Mercedes is hoping to woo new customers with the arrival of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan in the U.S. The sleek little four-door is positioned as an entry-level car for Mercedes, but also as a showpiece for new entertainment and safety technology as well as aerodynamic design. We'll see the 2019 A 220 in dealers by late 2018. In the meantime, let's take a look at what we can expect from the A-Class.
Small and Slippery
While other brands are going big, Mercedes has been expanding its compact line in the U.S. That continues with the new A-Class subcompact sedan, which will slot just below the four-door CLA "coupe," itself an A-Class derivative. The A-Class sedan has bragging rights to the lowest coefficient of drag — 0.22 — of any production car, one-upping the CLA's 0.23 Cd.
The A 220 may be slicker than a bar of soap, but it doesn't look like one. The design is clean and tight, with a full greenhouse and tidy front and rear overhangs. The body lines are crisply defined and the headlights and taillights are shaped to emphasize the sporty hood and wide rear. Customization is possible with chrome or black accents.
Four Cylinders and Optional AWD
The A-Class sedan has a new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, making 188 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque and backed by a 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission. It will be available with front-wheel drive or Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel drive, complemented by optional adaptive damping and up to 19-inch wheels. Notably, the A-Class rear suspension comes in either torsion-beam or upgraded multilink form, depending on equipment level. The front suspension is a MacPherson strut design.
Well, all of it! But in addition to the car itself, there's also the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) multimedia system. The A-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz model to showcase MBUX, which uses artificial intelligence to adapt to driver tendencies. Mercedes says it's more like talking to a friend in the car than inputting commands. Whether that's appealing to you or not probably depends on your friends.
Other significant A-Class features include a wide-angle digital display that serves as both the instrument cluster and the infotainment interface, a head-up display, and voice controls with natural speech recognition. The latter activates when you say, "Hey, Mercedes," which girls named Mercedes will find highly irritating but the rest of us should enjoy. MBUX also records vehicle sensor information and keeps track of where you park the A-Class. Now that's a good friend.
Little Outside, Big Inside
Inside the A-Class is a low, wrap-around dashboard that supports the huge widescreen display, which contains either two standard 7-inch screens or two optional 10.3-inch screens. Ambient lighting and the low dash profile combine to give the cabin an airy feeling. Mercedes designed the A-Class with an eye to providing adequate rear headroom, and indeed, the A 220 comfortably seats four.
The A-Class looks up to the S-Class for safety features, with front airbags, driver knee airbags, side curtain airbags, rear airbags, and active brake assist all standard. Automatic emergency braking and active lane-change assistance are optional as part of the Driver Assistance package.
The A-Class also uses GPS and navigation data to provide route-based information and adjust speed when approaching turns, intersections and other potentially hazardous situations. Even when static, the A-Class is safety-conscious, with a rear monitoring system that can recognize an upcoming rear-end collision and apply the brakes, keeping the car from rolling forward into traffic ahead.
Are We Excited?
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class looks like it will serve as an attractive introduction to the Mercedes brand. The interior is innovative and usable, and we're interested to see how the smart technology plays out in the real world. Stay tuned for pricing information, fuel economy estimates and more as we get closer to the A 220's official stateside debut.