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    William Maley

    Geneva 2012: *UPDATED* Someone Let The New A-Class Out Of The Bag


    William Maley

    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com

    March 5, 2012

    A day before its official unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show, pictures of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class made their way onto the internet.

    The pictures show the new A-Class striking the same look as the A-Class concept shown at last year's New York Auto Show. The front end of the production A-Class is almost identical to the concept, with its large grill, headlights with LED running lights, and daring character lines.

    The back end is more sedate than the concept and features traditional squared off taillights with LED accents.

    The new A-Class rides on Mercedes-Benz's new MFA front-wheel drive platform, which underpins the new B-Class and is expected to underpin a new compact crossover, small CLS-like sedan, and a new Infiniti compact.

    Engines will be range of gas and diesel options for Europe.

    As for the U.S., we'll not see the A-Class. But, we will see a few models based on the same platform.

    Source: ForoCoches

    More Information on Page 2


    Only a few hours after the leak of some A-Class pictures, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the new A-Class to everyone at a press event before the start of the Geneva Motor Show. We have some new information about engines and transmissions.

    The A-Class will have variety of gas and diesel options for the European market. Gas engines will include a 1.6L turbocharged unit producing 121 HP, a 154 HP version of the 1.6L engine, and a 2.0L turbo-four producing 208hp. Diesel options will include a 1.8L engine churning out 108 HP and 184 lb-ft, a 134 HP, 221 lb-ft of the 1.8L, and a 2.2L turbocharged four delivering 168 HP and 258 lb-ft.

    All engines are available with the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and come equipped with the ECO start/stop function standard.

    There is also talk of an AMG version that will use a turbocharged four-cylinder engine possibly delivering well over 300 HP and go to all four wheels.

    Press Release is on Page 3


    "All set for attack"

    Geneva/Stuttgart. The heartbeat of a new generation: at the centre of Mercedes-Benz's presence at the Geneva Motor Show (8 to 18 March 2012) will be the world premiere of the new A-Class. The company is opening up a whole new chapter in the compact segment: markedly emotive in design, with powerful engines ranging from 80 kW (109 hp) to 155 kW (211 hp), and extremely efficient, with emissions from just 99g/CO2/km. At the same time the new model underlines that for Mercedes-Benz safety is not a question of price - the standard specification includes, amongst other things, the radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST system.

    "A is for Attack: the A-Class is a clear statement of the new dynamism of the Mercedes-Benz brand", explains Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "It is completely new, down to the last detail. In automotive development, it's not often you get the chance to start with a clean sheet of paper. Our engineers and designers have made the very most of that opportunity."

    Design and dynamism are obvious characteristics of the new A-Class even at first glance, simply in the way it sits up to 18 centimetres closer to the road than its predecessor. The radical new design idiom that was so enthusiastically received upon its first appearance with the "Concept A-CLASS" has been rigorously applied for the series-production model. With their fresh interpretation of the classic two-box design, the Mercedes designers have created an emotive exterior with a pronounced sporty flair.

    "Applying the new dynamic style of Mercedes-Benz to the compact class was a challenge that we thoroughly enjoyed", explains Gorden Wagener, Head of Design at Mercedes-Benz. "The almost sculptural lines of the A-Class are very typical

    for Mercedes. The feature lines, particularly along the sides of the car, then give the A-Class structure and tautness."

    The objective when it came to the interior design was to complement the sporty look of the exterior. On top of this the car has a high-quality feel about it that is unique in this segment, achieved both through the design idiom as such and through the choice and combinations of the high-quality materials used. As seen in the Concept A-CLASS, there is an option allowing a smartphone to be fully integrated into the operating and display system. A special app makes it possible to use the full functionality of the iPhone®, and in due course also of other smartphones, in the car.

    All trim surfaces feature an electroplated finish in "silver chrome", giving them a genuine metallic surface with "cool touch" effect.

    "This is just one example of the way in which the quality of the A-Class's interior is not defined by classic trim elements but by consistent design and by the specific materials used", explains Hartmut Sinkwitz, Head of Interior Design. "The motto we used

    when designing the interior was 'pure sportiness, newly interpreted'."

    Particular visual highlights include, for example, the air vents, which stand out like "sparkling jewels" (Sinkwitz), so underlining the exceptional quality of the interior. The sporty character of the vehicle is further emphasised by the integral seats (optional extra) in the front. The rear seat is similarly sporty in appearance and can accommodate up to three passengers. As well as the basic specification, which can be individualised with a wide range of options, there is a choice of design and equipment lines that have been put together with the requirements of customers in mind: "Urban", "Style", and "AMG Sport".

    The world premiere of the new A-Class (length/width/height: 4292/1780/1433 millimetres) will take place at the Geneva Motor Show (8 to 18 March 2012). It will be making its way to European dealers in September 2012.

    Sporty exclusivity: the A-Class Sport offers a fresh definition of dynamism

    For the first time, the performance specialists from AMG were involved in the development of the compact class from a very early stage. The result is the most dynamic version of the new model series - the A-Class Sport 'engineered by AMG', in which the visual affinity to the Concept A-CLASS is at its most evident - particularly in terms of the new diamond grille. The A-Class Sport features exclusive 18-inch AMG light-alloy wheels in a 5-spoke design with 235/40 R18 tyres all round and painted high-gloss black with a high-sheen finish, together with red-painted brake callipers.

    These give an indication of the particularly dynamic driving qualities of the A 250 Sport and the A 220 CDI Sport, which are differentiated, amongst other factors, by a special AMG-developed front axle and a suspension that has been configured to match.

    Hints of red on the AMG front and rear aprons also serve to emphasise the expressive positioning of the new model. The contrast between black trim and additional accents in red continues in the interior: the contrasting decorative topstitching on the steering wheel and seats is in this same bright shade, as are the seat belts. The ambient lighting of the instruments and the highlight rings of the air vents are similarly red.

    Drive system: new petrol and diesel-powered engines

    A broad range of both petrol and diesel engines has something to suit every performance requirement, whilst also demonstrating the current state of the art in terms of efficiency: for the first time, a Mercedes-Benz will produce emissions of just 99 g of CO2 per kilometre.

    The bandwidth of the new generation of petrol engines with a displacement of 1.6 and 2.0 litres ranges from 90 kW (115 hp) in the A 180 and 115 kW (156 hp) in the A 200 through to 155 kW (211 hp) in the A 250. Common to all is the combination of direct injection and exhaust gas turbocharging, a more advanced combustion process and an extended stratification range for lean-burn operation that uses fast-acting injectors for the multiple injection of the fuel as well as on-demand multi-spark ignition. CAMTRONIC is an innovation that will be celebrating its world premiere in the 1.6-litre engine: adjusting the valve lift on the intake side restricts the amount of fresh mixture used in the partial load range, so reducing consumption.

    The diesel engines also offer an impressively high level of efficiency and environmental compatibility, thanks to sophisticated injection technology

    and turbocharging. The A 180 CDI offers an output of 80 kW (109 hp) and a maximum torque of up to 250 Nm, while the A 200 CDI has a maximum output of 100 kW (136 hp) and torque that rises to 300 Nm. The A 220 CDI has a displacement of 2.2 litres, an output of 125 kW (170 hp) and torque of 350 Nm, delivering absolutely exceptional performance in the A-Class.

    All engines in the new A-Class feature the ECO start/stop function as standard. The engines can be combined either with the new six-speed manual transmission or, as an option, with the 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission.

    Further highlights: suspension, aerodynamics, safety

    The dynamism promised by the design and drive system is realised by the suspension. A noticeably lower centre of gravity and a new 4-link rear axle provide the basis for this; and would also make the installation of 4MATIC all-wheel drive possible. Customers can choose between various suspension settings, among them the optional sports suspension with Direct-Steer system. The electromechanical steering in the A-Class has been completely redesigned, so that the electric motor for the power assistance now sits directly on the steering gear in the form of a compact and extremely precise Dual Pinion EPS.

    Its exceptional aerodynamic performance, with a new record Cd value of 0.26, puts the A-Class at the top of its class. This is further helped by the standard roof spoiler, which hides all the unsightly aerials on the A-Class. The A-Class is the only vehicle in its class to feature as standard a radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist, which lowers the risk of rear-end collisions. The COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST system gives a visual and acoustic warning to alert a possibly distracted driver to identified obstacles, and prepares Brake Assist for the most precise braking response possible. This is initiated as soon as the driver steps firmly on the brake pedal.

    The PRE-SAFE® preventive occupant protection system is now available for the first time in the A-Class. This innovation, which was premiered in the S-Class in 2002, thus makes its very first appearance in the compact class. Core features of PRE-SAFE® are reversible belt tensioning, the closing of side

    windows and sliding sunroof in case of critical lateral dynamics and adjustment of the fully electric front passenger seat with memory functionto an ideal position for maximum effectiveness of the restraint systems. PRE-SAFE® is always activated in response to critical longitudinal and lateral dynamics and may also be triggered upon intervention by certain assistance functions.

    The democratisation of safety also encompasses an array of other assistance systems which have been adopted into the A-Class from the larger model series. These include:

    • ATTENTION ASSIST (standard)
    • Brake HOLD function (standard)
    • Hill-Start Assist (standard)
    • DISTRONIC PLUS
    • Adaptive Highbeam Assist
    • Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist
    • Speed Limit Assist (speed limit sign recognition)
    • Active Parking Assist
    • LINGUATRONIC
    • Reversing camera

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    Recommended Comments

    Interesting..did Chris Bangle join M-B? Looks like some Bangled surfacing on the doors....I assume they will have a trunked version for hatchback-avoiding Americans...

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    Interior and exterior are nice, this would get some peoples interest, but I have to wonder how a Chevy priced FWD Mercedes will affect their luxury standing.

    Will the American Public accept a chevy priced FWD vehicle like this along side a 100K MB luxo sedan?

    I truly do not see this selling well as your average Chevy buyer does not cross shop with MB.

    Did MB say it was truly coming to America?

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    Did MB say it was truly coming to America?

    Not sure, but a prototype was at the NY Auto Show last year...the crossover variation most likely will. With the 2015 EPA regs coming, I would expect BMW and M-B to bulk up their entry level lines in the US...

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    I truly do not see this selling well as your average Chevy buyer does not cross shop with MB.

    Different niche...this is for the subcompact/compact premium niche...above Mini, where the Audi A3, BMW 1-series, Lexus CT currently are...and a likely future Cadillac subcompact will be.

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    Did MB say it was truly coming to America?

    Not sure, but a prototype was at the NY Auto Show last year...the crossover variation most likely will. With the 2015 EPA regs coming, I would expect BMW and M-B to bulk up their entry level lines in the US...

    True, I keep forgetting or ignoring not sure which about the stupid reg that will force everyone to beef up gas milage.

    Guess you can have the Econo Section of a BMW and MB lot, but I do think this will be allot harder to them to pull off compared to Chevy and Cadillac.

    I truly do not see this selling well as your average Chevy buyer does not cross shop with MB.

    Different niche...this is for the subcompact/compact premium niche...above Mini, where the Audi A3, BMW 1-series, Lexus CT currently are...and a likely future Cadillac subcompact will be.

    I understand what you are saying, but none of those would I ever consider due to how big I am and I have never liked the way a front wheel drives.

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    Did MB say it was truly coming to America?

    Not sure, but a prototype was at the NY Auto Show last year...the crossover variation most likely will. With the 2015 EPA regs coming, I would expect BMW and M-B to bulk up their entry level lines in the US...

    True, I keep forgetting or ignoring not sure which about the stupid reg that will force everyone to beef up gas milage.

    Guess you can have the Econo Section of a BMW and MB lot, but I do think this will be allot harder to them to pull off compared to Chevy and Cadillac.

    I truly do not see this selling well as your average Chevy buyer does not cross shop with MB.

    Different niche...this is for the subcompact/compact premium niche...above Mini, where the Audi A3, BMW 1-series, Lexus CT currently are...and a likely future Cadillac subcompact will be.

    I understand what you are saying, but none of those would I ever consider due to how big I am and I have never liked the way a front wheel drives.

    I wouldn't consider them either, but you aren't the target consumer, neither am I...there are plenty of buyers out there that would consider such cars, esp. women and younger buyers that want a premium brand, premium content and refinement without a premium price or size...

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    Did MB say it was truly coming to America?

    Not sure, but a prototype was at the NY Auto Show last year...the crossover variation most likely will. With the 2015 EPA regs coming, I would expect BMW and M-B to bulk up their entry level lines in the US...

    Yes, the A-Class is coming. I wrote about it back in January - http://www.cheersandgears.com/page/index.html/_/articles/mercedes-benz-news/mercedes-benz-its-four-new-compacts-r282

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    Yea- it's much nicer than the design disaster the previous gen was, but this is still an anonymous, mass-market generic appliance with a MB grille and monstrous FWD overhang. If this sells well, it's case closed on whether MB sells because of product or badge (I already know the answer, but some profess not to)...

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    This could go one of two ways. Either it will be a flop because Mercedes buyers don't want a cheap car and it isn't RWD and powerful. Or it will be a hit. I actually think this may sell because it could really put the hurt on Acura, Volvo, Mini, and even the mass market brands. There are probably a lot of people out there who would rather have an A-class over a Jetta, Sonata, Altima, CR-V, Rav4, etc. Because not only do you get the Mercedes badge, you get Mercedes build quality and safety. It is feasable that the fit and finish on the A-class is better than what Cadillac or Lexus offer, yet it is priced against Ford and Chevy.

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    This could go one of two ways. Either it will be a flop because Mercedes buyers don't want a cheap car and it isn't RWD and powerful. Or it will be a hit. I actually think this may sell because it could really put the hurt on Acura, Volvo, Mini, and even the mass market brands. There are probably a lot of people out there who would rather have an A-class over a Jetta, Sonata, Altima, CR-V, Rav4, etc. Because not only do you get the Mercedes badge, you get Mercedes build quality and safety. It is feasable that the fit and finish on the A-class is better than what Cadillac or Lexus offer, yet it is priced against Ford and Chevy.

    Well, as has been said countless times, the vast majority of consumers are ignorant of the RWD aspect or don't care, so for those superficial consumers that only want the brand, this and the FWD 1-series will be their entry ticket to the big leagues.

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    This could go one of two ways. Either it will be a flop because Mercedes buyers don't want a cheap car and it isn't RWD and powerful. Or it will be a hit. I actually think this may sell because it could really put the hurt on Acura, Volvo, Mini, and even the mass market brands. There are probably a lot of people out there who would rather have an A-class over a Jetta, Sonata, Altima, CR-V, Rav4, etc. Because not only do you get the Mercedes badge, you get Mercedes build quality and safety. It is feasable that the fit and finish on the A-class is better than what Cadillac or Lexus offer, yet it is priced against Ford and Chevy.

    I have to totally disagree with you and everyone else who says MB and BMW fit and finish is better than Cadillac. I can believe this on Lexus as I have idiot family members who buy and bitch about the fit and finish and lack of quality and then they go back and trade in for another newer one. Like freaking Lemmings.

    MB and BMW have some amazing high end models but in the C category or 3 category, I have yet to be impressed by either company compared to what Cadillac has to offer.

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    This could go one of two ways. Either it will be a flop because Mercedes buyers don't want a cheap car and it isn't RWD and powerful. Or it will be a hit. I actually think this may sell because it could really put the hurt on Acura, Volvo, Mini, and even the mass market brands. There are probably a lot of people out there who would rather have an A-class over a Jetta, Sonata, Altima, CR-V, Rav4, etc. Because not only do you get the Mercedes badge, you get Mercedes build quality and safety. It is feasable that the fit and finish on the A-class is better than what Cadillac or Lexus offer, yet it is priced against Ford and Chevy.

    I have to totally disagree with you and everyone else who says MB and BMW fit and finish is better than Cadillac. I can believe this on Lexus as I have idiot family members who buy and bitch about the fit and finish and lack of quality and then they go back and trade in for another newer one. Like freaking Lemmings.

    MB and BMW have some amazing high end models but in the C category or 3 category, I have yet to be impressed by either company compared to what Cadillac has to offer.

    Agreed on Lexus, you can feel the Toyota Camryness coming through the dash in them. Even the new GS is just a BMW-wannabe inside and not as quality of materials. And lemmings do buy them.

    As for Cadilac, the Escalde's fit and finish is weak, but it is a Tahoe so it gets a bit of a pass. So really we can judge the CTS and SRX only, and those models don't match the fit and finish of a Benz or Audi or BMW for that matter. The panel gaps are tigher in the German cars and Mercedes uses higher grade materials than Cadillac does. I think the new 3-series is pretty well executed inside, as far as the leather, wood and metal trim they used (I don't care for the nav-screen though). And how will that interior hold up over time, Mercedes are built for durability, GM cars usualy start to have things break, or leather wears out, etc.

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    They will probably keep the A-class in Europe and bring the B-class here. Because it will be a little bigger, and Americans like big cars. And they can keep the price point on the B-class a bit closer to $30k.

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    I actually think this may sell because it could really put the hurt on Acura, Volvo, Mini, and even the mass market brands. There are probably a lot of people out there who would rather have an A-class over a Jetta, Sonata, Altima, CR-V, Rav4, etc.

    Wow, so we have an admittance that mercedees is actively seeking to compete with acura, volvo, VW, hyundai, nissan & toyota! Whoo-hoo!

    This 'experiement' into volume grab is only going to erode the reputation of M-B down to a nub. Going to be interesting to watch...

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    Well I don't think Mercedes is looking to compete with existing models from other brands, but rather capture Gen Y and some Gen X shoppers in urban areas that want a nice car with features, but can't afford a $45k optioned up C-class. I see the A-class or B-class whatever we get as an alternaative to small crossovers and sedans. Sort of like how the Smart For2 didn't compete directly against anything, it was an alternative to what everyone else had, but of course the Smart doesn't sell.

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    The auto is nice enough for what it is, I think and see it as a high end Chevy / Buick competitor and the same with the Ugly BMW 1 series. I think to some who could never afford these brands, they will jump at the chance to own a vehicle with the BMW or MB logo on it. But to the rest of the people who see these car companies as only ubber Luxury of the 100K plus crowd of earners, I think this will dilute the brand and actually hurt more than help them.

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    like many posters have mentioned before.....Mercedes and BMW sell as econocars, taxis, etc. in their native and other countries. They have managed to sell as a luxury only brand in the US for so long. The auto industry is having survival of the brands right now, so volume is an important tool in phasing out other makers (VW knows this!). The Germans are playing a bit of Roulette with their earned images, but Americans are so brand programmed that marketing can make up for lack of quality in the product. What really counts to some punk is they can get a Mercedes, anything with a Mercedes badge.

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    I don't think quality will suffer. It may not be as well equipped or lavishely trimmed as a C-class or E-class but I think it will be just as well built. People will not only want the badge, they will want that build quality, engineering and safety that Mercedes has.

    I also don't think it will dilute the brand that much because they have so many high end cars to offset it. And Mercedes has used this lineup in Europe for years and Lexus, Infiniti, Cadillac etc haven't been able to make a dent. Also important to remember is Mercedes retains nearly 60% of their buyers so if the A-class/B-class brings in people that would have never bought a Mercedes before, they may be able to move those people into a C-class or E-class later down the road.

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    Also important to remember is Mercedes retains nearly 60% of their buyers so if the A-class/B-class brings in people that would have never bought a Mercedes before, they may be able to move those people into a C-class or E-class later down the road.

    Yes, it's a gateway drug for premium cars....hook 'em when they are young.

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    Also important to remember is Mercedes retains nearly 60% of their buyers so if the A-class/B-class brings in people that would have never bought a Mercedes before, they may be able to move those people into a C-class or E-class later down the road.

    I just saw a new report that mercedees repeat buyership was merely 34%. If that's correct, the whole 'trade up thru the line' is an urban myth.

    Such a low retention rate would explain the flurry of niche & downmarket models; necessary to 'pump up the volume (mercedees' primary goal). I'll have to find the source where I read that...

    Well I don't think Mercedes is looking to compete with existing models from other brands

    The for-to entered an empty segment, the a-class is entering a jam-packed segment; they are absolutely going to compete with the other players here. It is inevitable. To profess otherwise is being obtuse.

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    I did see the report that said Merceds has 35% repeat buyers but it also said they were #1 among luxury brands. However JD Power in their customer retention study had Mercedes at 57% this year and 59% last year, and the top brand was Hyundai at 64% so by JD power's measure Mercedes has high retention.

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    34% is pretty dismal overall tho. Lux buyers seem to be a lot more fickle than one would suppose.

    Jag was at like 16% IIRC- Jag is DRIVING them away.

    Jags seem like they would be good for a short lease, but not for a long term relationship...

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    The fact that every auto maker goes through good quality and bad quality, if you have the money, then you will end up following the quality. I think this is more common with those in the earnings of $150,000 to $1,000,000 crowd.

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