2012 Geneva Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- A complete makeover from top to bottom could transform the new A-Class into a world-class car.
- The redesign was telegraphed at auto shows last year in the Concept A-Class.
- The new A-Class goes on sale in Europe in September.
GENEVA — A complete makeover from top to bottom could transform the new Mercedes-Benz A-Classinto a world-class car, while repositioning it to be more competitive in North America. Sales to European customers begin in September, while the first A-Class models could reach the U.S. in 2013.
Mercedes has given the compact A-Class a completely different character, replacing the old boxy profile with a sleek new coupelike silhouette, while dropping the ride height more than 7 inches. The new look was telegraphed at auto shows last year in the Concept A-Class. Mercedes says the new aerodynamic body, complete with roof spoiler, has a remarkably low drag coefficient of 0.26.
The automaker also turned its AMG tuning department loose on the car, resulting in the creation of the 208-horsepower A 250 Sport and the 168-hp A 220 CDI Sport. The gasoline and diesel variants get an AMG-tuned suspension, red brake calipers, 18-inch five-spoke wheels painted high-gloss black with 235/40R18 performance tires, plus black interior trim with red accents.
All the four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines for the five-passenger A-Class feature turbocharging, direct injection and stop-start systems. Mercedes offers customers a choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or the 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic.
Other technical highlights include a new four-link rear axle and revised electromechanical power steering, optional sport suspension with direct-steer system and a standard radar-based collision warning system with adaptive brake assist. In addition, a full range of safety systems is being offered as standard or optional, including PreSafe preventive occupant protection, attention assist, hill-start assist, Distronic Plus, adaptive high-beam assist, blind-spot assist, lane-keeping assist, speed limit assist and active parking assist.
Mercedes is offering a wide range of seat coverings, hardware and trim options so customers can almost infinitely personalize their vehicles. One notable option enables an iPhone to be fully integrated with the operating and display system, which can be controlled through a special smartphone app.
Edmunds.com says: Small = sexy.