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Old 5th June 2013, 23:14   #241
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

@kbk_75, look at the bright side.... at least they did not launch with that 'Logan engine' and charge 25 lakhs for it. That would be real sacrilege
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Old 6th June 2013, 20:42   #242
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

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@kbk_75, look at the bright side.... at least they did not launch with that 'Logan engine' and charge 25 lakhs for it. That would be real sacrilege
Haha! Indeed!

Test drove the A180 Petrol this evening. Took it for a spin down the highway and got a good feel for the vehicle's capabilities.

Let's start with the ride. The car rides well. It isolates you decently from potholes and doesn't crash over bumps either. It's no E class but you can't expect that level of ride comfort in an A. Dynamically, it feels planted on the road, there's no skittishness or unexpected tramlining. It is well composed and feels like a well-sorted, grown-up car. In fact, this is one of the very few cars I have driven in India (this comes from it being a CBU) that feels like its biased more towards decent-ish handling than outright comfort and this is no bad thing. Of course it's not a small car, so you're never really going to want to chuck it around much, particularly since the outwards visibility is not the greatest, especially out the back.

The steering is decently weighted, slightly lighter than I'd have liked, but no real complaints there either. It's not going to give you high levels of feedback, but on our crud roads that may not be a bad thing. The steering wheel itself is a delight to use, is beautifully finished, feels great to the touch and looks quite classy and sporty. It has controls for the audio system and telephone on it and paddle shifters to change gears with (next time make them a little bigger please, Mercedes?)!

The 7 speed gearbox is a treat to use. Shifts are seamless and the car will give you the gear you want most of the time. The only clue you have that you've shifted down a couple of gears manually is when you hear the exhaust note that is almost sporty, but not quite. The car has the usual MB transmission modes, (E)conomy, (S)port and (M)anual. In Economy it shifts to the highest gear it can asap to give the best fuel efficiency. Sport holds on to the gear longer before shifting up and Manual gives you complete control. If you pull a paddle in Economy mode it automatically switches to Manual but to get it back into Economy mode you have to take your eyes of the road and hit the relevant button on the centre console.

The engine...well...it's adequate. It shifts the A class around without much fuss, as long as you're not TRYING to push it. This car was designed to have much beefier engines and this is clearly evident when you step on the gas looking to have some fun. It accelerates reasonably quickly but above 4,500 rpm it feels like it's straining and you wonder where the torque went. I'll even say that it accelerates faster than it feels because the car sits on the road so nicely and doesn't feel nervous or twitchy at all. Ultimately, though, the engine is an econo-engine and you're not going to get your heart racing with this car for sure. Chuck another 50bhp and 75 nm at it and it will be another matter altogether.

The stock Contis afford decent handling and it brakes very well, without any fuss or drama. Tyre rumble was quite noticeable whilst driving on the highway, however. The plethora of safety aids will always ensure that the car remains pointed in the right direction. It has 7 seven airbags, including a driver's knee bag.

The interiors are distinctive thanks, again, to it being a CBU. The plastics feel nice to the touch and the trim inside is what you'd expect from a Merc. The seats are supportive and comfortable at the same time, with full electric control for the driver's side (sorry passenger, you have to slum it!). The little screen that's stuck-on to the dashboard feels like an afterthought. It's not particularly well positioned for the driver to use and is quite small. It's mostly for toys though because there's no sat nav, so it's used to show song name, radio station etc and also to pull up your phone contact list. There's no climate control on the A, which is a surprise at this price point. There's also no park sensors or sat nav. Sat nav I couldn't really care less about, but in a car like the A class, that has limited rear visibility and a small, high rear windscreen, the omission of park sensors is unforgivable, especially at this price point.

The interior and driver's side rear view mirrors auto dim but the passenger's side mirror doesn't. I was pleased to see that the test drive car paired with my iPhone in a jiffy and playing MP3s was possible. However, I could not figure out a way to choose a playlist or an album and, as a result, I was listening to whatever the car (or is that the phone?!) felt like playing!

The audio quality from the hi-fi is decent and voice quality when making and receiving calls wirelessly is also good. The bluetooth sync allows you to bring up your phone contacts as well, so you can make calls using the car's interface, but it is a bit clunky and un-intuitive to me, coming from BMW's oft-criticised I-drive.

The boot is decently large and the rear seats split and fold if you need even more room. There are iso-fix mountings for child seats in the rear, another nod to the car being a CBU. Rear leg-room is adequate when you have a 5'9" driver and passenger the same height behind.

Which leaves only one thing, the price. At 30 lakhs + on-road in Maharashtra (including octroi or LBT) this car is not cheap or particularly good value for money. Mercedes is to be commended for bringing the car here, but I feel it will represent a better value once they start assembling it locally. They can then put essential features like park sensors and climate control back in and probably still lower the price, though knowing MB India, they probably won't pass-on the full cost benefit to the customer. Still, paying 11% OTT as opposed to 20% will certainly lower the car's on-road price, at least in states like Maharashtra. Sadly, I fear that local assembly and parts sourcing will also take away some of that "Euro" feel the CBU cars have (I have never seen an Indian-made car with seats or music system as good as the Euro-made ones, for instance).

So overall...it's a nice car (can't really call it little, because it isn't!). It will appeal to people for whom price is not really a consideration and who want a stylish, practical, well-appointed hatchback that rides nicely and feels classy on the inside. It will not appeal to guys looking for a lot of fun out of the car, dynamically. For that, there's the A45 AMG!

Last edited by kbk_75 : 6th June 2013 at 21:03.
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Old 8th June 2013, 02:13   #243
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

I was at KGA recently and managed to get a good look at the new A. Well, what can I say? It's freakin' A!

What a stunning piece of kit it is. Really, I think it's one of the best looking cars in recent times. I love its squat sitting-on-its-haunches look and that 'planted' stance. I love those headlights and tail-lights, I love that diamond-grille or whatever. And the coupe'ish glass house looks brilliant. It almost looks like the hatch variant of the gorgeous CLS!

It's disappointing that it isn't as fast as it looks. And the fact that it costs 30 lakhs.
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Old 8th June 2013, 07:22   #244
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

Its a stunning car, no doubt.

But Merc should have given the A more power. Comparable to the C in fact. Its not like the market will move away from the C if the A was faster. But the converse is true. That'll give bragging rights at the club for the A and it will be a cool car to own. Now, I cannot get my head around reasons to buy the A.

And Merc is so ashamed about the engine spec that they have given only the KW rating for the A-Class in the official website. All other cars have the engine spec in KW and HP.

http://www.mercedes-benz.co.in/conte...el-navi:models

Last edited by deetjohn : 8th June 2013 at 07:27. Reason: adding link.
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Old 8th June 2013, 08:18   #245
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

Wonderful car and quite a sight it is. I am waiting for an official test drive report from Team- Bhp (if that's in cards).
Not that I will have the where with all to own it, but to know a bit in detail of the performance.
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Old 8th June 2013, 09:45   #246
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307 View Post
And the fact that it costs 30 lakhs.
At this price-size point the cost is not so significant. It will compete against the Beetle, Mini and other small exclusive cars. Most such cars are bought as a 3rd or 4th car to be owner driven when the chauffer is absent or for quiet night drives.
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Old 8th June 2013, 11:41   #247
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

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At this price-size point the cost is not so significant. It will compete against the Beetle, Mini and other small exclusive cars. Most such cars are bought as a 3rd or 4th car to be owner driven when the chauffer is absent or for quiet night drives.
Of course Navin.

It would work well as a 2nd or 3rd car in an affluent household.

I'd seen the A on the road a few times but I'd never had the opportunity to get a closer look. And boy does she take your breath away! It is a large car even by hatchback standards. In fact, it almost seems like they'd taken the CLS and chopped-off its posterior.

The Mini and Beetle are almost puny in comparison. And what a departure this is from the old A. I've seen an old A and that's frankly rubbish in comparison.
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Old 8th June 2013, 23:46   #248
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

Quote:
Originally Posted by suhaas307 View Post
Of course Navin.

It would work well as a 2nd or 3rd car in an affluent household.

I'd seen the A on the road a few times but I'd never had the opportunity to get a closer look. And boy does she take your breath away! It is a large car even by hatchback standards. In fact, it almost seems like they'd taken the CLS and chopped-off its posterior.

The Mini and Beetle are almost puny in comparison. And what a departure this is from the old A. I've seen an old A and that's frankly rubbish in comparison.
Agree with you - the car does not look small at all. Its a 'sedanish-hatchback' IMO
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Old 11th June 2013, 07:16   #249
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

The A-Class has received more than 400 orders in ten days, giving a boost to the German automotive major's bid to regain its number one position in the luxury car segment.

Quote:
The waiting period for the model in India is around three months. The company had more than 90,000 bookings globally within months of its launch in September last year
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...w/20531126.cms
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Old 11th June 2013, 12:28   #250
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Default Mercedes Benz A-Class CKD assembly under consideration

Mercedes Benz India is chuffed about the 400 bookings it has received in just 10 days for its latest car, the A-Class sports hatchback. The latest generation version of the A-Class, the third generation model, is a hot selling car for Mercedes Benz globally. In India too, the start for the A-Class has been very promising, so much so that the Mercedes Benz has announced that the initial bookings for the A-Class has been the car maker's best ever booking performance for a new car model. Clearly, the A-Class sports hatchback has found favour with many luxury car buyers, aided in good measure by the availability of the 2.2 liter diesel engined variant.

Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details-mercedes-benz-aclass-1.jpg

Waiting periods for the A-Class have already hit the 3 month mark. The A-Class is imported into India through the completely built unit(CBU) route and this approach means that the car gets slapped with a hefty import duty. Buyers of the A-Class also have to contend with a higher road tax, thereby inflating the on road price of the car. CKD assembly will mean that the A-Class is priced well below its current on-road Delhi price of 24.51 lakh rupees, making the sports hatchback a much more attractive buy. According to TheEconomicTimes, Mercedes Benz India is considering CKD assembly of the A-Class.

From the looks of it, the chance of Mercedes Benz assembling the A-Class in India is high as the car maker is seeing good initial volumes from the car. If this trend continues for a few more months, local assembly is highly likely as Mercedes Benz already assembles other high volume cars such as the C-Class, E-Class, ML-Class and S-Class models in India. Also, Mercedes Benz India has plans of expanding its Chakan assembly facility by doubling capacity from the current 10,000 units/year to 20,00 units/year. MFA platform based cars such as the A-Class, B-Class and CLA sedan are expected to benefit from this capacity increase.

Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details-mercedes-benz-aclass-2.jpg

Luxury brands constantly grapple with the need for good volumes on one hand and the need to maintain exclusivity on the other. Walking this tightrope and finding the fine balance between achieving volumes and maintaining exclusivity is what most luxury car brands seeking to break into lower segments need to manage. With cars such as the A-Class and the B-Class, based on the MFA platform, Mercedes Benz is walking a similar tightrope. The future will give us insights as to how the three pointed star brand will cope with such a pressure as it expects its MFA range of luxury cars to deliver a large chunk of sales.
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Old 11th June 2013, 14:55   #251
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

The A has notched up over 400 bookings, which is surprising considering the steep OTR price of approx 30lacs, read about this in todays TOI.

MBIL is requesting for a larger allocation for India, from the parent co, considering the way the bookings have come in on the A class, the car is superb and extremely well loaded, but 30 lacs for a car from this segment is just way too much.
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Old 11th June 2013, 15:18   #252
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

Just goes to show that engine performance is not a priority for this segment at all. Looks and status symbol of the 3 pointed star is enough.

This car isn't even practical. The B class is way more user friendly with better space at the back and bigger boot.
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Old 11th June 2013, 15:23   #253
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

Could Audi be contemplating selling its A3 Sedan @ A-Class prices?
This interest shown on twitter for user 'Bob' by Mr. Perschke intrigued me:
https://twitter.com/shubhrajit1318/s...30442701213697
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Old 11th June 2013, 20:30   #254
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class Preview : Pictures & Details

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This car isn't even practical. The B class is way more user friendly with better space at the back and bigger boot.
Completely agree. This is the exact feeling I got when I visited the showroom for a look of both the A and the B. The A is l-o-w, not what I need at my age, and unfortunately I could not have afforded it in the days when I was fit enough (ergo, you need a rich parent to enjoy the A). The B was way more practical. I hope the new diesel variant comes at a sensible price, maybe without some of the fancy kit - a la A180 Style (diesel)
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Old 11th June 2013, 21:57   #255
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vid6639 View Post
Just goes to show that engine performance is not a priority for this segment at all. Looks and status symbol of the 3 pointed star is enough.

This car isn't even practical. The B class is way more user friendly with better space at the back and bigger boot.
But the looks of the B class alone would stop any person with a reasonably good eye sight from writing check for that ugly duckling.
Don't get me wrong, while the B class is clearly more spacious at all the places, looks are clearly topped by that factor. If the B class could look a bit more like the A-class and less like a station wagon, that would have been great.
BTW, no test drives of the A-Class till now in Ludhiana, dealer hopes to have it tomorrow. How do I know? I am interested! !

-------------------


Moderator Note: Our Official Review of the Mercedes A-Class is now online : link (Mercedes A-Class : Official Review)

Last edited by Rehaan : 14th June 2013 at 11:50.
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