflected in our choice of launch engines. However, our fleet department believes that diesel will remain the key choice for fleets.”
Historical sales data confirms the popularity of diesel – 70% of A-Class models have been diesel, with the biggest selling derivative being the A 180 d thanks to fleet sector success.
“In terms of model lines, we’re expecting more of the same with the AMG Line to be the most popular choice,” Kylie adds.
Three packs combine options
With a nod towards WLTP testing, options are corralled into three packs.
Executive costs £1395 and includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen media display; Active Parking Assist with Parktronic; heated front seats; and Mirror package
Next up is £2395 Premium which adds a 10.25-inch cockpit display – creating a widescreen effect; 64-colour ambient lighting; illuminated door sills; Keyless Go; mid-range sound system; and rear armrest
Premium Plus equipment line costs £3595 and adds memory function for the driver and front passenger seats; multibeam LED headlights with Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus; and panoramic sunroof.
Kylie says that Mercedes is expecting Premium to be the most ordered package in a 35/45/20 split.
Plan to maintain high sales through leasing companies
“The percentage of A-Class sales going through leasing companies has been high and we plan to continue with that,” Kylie confirmed.
She said that Mercedes-Benz was planning a range of events for leasing companies that would showcase the MBUX technology.
The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is on sale now priced from £25,800 for the entry-point A 180 d SE model.
First customer deliveries will be later in June.