2014 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Preview
- New 5-door compact hatchback model
- Mercedes says the A-Class signals shifting consumer preferences
- Offers numerous available safety features
- Full smartphone integration is optional
- Available in Europe in late 2012; coming to America in early 2013
The Mercedes A-Class, redesigned for global markets but new to the U.S., is a compact 5-door hatchback designed to provide premium features in a small, fuel-efficient package. Equipped with what Mercedes calls a diamond pattern grille treatment, a chrome 3-pointed star emblem, and LED running lights and taillights, the A-Class features a low 0.26 coefficient of drag, which helps to improve fuel economy, the company says.
The new 2014 A-Class is equipped with electroplated silver chrome interior trim, which Mercedes claims gives it a "cool touch" look and feel, even if it's not real metal. The automaker says the car's large round air vents are patterned after the SLS AMG sports car.
Leather is optional for the A-Class, and an available AMG Sport package includes 18-inch aluminum wheels, performance tires, red brake calipers, a body kit, and unique interior and exterior trim.
Under the Hood
The engine lineup for the U.S.-spec A-Class is not finalized. However, American buyers could find that local showrooms contain the A200, A220 CDI, and A250 when the new compact Mercedes goes on sale. The A200 and A250 have direct-injected, turbocharged 4-cylinder engines generating 156 and 211 horsepower, respectively. The A220 CDI is equipped with a turbo-diesel engine making 170 horsepower. All are equipped with ECO start/stop technology to conserve fuel, and are paired with a choice between a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 7-speed automated dual-clutch transmission.
Mercedes plans to offer full iPhone integration capability in the new 2014 A-Class, including Siri personal assistant technology. The company says support for other types of smartphones is under development.
In addition to standard Attention Assist technology, the new 2014 Mercedes A-Class will include standard Collision Prevention Assist (CPA) to help reduce instances of distracted driving. Using a standard radar unit mounted at the front of the car, CPA can determine if the A-Class is closing in on obstacles too rapidly, produce audible and visual warnings, and prepare the braking system to provide full braking power the moment the driver touches the brake pedal, Mercedes says.
Additional safety features that will be available for the A-Class include a rearview camera, blind-spot assist system, lane-keeping assist system, Distronic radar cruise control, and Pre-Safe technology that prepares the cabin for impact when a crash is unavoidable. The A-Class will also be offered with Speed Limit Assist, a feature which recognizes speed limit signs and regulates vehicle speed accordingly.