Premium compact hatchback gets a fancy interior, plus upgraded platform and four-cylinder engines.

Its face looks like that of the CLS…

The fourth-generation A-class has become the second Mercedes-Benz to feature the brand’s new design language following the just-unveiled CLS.

The angular grille and head lights of the A-class lend itself the shark-face appearance. Note the styling of the air vents which also comes in line with other Mercs like the E-class.

But it’s the interior that’s making the headlines. The widescreen technology has been inherited from the E-class and comes in three sizes to choose from. It can be operated via touchscreen, touchpad or touch control buttons. The last one is fitted to a three-spoke steering wheel that first appeared in the S-class.

Mercedes is seemingly trying to give the new A-class, codenamed W177, a far posher cabin ambience than the outgoing W176 model by including higher-quality trim and configurable ambience lighting, as well.

The MFA platform, designed for Mercedes’ entire range of small cars featuring transversely laid out engines coupled to either front- or four-wheel drive, has been upgraded to be more rigid and bigger than ever promising more space for rear occupants and the boot.

The new A-class has grown in all dimensions by being 127mm longer, 16mm wider and 7mm taller. The 2,729mm wheelbase, in particular, is 30mm more than before.

Aside the A-class hatchback, Mercedes has already confirmed a brand-new saloon featuring four proper doors due later this year; today’s CLA has frameless door windows for a sportier coupe-like profile.

What is the engine line-up like?

All petrol and diesel engines are new, feature no more than four cylinders and are equipped with seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and particulate filters to deal with NOx emissions.

Mercedes has announced three engines initially. The A200 comes with 163hp 1.4-litre motor known as M282 replacing the older M270 unit. Equipped with cylinder deactivation, the A200 can achieve 17.9kpl. The A250, meanwhile, now produces a higher 224hp for a quicker 0-100kph time of 6.2sec. The sole diesel is the A180d which sees a 1.5-litre block called OM608. It generates 116hp and is capable of 24.4kpl.

Although not announced yet, the successor to the AMG-badged 45 version should see power rising from 381hp to at least 400hp, according to sources. Containing all those mad ponies to the tarmac is the brand’s 4Matic all-wheel drive.

A new variant that has never existed before is rumoured to be the A35 which aims to plug the gap between the A250 and A45. With around 300hp, the A35 goes head to head with the Audi S3 and BMW M140i.

For the first time, the A-class comes with semi-autonomous driving technologies, courtesy of the S-class. They include the ability to accelerate, brake and change lanes when required.

Will the Thai office sell the A-class?

Mercedes-Benz Thailand only sold the W176-coded A-class for the first three years in its lifecycle, so the W177 successor may not be imported to satisfy fans of premium hatchbacks.

But the real seller, which would eventually be bolted on Thai assembly lines, is that aforementioned saloon. Because Thais generally still favour saloons over hatchbacks, the four-door could become a crucial model for Mercedes in Thailand as it sits below the C-class with lower prices to match. 

And yes, we’re talking about a sub-2 million baht starting price when specified with 163hp engine in the name of A200. There’s also a good chance that the four-door A-class will come with plug-in hybrid tech.

News Reporter

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