Now the Germans are proud of the new Mercedes A-Class almost more than the luxury Eskoy or AMG sports cars. It was with A-Class that the global renewal and change of the brand image began. The first was a hatchback. The next step is a sedan, presented in Paris. His test drive was held before the French motor show – in the US state of Washington, in the scenery of the famous “Twin Peaks”.
In Mercedes, they like to emphasize that 70% of customers who bought an A-Class remain true to the brand. This is not surprising, because since the baby Mercedes evolved from the unpretentious hatchback of the first generations into an elegant sports sedan, the transition has been made much easier.
But there is another problem: if you leave a new sedan in the parking lot next to the CLA, then after returning you will definitely confuse them. But you can’t be mentally confused: at Mercedes they are sure that the A-Class is more practical and designed for a different audience.
Even the representatives of Mercedes on the sidelines admitted that they were not able to distinguish their models from each other from afar. We have to look for and pay attention to some little things. I like interclass differences much more, but the current trend towards smoothing them out (not only in the automotive industry) is very strong and, alas, we have to put up with it.
In the case of the A-Class, this is easy to do. Hatch was great, sedan and eclipsed him. At gas stations in the Washington outback, local admiringly clattering their tongues, getting into their huge pickups. All banal epithets like dynamic, elegant and stylish here come to the place. If we continue the comparison with CLA, then the features of the image have become softer, and the side stamping has been limited to one line. The doors for some reason began to close worse – you have to slam. Let’s write it on a test copy. Or is it a matter of new noise insulation seals? The coefficient of aerodynamics has become even better than the CLA, and is now equal to 0,22. This is the best figure among all serial sedans.
But the main thing – as always inside. If you already sat in the cabin of the hatchback, then feel free to skip this paragraph. If not, then read, and then go to the dealer to sit and touch. And talk (about this later). So, no matter how I wanted to avoid the “best in class” stamps, he really is. Due to the specifics of the test drive, I got the interior with the AMG package, but in the basic version, harmony, build quality, ergonomics, and attention to detail do not go anywhere.
The fact that this is an A-Class, is only noticeable if you look closely at the materials – in some places there is still cheap plastic, although Mercedes reasonably uses it not in the most conspicuous places. The rest is respect for the details.
Almost the most elegant element in the cabin is a comfortable steering wheel with touchpads on both sides: the right controls multimedia, the left controls cruise control. Armchairs – classic sport buckets for AMG and simply ergonomic for the basic version, with lateral support, a bunch of options for setting, heated and ventilated. Even here, ambient lighting comes from the luxury segments, branded deflectors a la air turbine, which wink red, it is only necessary to raise the temperature and, of course, it. MBUX’s newest multimedia system is the Mercedes-Benz User Expierence.
Yes, MBUX will not surprise, for example, the owner of the BMW 7-Series and even the buyer of the top-end Volvo XC90. The thing is different: if competitors are introducing top-end units to the flagships, gradually lowering them down the model line, then Mercedes has the best at once received by the working class. A single digital panel is available in three variations: in the top it has two screens of 10.25 inches, in the base with seven-inch.
I am glad that you can control MBUX in any way you like – and poking your fingers at the screen (for some reason there were no traces left) and with the help of the touchpad. And some of the functions like the same climate control are also duplicated by physical buttons. It is very convenient to control, it is impossible to detach from studying various lotions. Take at least the navigation, which is in full use of the camera to create augmented reality.
Many years ago, the brand received its name in honor of the daughter of one of the co-owners of the company Daimler. The name Mercedes has always been strictly masculine – brutal and important. And now, finally, the historical injustice is partially fixed – Mercedes spoke in a female voice.
Mercedes’s voice assistant is not as clever as Alice, but has something to offer. The problem is that in order to preserve confidential data, the Google machine is not capable, but can only access the information that the developers have stitched into its cloud.
You can call the assistant with the help of the lever on the steering wheel, or with your voice, saying, “Hello, Mercedes.” However, sometimes she responded to one name, which made the discussion of the car a bit difficult, although it was quite nice. She coped immaculately with tasks like weather forecast or finding the nearest gas station, instantly changing the route in navigation, but for the time being she found it more difficult to conduct more complex conversations, as she sometimes didn’t understand quite clearly pronounced phrases.
It was a bit annoying that if the assistant did not understand the question, she answered: “How can I help?” As if asking again and making it clear that she had not heard the command at all. Mercedes teaches patience. They say that this is quickly corrected in the process of self-learning and even getting used to the owner’s intonations, but there was no time to check this maxim. But the answers to the requests “what is the meaning of life” and “tell a joke” were always different and sometimes even funny.
On the test in Washington were available only cars in version A220 with front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.
The “robot” works perfectly: switching is fast, smooth, there was no jerking. Will the A200 motor have enough dynamics and will it be as great as the 188-hp version? Rather, yes. Acceleration will be a little less frisky, but otherwise it will be all the same well and easily controlled by Mercedes, with no roll in corners and a good suspension.
On empty winding roads in Washington, it was not possible to force the car to slide – the included stabilization system works ahead of schedule and does not allow stupid things to be done. In version A200, McPherson racks are installed at the front, and a beam instead of a multi-link is installed at the back. More powerful versions, and 4MATIC all-wheel drive models, are equipped with a four-link rear suspension.
The latter seemed stiff when driving on a cobbled pavement and undulating road. Insulation proved to be slightly better than average by the standards of the class – perhaps this can be attributed to the AMG package with lowered suspension and 19-inch wheels with hard low-profile tires.
Advanced electronic assistants came to the A-Class from the S-Class. Many sensors and cameras allow the sedan to look around for half a kilometer and move almost offline. At least, during the test, we calmly drove 10 km, only occasionally touching the steering wheel, and even when the alert system required it. I was also very pleased with the control of rebuilds, which noticeably resisted shifting to another row without turning on the turn signal. In the list of assistants there is also an extended active system of emergency braking and emergency stop, but, fortunately, they were not tested.
Prices for the smallest sedan Mercedes have not yet been announced. But do not be surprised if the new product will be more expensive than the CLA – it will be fair.