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First Drive: 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 BlueEfficiency
Ride and Review +VIDEO
2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 BlueEfficiency
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel
LLUBLJANA, Slovenia - July 13, 2013: Mercedes-Benz wants to be taken
serious in the compact premium segment. That is why the Germans say
‘A’ stands for ‘attack’. It means that the new
A-Class is ready to submit hell to competitors like the Audi A3 and the BMW
1 Series. To accomplish this, the new ‘A ‘ has been transformed
into a sporty hatchback.
The first A-Class which arrived in 1997 had a sandwich floor
enabling the storage of a battery pack in a possible future electric model.
But its blocky design and high stance was less attractive to younger
customers than the Germans had hoped.
That should change now with the arrival of the new generation A-Class,
which is the second model after the B-Class, and both based on the new
developed front-wheel and four-wheel drive architecture,
With its sporty looks, the 2013 A-Class should specifically attract
younger people. Mercedes wants to lure them into the brand hoping they will
grow into the C- or E-Class or one of the other models. In this respect,
the B-Class which entered the markets last year, so far has been
successful, with sales 50 per cent higher than expected and half of its
customers coming from many different brands.
The underpinnings of the A-Class are the same as of the B, but the
wheel base is shorter and the set up of the suspension is more dynamic. You
may not expect a GTI-like character, but that does not mean the driving
capabilities of the A-Class are not dynamic: ton the contrary, the smallest
Benz offers a lot of driving fun.
The A Class desbuts at Geneva Motor Show
With front wheel drive, I expected the A to display some understeer,
but you really have to enter a corner extremely fast in order to provoke
this. During the lane change and in fast corners, the rear end even wants
to break out a little bit. If you try to get more, the ESP system takes
over and safely directs the car back in line.
We drove the A 200 BlueEfficiency that has the 1.6-liter petrol
engine, teamed to the excellent 7G-DTC dual clutch transmission. This
four-cylinder has 115 kW/156 hp and 184 pound-feet of torque between
1,250-4,000 rpm and is powerful en flexible enough for people who to
conquer winding roads in the mountains. Bad roads with bumps hardly have any effect on the comfort, even with the
lowered suspension of our A-Class which was fitted with the AMG Sport Line.
This means that ‘our’ test car had also Direct Steer, which
enhances steering input, while the lowered sports suspension and 18-inch
AMG wheels with 225/40 rubber improves handling.
The interior looks very nice, with the same sophistication that we
find in the A’s bigger brothers. A sporty touch is provided by big
SLS-inspired air vents and other AMG
Exclusive details such as the
3-spoke steering wheel with a flattened bottom, the sports instrument panel
with red needles, sports pedals, red stitching and last but not least
details in carbon-fiber look
In the interior, wind and road noice are practically nil. The sport
seats are excellent, but then, I never have had any complaints about
Mercedes seats. On long hauls, I could sit on the standard seats in my
former E-Class Estate for hours.
Talking about the interior space, I noticed that a six feet tall colleague
can easily find a good driving position. In the rear, tall will just be
Watch the on road look at the new A 250
You do not need to opt for Style, Urban, Night Package orAMG Sport
lines to get an excellent standard equipment. The base model has among
others a multifunction steering wheel with 12 buttons, a big color display
and Audio 5 with a USB connection.
It is a pity that Americans do not really like hatch backs and
therefore Mercedes will not bring the A-Class to the North American market.
Another reason is that the C-Class (also available with as C 200 CGI with
the four-cylinder engine is now being offered in the US and will be US
built as well: production will start in Tuscaloosa in September.
The A- and B-class will be joined by three models: the CLA four door
coupe, that will bow next spring at the Geneva auto show, an SUV, also
expected to be unveiled in 2013 and an undefined model, which most likely
will be a shooting brake. For the time being Mercedes does not plan a three
I also drove the A 250 Sports that is ‘engineered by
AMG’. Stay tuned to The Auto Channel for my first drive of the
fastest model until Mercedes will introduced the A 45 AMG next