2018 Mercedes Benz A-Class Boasts New Infotainment Technology
Mercedes Benz vows to deliver revolutionary levels of connectivity from the new 2018 A-Class, which gets an upgraded interior with the most sophisticated version yet of the German car manufacturer’s Comand infotainment technology.
The sixth-generation set-up highlights a newly updated MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) function that allows an innovative voice control system, touchscreen control, and augmented reality navigation which isn’t available on Mercedes’ S-Class range.
The A-Class will be made available exclusively in five-door models when sales of the fourth-generation version in the United Kingdom begin in June following its unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show next month. It will be the very first of up to eight new production cars that are under development and due by the year 2020.
These include succeeding cars to the current B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake, and GLA in addition to three new models: an A-Class saloon, an SUV model set that will be named the GLB, and the all-electric EQ A which was first shown during the Frankfurt Motor Show last September.
Dieter Zetsche, Mercedes boss, mentioned, “The A-Class has been a big driver of change at Mercedes. This last version is not a car that gives much of an impression of entry-level. It's a grown-up A-Class that fully embraces our vision of luxury.”
“It looks and drives like a grown-up Mercedes. We have fundamentally improved the driving experience - and as a result of the torsional stiffness comfort has grown too. It has the abilities of a car from a higher segment. It is at C-Class level in these regards, and S-Class level in regards to driver assistance and safety systems,” Zetsche adds.
The car takes inspiration from an altered version of the outgoing model’s MFA version and hosts a 14mm-wider front track and 30mm-longer wheelbase. The new Mercedes hatch, which bears the codename W177, is also said to deliver noticeably upgraded levels of refinement. This is due to updates in the body structure’s rigidity, more comprehensive sound-deadening measures, and altered axle mountings. The A-Class also boasts enhanced aerodynamics that will make it even more efficient on the road.
The aesthetics found on this new model, which was first given a sneak peek by the Concept A saloon during the Shanghai Motor Show, takes inspiration on the looks of the recently revealed CLS, especially when looking at the front. The two models both have what is called a “predator face,” hosting an AMG-inspired grille and angular headlights that continue on to its front wings, creating a rather aggressive facade.
The newly conceptualized headlights can be personalized with optional Multibeam LED tech paired with adaptive high-beam assist plus, further making it flexible on the road.
New LED rear lights assist in rendering the tailgate aperture 20mm wider than that of its predecessor. Larger wheelhouses also let’s the brand provide 19-inch wheels as an option, for the first time, on non-AMG versions.
As a larger platform has been adopted, this meant an incremental increase in its external dimensions. Length is increased by 120mm at 4419mm, width enlarges by 16mm to 1796mm, and height goes further by 2mm to 1440mm.
The A-Class gets an upgrade in practicality as a result. The rear door apertures are bigger, making entry to the backseats a lot easier, and the boot’s capacity is 29 litres larger than the 370 litres offered by the old model.
If you want to find where most of the effort is poured, look at its interior. The cabin gets a unique dashboard-mounted black panel display and switch-gear which looks the same with that of the S-class. It has Classic, Sport, and Discreet as its three main themes.
“As standard, there are two 7.0in displays, one for the instrument cluster and another which is the first touchscreen infotainment system to be offered in a Mercedes model.”
To take advantage of the full capability of its connectivity features, the A-Class has to have the widescreen cockpit display’s optional extended version, featuring twin 10.3in screens, plus a digital instrument display and touchscreen infotainment.
As such, it carries a wi-fi hotspot and can also be paired with various functions such as navigation system and map display settings.
The biggest perk of the MBUX connectivity system is the advanced optional speech recognition system, which works like Amazon’s Alexa voice service. It allows drivers to give spoken commands via a “Hey, Mercedes” function that has been crafted to adapt to conversational language instead of robotic, single-worded functions.
The new 2018 Mercedes Benz A-Class can be purchased with the choice of three four-cylinder engines when sales begin.
The A200 petrol is a an upgraded version of the Renault-Nissan-produced 1.4-litre unit which helps achieve 160bhp and 184lb ft.
The more powerful A250 uses Mercedes’ recently developed 2.0-litre petrol-powered engine, which results to 221bhp and 258lb ft. Considered the standard in performance in its range, it is said that it can reach zero to 62mph in merely 6.2 seconds with top speeds reaching 155mph.
An entry-level unit which is under the A200 and a mid-range A-Class lying somewhere in between the A200 and A250 are expected to arrive later.