A-Class gains ‘luxury’ cabin

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New Mercedes gets swisher-looking interior with premium features

Mercedes-Benz has overhauled the interior of the new A-Class to give it a more premium feel, in part because the growing trend for downsized cars and urban living is pushing more affluent buyers towards smaller models.

That’s the view of Christoph Eberlein, Mercedes’ compact car product manager. Speaking to Autocar at an event to showcase the interior of the forthcoming fourth-generation A-Class, he said the decision to infuse the compact car with tech and features from the larger E-Class and S-Class was because buyers are increasingly prepared to shell out on infotainment options.

“Some people want a small car because they live in a city or need to save space but still want to have all the luxury features and options,” he said. “This is a luxury design for compact cars. Small doesn’t have to be non-premium.”

The revamped dashboard design of the new A-Class features two horizontal sections split by a ‘trench’ that has ambient lighting. The upper section features Mercedes’ distinctive twin-display widescreen cockpit, available with two 7.0in, a 7.0in and a 10.25in, or two 10.25in screens, depending on the specification.

The dash design also includes five turbine-style air vents with adjustable LED lighting available in a choice of up to 64 colours.

The A-Class features the multi-function steering wheel from the S-Class and reworked seats with optional seat heating and climate control for the first time in the model.

There will be three trim levels on offer: entry-level Style; performance-themed AMG-Line; and Progressive, which replaces the Urban trim on the previous A-Class and puts an emphasis on design and comfort.

The boot of the A-Class, a weak point of the previous car, has increased by 29 litres to 370 litres, closer to class rivals than previously. Mercedes also says visibility has been improved by the use of slimmer A-, B- and C-pillars, and maximum front head room has risen by 7mm to 1024mm.

Mercedes has yet to set pricing for the new A-Class, but Eberlein said the new focus on luxury would be balanced with affordability. He explained: “We are going for a premium feel, but compact cars still need to be approachable for everyone. It’s more about design and taste than price.”

The current A-Class is Mercedes’ best-selling model in the UK – the biggest global market for the car. It accounted for around 40,000 of the 168,000 cars the firm sold last year. The new A-Class will be launched at the Geneva motor show in March next year.

JAMES ATTWOOD

 

APPY DAYS FOR MERCEDES OWNERS

Mercedes-Benz cars will send notifications to owners’ smartphones if someone attempts to steal them or they get hit when parked.

The feature has been developed by the firm as an update to the Mercedes me app service and will be available on newer models with the necessary sensors. It will be automatically activated when the car is locked and can detect if someone hits the car, attempts to break in or tries to tow it away.

Mercedes is also adding Amazon Alexa voice recognition compatibility for models built after September 2014 with a communication module. The firm is also rolling out an Ask Mercedes ‘virtual assistant’.

It has yet to be confirmed if or when the features will be available in the UK.