The all-new 2018 Mercedes A-Class displayed

A company backed by Nest co-founder Tony Fadell is taking Andy Rubin's startup to court.


Mercedes has taken the wraps off its all-new A-Class hatchback ahead of its world début at the approaching Geneva motor show 2018. The new A-Class will once again be offered exclusively in five-door form it will be the first of up to eight new compact models that are under development and due by the end of 2020. These contain successor models to the present B-Class, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake and GLA as well as a trio of new models: an A-Class saloon, an SUV model set to be called the GLB and the all-electric EQ A previewed at the Frankfurt motor show last September. Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche said at the car’s disclose: “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.” The car is based on a modified version of the outgoing model’s MFA platform and features a 30mm longer wheelbase and 14mm wider front track. The new Mercedes hatch, which has the internal codename W177, is also claimed to offer vastly improved levels of refinement. This is thanks to improvements in the rigidity of its body structure, altered axle mountings and more comprehensive sound-deadening measures. There are also enhanced aerodynamics: Mercedes-Benz claims a class- leading drag coefficient of 0.25 for the new A-Class. The fashioning of Merc’s new entry-level model, initially showed by the Concept A saloon at last year’s Shanghai motor show, draws heavily on the look of the recently unveiled CLS, most notably at the front. The two cars share what has been dubbed a ‘predator face’, with an AMG-inspired grille and angular headlights that extend back into the front wings, giving it a distinctly more aggressive air.

The newly designed headlights can be specified with elective Multibeam LED technology with adaptive high-beam assist plus, as well as individual city and motorway lighting functions and cornering lights. New LED back lights help to make the tailgate aperture of the A-Class 20mm wider than that of the outgoing model. Larger wheelhouses also allow Mercedes to offer 19in wheels as an option on non-AMG models for the first time. The adoption of the larger platform has led to an incremental increase in the car’s external dimensions. Length is up by 120mm at 4419mm, width increases by 16mm to 1796mm and height extends by 2mm to 1440mm.The increases have enabled Mercedes to improve the overall practicality of the A-Class. The rear door apertures are larger to ease entry to the back seats, and the boot’s capacity is 29 litres bigger than the old model’s at a nominal 370 litres. It’s inside where Mercedes has concentrated much of its efforts on the new A-Class. The cabin accepts a distinctive dashboard-mounted black panel show and switchgear alike to that first presented on the S-class. The so-called widescreen cockpit comes in three themes: Classic, Sport and Discreet. As standard, there are two 7.0in shows, an analogue instrument cluster and the first touchscreen infotainment system to be accessible in a Mercedes model. Alternatively, customers can specify the car with twin 7.0in digital displays.

The new A-Class will be available with the choice of three four-cylinder engines in the international markets. The A200 petrol is a heavily updated version of the Renault-Nissan-produced 1.4-litre unit delivering 157hp.The more powerful A250 uses Mercedes’ recently updated 2.0-litre petrol engine, with 218hp. As the performance leader of the launch range, it is claimed to have a 0-100kph time of 6.2sec and a governed 250kph top speed. Two more petrol models are projected later: an entry-level unit sitting below the A200 and a mid-range A-Class falling between the A200 and A250. The sole diesel choice from the outset of sales is the A180d, which uses a 1.5-litre unit also produced by Renault-Nissan and delivering 112hp.