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Old 14th June 2013, 10:56   #1
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Default Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

The Mercedes A-Class has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 21.94 - 22.74 lakhs (ex-Mumbai).

What you'll like:

• Luxury status in a compact package. An über-premium urban hatchback
• Eye-catching styling with the diamond grille & big wheels. Appeals to the younger generation
• A proper Mercedes on the inside. Top-notch interior quality
• 7-speed automatic transmission is extremely smooth. Paddle shifters too
• An assortment of features (Panoramic sunroof, bi-xenon headlamps, memory seat etc.)
• 5 star NCAP safety rating. 7 airbags, ESP, ABS, attention assist & more

What you won't:

• CBU pricing & taxes take the on-road price to ~26 lakhs
• Not as fast as it looks. Unexciting engines deliver power similar to C-segment sedans
• Transmission isn't as quick to shift as a dual-clutch ought to be
• Only for the self-driven. Limited rear headroom, 5th occupant unwelcome
• Parking sensors & reverse camera missing. A sore point given the poor rearward visibility
• Taut ride further compromised by 17” rims on broken roads

Last edited by Rehaan : 31st December 2013 at 12:24.
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Old 14th June 2013, 10:57   #2
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

One look at the Mercedes A-Class (and its 22-23 Lakh price tag) brings forth many questions. Its potential for success in our highly dynamic market has become a hot topic of debate. Will the A-Class be able to carve out its own niche? How much is Mercedes' top-down approach and brand image going to help? Will it find takers despite the model not being as iconic as the VW Beetle or Mini Cooper? Here's the interesting pre-launch discussion : link.

From the industry perspective, we see yet another hatch breaking the two-million Rupee barrier. Yes, a hatchback – the humble body style that kick-started the modern automotive revolution in India with the bare basic Maruti SS80DX in 1985. The 'cut-to-price' hatchback has since been the first aspirational stepping stone for millions of two-wheeler owners, and a distant dream for hundreds of millions that are yet to be able to afford personal transportation. The same hatchback that is even today, seen as an almost-complete car for budget buyers, lacking the social status only a boot can provide. It's an ironic battle in this case, since the ultimate symbol of social status in India (the three-pointed star) is boldly emblazoned on the front grille of this car, but at the rear, its missing that extended metal box in which to store all that social status!

But we began with calling our industry “dynamic”, and the hatchback segment has been through a few fundamental changes itself. Until five years ago, a 5 lakh Rupee decision was a no-brainer. You have to buy a sedan, said your dad. And your wife, and certainly your best friend as well. A brave effort by Chevrolet with the SR-V bombed, and it wasn’t until the Hyundai i20 that the perception changed for good. The i20 combined clever packaging, startling levels of interior equipment, space and a proven brand to deliver an unbeatable value proposition. Initial volumes far surpassed Hyundai’s own expectations, a success story that has been consistent well into the model's fourth year of existence. Along with other offerings like the Jazz, hatchbacks have slowly but surely carved out their own place in the minds of buyers with an 8 lakh Rupee budget. Sure, the social value of a boot is more of a mindset when looking at a sub-10 lakh car, though some of these old notions are yet to be re-thought in the Indian car buyer's mind...regardless of the price-range.

Further up the hierarchy, increasing competition in the luxury segment from the late entrants – Audi and BMW – have seen the old king of the hill, Mercedes, challenged and toppled from the top spot many a time. Unfavourable market conditions and unstable government policies have contributed further towards making things challenging for anyone playing the luxury game.

Mercedes has had its turf split multiple ways, hence it needs to find new footholds in the market. Mercedes knows this, and they've said that every compact model they offer will be on sale in India by 2015. The cult Beetle and the sporty little Mini have indicated that there may indeed be potential for cool & modern hatches beyond the 2-million Rupee mark. Mercedes seems to think the same, and has chosen this as an opportune time to let loose its entirely new, vastly improved and very stylish A-Class onto the playing field.

A brief history of the A-Class

The A-Class launched here is the third generation of this entry-level Mercedes. The first A-Class (W168) launched in 1997 was a compact package introduced at a time when Mercedes was under fire globally for its declining quality. Further, its release was marred by some bad press when journalists managed to topple the car during a test. Mercedes exhibited its commitment to safety by equipping its smallest offering with ESP as standard, to ensure no repetitions of the incident. However, the topple had already made the A-Class infamous.

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2005 saw the launch of an improved A-Class from Mercedes (W169). While it didn't look too different from its predecessor, some new tech including an improved ESP system, CVT transmission and exterior / interior trim options refreshed the model for another few years.

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And here, we have a thoroughly reworked & far more appealing A-Class (W176) of the current day. The earlier A-Class looked more van-like in its styling, whereas this one has a completely different body-type. It's almost as if Mercedes has compensated for the earlier 2 versions by making this generation extremely wide and low-slung in comparison. It might just be the car to help Mercedes shake off its dusty image of an old man’s choice in India.

Models offered & the competition

The Mercedes A-Class will be offered across India with two engine options; a 1.6 liter petrol (A180 Sport) and a 2.2 liter diesel (A180 CDI). Both engines will be mated to a 7-speed DCT Automatic (dual-clutch transmission). It's also interesting to note that the diesel is priced about Rs. 80,000 less than the petrol variant (ex-showroom).

Pricing puts it in direct competition with the Mini range, of which the Countryman is now being assembled locally at BMW’s Chennai facility. More competition is expected in the form of the BMW 1-Series, Audi A3 and perhaps even the updated Volkswagen Beetle. At the moment, there really aren't too many direct alternatives on sale. In terms of pure pricing however, one can get a lot of car for the same money. We are talking large D-segment sedans, seven-seater SUVs and even the lowest variants of the Merc C / BMW 3 / Audi A4 / Volvo S60. Whether Mercedes has secured the first mover advantage in this niche segment, or if it's going to be testing the waters for the others, is yet to be seen. So far, things are looking good, with the A-Class garnering 400+ bookings within 10 days of launch. This is the highest ever booking volume Mercedes has seen in that time-span for any of their models in India.

Mercedes A-Class : Official Review-mercedesaclassspecificationscomparo.png

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Old 14th June 2013, 10:57   #3
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

There's no doubt that having a modern and snazzy looking car was at the top of the A-Class design brief:

At 2.7 meters, the wheelbase is longer than the likes of the Laura and Jetta!

Rear angle makes it clear just how squat and wide the A-Class sits:

Extremely high-silled rear windows swoop down towards the front:

The front grille consisting of 302 shiny metallic pieces is the talking point of the A-Class design. Elegant and eye-catching:

Bi-Xenon projectors are shrouded by a metallic border on one side, and a long chain of LEDs (for turn indicators) on the other:

An interesting little detail here: the front lip folds under the car, letting the black grille flow through. No fog lights:

Notice the side body crease that floats up towards the rear:

The big star, once reserved for the top ranks is now making its way down the chain. It helps give Merc faces a more modern feel:

The 'diamond grille' isn't standard on the entry level A-Class internationally. Mercedes has included it only on the first 400 cars sold in India:

Panoramic sun-roof covers the front 2/3rds of the roof:

The long snout of the A-Class, and the incredibly wide C-pillars can be seen here:

Huge 225/45 R17 wheels & tyres are comparable to the size found on the BMW 5-series!

Mirrors can be set to fold when the car locks. Sharply styled side indicators. Puddle lamps are integrated below:

The sleek part-roof, part-spoiler also has the FM antenna built in:

Wide hips, christened with LED tail-lamps at the rear:

Twin-pipes at the rear:

Next to our support Innova. Not the most ideal mate for a side-by-side shot, but it sure does provide an interesting size comparison:

A parting shot:

Last edited by Rehaan : 31st December 2013 at 12:25. Reason: Making some clarifications
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Old 14th June 2013, 10:57   #4
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

Squeeze into the A-Class and one is greeted by a high quality interior crafted in a way only the Germans can execute. The cabin of this car drives home the point that this is a proper, proper Mercedes-Benz. This is not a cut-price offering. It's built solidly with high quality materials, and shares the same premium feel as any other Mercedes. The fact that it’s a CBU certainly helps with the extremely fine details and material choices. It's a classy and modern palette inside. No loud or garish materials have been used, no swoopy organic centre consoles, and no cheesy blue LEDs. To give the Germans some credit, they have ditched their rulers and protractors to create a cockpit more youthful and contemporary – perfectly in alignment with the purpose of the car. A balanced mix of leather, soft touch plastics, chrome and brushed aluminum weave together a cabin which cocoons around you.

The high-waistline styling of the outside takes its toll on the interiors. The front windshield starts very high, and so do the side windows. Visibility isn't compromised much, and it only takes a little getting used to. On the other hand, the limited glass area in combination with the black interiors makes it feel like you're driving a high-tech cave. But wait, there is a light at the end of the tunnel; up above is a fairly large sun-roof. In fact, its thin black netting is already letting in a fair share of light. Press a button to retract the netting and the cabin gets instantly airier.

On the dash, your attention goes directly to the tablet-like screen, quite literally cut-and-pasted onto the center of the dashboard. The COMAND system looks like an odd aftermarket solution, complete with a shiny plastic bezel. It’s a 5.8" (14.7 cm) non-touchscreen display which Mercedes claims is 800x480 pixels. The interface and graphics have admittedly seen improvements over the earlier Mercs sold in India, yet this system still feels very basic and rudimentary in comparison to the iDrive or MMI High solutions of the competition. It doesn't offer much in terms of user experience; expect no wow moments while operating it.

The ergonomics are spot on, as long as the driver is 5’10” or less in height. Agreed, that covers a large part of our population, however there are still a multitude of six footers who won't enjoy leaning forward to reach the A/C and dash controls, after having pulled the seats back a fair bit. The seat travel has an exceptionally large range. Drivers who are used to pulling back their seats all the way will be surprised to find a comfortable position well before the end of the travel. The tilt & telescopic steering adjust obliges with a good range too. The steering itself is finished in fine materials, the brushed aluminum and leather solution coming together to deliver a pleasing feel indeed. This is a busy place, with a bunch of buttons to control the MID and audio system on either side of India’s most-used car feature (the horn - which is nice and loud). A small pair of paddle shifters for the gearbox sit snugly behind the wheel, with a column-mounted gear selector in place of the right stalk. Given that this is a European control layout, the column shifter occupies the spot usually reserved for the light controls in a Japanese car. It is deceptively long and similarly shaped as well, so we had to be extra careful not to erroneously slot the car into Neutral or Reverse (instead of indicating a turn)!

The instrument cluster has the multi-talented MID, for which the controls take a little getting used to. You can see what song is playing, jump ahead in the list, see what gear is engaged (useful in manual shift mode), real-time fuel consumption and more. This is also where you choose all the vehicle settings. For example, toggle the Attention Assist (which warns you if you seem drowsy), adjust the brightness of ambient cabin lighting, et al.

The seats have the right amount of cushioning and support. The driver gets electrical adjust with three memory settings, while the passenger seat makes do with manual adjust for all but lumbar support. The integrated headrests angle forward a fair bit, which actually supports the driver's head (something most integrated headrests don't do).

The A-Class has a long wheelbase and length for a "hatchback", albeit it has a fairly long hood too. All accounted for, legroom is C-segment like, and the gaps below the front seats make it easy to slide your feet forward comfortably. Even with a tall person in the driver's seat, legroom at the rear is manageable. Under-thigh support is sufficient, and the seat back angle is middle of the road too. If you're 5'9" or shorter, you won't have any complaints sitting on the rear bench. However, headroom is in short supply. A rear passenger who is 5'10" will have his head rubbing against the roof as it slopes down towards the rear. For anyone 5'11" and above, the rear seat isn't an option.

If you think the ambiance at the front was cave-like, the rear is more so. The black front seats stand tall in front of you and the integrated head-rests are unnecessarily wide too. You don't get much of a view of the road ahead, and the sun-roof isn't overhead either. On the brighter side, the rear windows do roll all the way down. The A-Class uses "MFA" (Mercedes Front-wheel-drive Architecture), but still has a ginormous floor-hump. This takes the 5th passenger completely out of the equation. Despite that, there is still no armrest for rear benchers! Up ahead are two A/C vents which do a good job of keeping the rear half of the cabin cool. Below is a 12v outlet for your charging needs.

The A-Class is equipped with dual zone climate control air-conditioning that performed impressively in the sweltering May afternoon heat. The chilled cabin could be accredited to the car's white colour, and very limited glass area - although the large sun-roof would undo some of that help. The air-con vents are one of my favourite things on the inside. Not only are they a beautiful and simple design, reminiscent of the W123 era, but they are a joy to use too. They move around in a damped fashion, and turning them clockwise lessens the air-flow, until they finally shut with a soft + gratifying click.

Audio source options include SD card, USB, Bluetooth and iPod. Sound quality is good, though the bass was a tad boomy for my tastes, even at a flat EQ setting. FM reception is exceptionally good. I'd give it a solid 8/10 rating for sound quality.

Like every other Mercedes Benz, there's no compromise on safety here. The A-Class gets 7 airbags, ABS, ESP, Brake Assist, Attention Assist and Hill-start Assist. There's also a host of smaller features like auto-dimming interior and driver's side mirrors, adaptive brake lights (flash during hard braking), auto headlights, tyre pressure loss warning system and more.

The A-Class makes do with a space saver rather than a full-sized spare wheel. Though the space saver comes with its own zippable cover and tie-downs (to hold it in place), it looks shabby because it doesn't have a recession of its own to be stowed away out of sight. Instead, the space saver is very much part of daily luggage! The A180's boot capacity is rated at 341 liters without the space saver.

Steering wheel feels extremely premium with its metal inserts and choice of textured materials:

MID main settings menu shown. Also, note the indication of gears at the bottom right, including the "E" for economy mode. The [P] right at the top indicates that parking sensors (an optional extra) are active:

Column-mounted gear selector is very convenient, but takes a little getting used to. Press the button to put it into Park mode:

Tiny paddle shifter peeping out:

The button to cycle between the gearbox modes of Economy, Sport and Manual:

Large dead pedal in a roomy foot-well:

Front seats are clearly inspired from racing seats. I thought they provided decent comfort, others thought they were great:

Wiper controls and indicators are combined into a single stalk! One below is for cruise control:

Though not shown in this picture, the 5.8" screen supports cover-art too:

The standard Merc splattering of buttons around the audio system:

Dual-zone climate control performs excellently. Update: The A-Class does not come with climate control as standard:

Space here has been maximized by relocating the hand-brake and gear-lever. The large covers disappear neatly into the center console when opened:

Cup and card/ticket holders:

Armrest slides forward for comfort. COMAND controller is located a little too far back:

The storage under the armrest is deep. Contains the USB audio input and iPod connector plug (proprietary cable required):

Glovebox is fairly deep, but the odd shape limits what you can squeeze in:

Door panels are wrapped in soft leather-like material. Electric seat adjustments and 3 memory positions. One touch down on all windows. Brushed aluminum looks cool:

Standard German switchgear for the lights. The button on the left is for the rear fog lights (there are no fogs at the front):

A rare Merc where the mirrors are actually big, convex and usable (including the left one)! Both are two stage convex. Visibility is good:

Tiny IRVM, but that's because the rear window is even smaller. Inside mirror and driver's side are auto-dimming at night:

Look at the detailing and materials used on the vents. Top class:

7 airbags inside the A-Class, including a knee-bag for the driver:

The large sun-roof with a retractable netting pulled half-way back:

There's even ambient lighting in the front headrests! The entire cabin looks sweet at night:

Rear bench is styled similar to the triangular-topped front seats. No flip-down armrest:

Legroom behind a 5'8" driver is sufficient. Very high transmission tunnel prevents a 5th passenger's presence:

A very sizeable rear parcel tray:

The space-saver spare doesn't get its own recessed compartment! It greatly eats into the limited 341 liter boot space:

Last edited by Rehaan : 31st December 2013 at 12:26. Reason: Updating part about parking sensors. Removing Pic of rear AC vents
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Old 14th June 2013, 10:57   #5
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

The Petrol

The A180 Sport variant we tested is a turbo-charged 4-cylinder petrol. Despite being badged "180", it's actually a 1.6L unit that delivers 122 BHP @ 5,000 rpm. 122 horses are nothing to write home about, the Hyundai Verna 1.6L costing a fraction of the price has a similar power output. On the other hand, torque is an impressive-by-petrol-standards 200 Nm from as low as 1,250 rpm, right through to 4,000 rpm - a typical trait of direct-injection turbo petrols. The 0-100 kph sprint clocks in at 9.2 seconds as per Merc data.

Insert the USB-like key into the slot and turn it for a couple of satisfying German clicks. Fire her up, and a barely audible murmur is heard, which eventually settles down to an inaudible hum. By this time, the ORVMs have also unfolded automatically. Pull the column-mounted transmission selector down and Drive is engaged. You can keep it pressed upward to engage reverse (rather than pressing it twice). If you want to switch back to 'Park', simply tap the button at the end of the gear stalk. May be convenient and quick, but it still feels fiddly and lacks the conventional tactile feedback we associate with switching between drive directions.

This is possibly the first Mercedes we've come across with useful outer rear view mirrors. The size is large enough, and the edges are further convex on both mirrors to help tackle blind spots. The steering is light, as are most other controls. Like other auto transmission cars, taking your foot off the brake in 'D' will make the car crawl forward. If you brake till the car comes to a standstill, then push the pedal further down, "HOLD" appears on the MID and the car remains in place (even after you release the brake pedal). This 'brake-hold' feature is extremely convenient in stop-and-go city traffic as you don't need to keep the brake pedal pressed when stationary.

The A180 sits quite low and squat on its patch of ground. Unlike most other hatchbacks, this is a proper two box car. The long snout extends out a fair bit, but it's not possible to see the front corners. No, this isn't a car easy to shoot through gaps in our Brownian-motion traffic. The width of the cabin and the car itself take some getting used to. The turning circle is a fairly large 5.5m, thanks to the wide wheels and long wheelbase. Ship and captain will definitely be more at ease on the somewhat spacious arterial roads of our cities.

In the city, the A-Class is very comfortable. The engine has enough punch at low RPMs and the transmission ticks along from cog to cog in a smooth & relaxed manner. Bad roads are dealt with in a dignified way, though the ride is somewhat compromised by the massive, low-profile 225/45 R17 tyres. Despite the taut suspension, there was never a painful thud or spine-crushing jolt felt in the cabin. Ground clearance never posed a problem over our entire 300+ km trip (3 Moderators onboard).

The 7-speed DCT (dual clutch transmission) offers a selection of three modes for the driver to choose from; E (Economy), S (Sport) and M (Manual). From the comfort point of view, we didn't feel a single harsh shift. It was silky smooth all through. However, we unanimously felt the DCT to be lacking the outright sharpness and responsiveness of other DSGs. Shifts are a bit delayed and ponderous in comparison to VW DSGs, regardless of the shift-mode selected. This can be observed during kick-down as well, where you'll hear the revs rise for half a second before you feel the gear engage and the power actually meeting the road. When it comes to responsiveness, the AT feels like a well-performing slush-box rather than a 7-speed DSG.

On the Economy gearbox setting, the A-Class shifts up very early. It would settle into 7th gear by 80 km/h or earlier. This is great for fuel efficiency; however, on part throttle (particularly around 1,500 - 1,800 RPM), there was a faint knocking coming from the engine. This would continue for a few seconds before the `box decided to down-shift into 6th or 5th, after which the knocking stopped. We were running on regular petrol, and the problem persisted even after a fill-up from a different pump.

Typical of an automatic, sport mode holds on to every gear till the red-line, unless the driver eases off the accelerator. Sport mode definitely helps take some of the laziness out of Economy mode. However, it gets a little too buzzy for daily use. I wish there was something in between Sport and Economy modes for a daily driving style. In manual mode, the nifty paddle-shifters come into action and somewhat heighten the driver's involvement. You don't necessarily have to shift to 'M' mode to use the paddles. You can do so in Sport or Economy too if say, you want to force a down-shift.

Once you climb the on-ramp to the highway, some of the strengths and limitations of this car become glaringly obvious. To begin with, the lack of outright power and the lazy transmission mean that drivers planning to make rapid progress will have to use the paddle shifts and keep the engine on the boil. The lack of power isn't helped by a rare over-tyred setup, with fat 225-section tyres on all four corners adding to the rolling resistance.

You know how sometimes you're in a car (usually German), and the driver says "Guess how fast we're going?". It's fairly silent in the cabin and the engine doesn't sound stressed, so you say "80 km/h?", and the driver goes "Feels like it, but we're actually at 120!". Similarly, you know how sometimes you're on an open highway and have to actively keep the right foot in check to ensure you don't unintentionally touch a stupid 3-digit speed? Well, neither of these things happen in the A180 Sport! The engine just doesn't have the steam to strongly pull past triple digit speeds without making a noise about it. Once the needle reaches the higher end of the tachometer, the engine becomes audible inside the cabin. The exhaust isn't exactly sporty, but you'll hear it working away nevertheless. While in general, the cabin's sound insulation is good, the weakest link is the tyre noise, even on asphalt roads. The 225 width tyres definitely play a part in stepping up the road-noise volume.

High speed stability is like any other bigger Merc. The car feels composed and steady even after you cross into 3-digit territory. The wide front and rear track with thick rubber ensure predictable handling and lots of traction. The A-Class is a neutral handler, understeer is seldom seen and oversteer is unlikely (being front wheel drive). Steering feel is lacking, like most non-AMG Mercs. Therefore, despite the high levels of grip, the A-Class isn't exactly a corner-carving tool for an enthusiast. As is the case with most other Mercedes, the steering has a fairly slow rack ratio. Translated, you have to move the wheel a lot to get the car to turn just a little. Its noticeable on twisty roads and sharp turns, even in the city.

The brakes might seem a little too grabby at the start. Beyond that, they are solid and predictable anchors. A good reassurance to have on our highways!

The diesel

The diesel (Style variant) is a 4-cylinder, 2.2L CRDI powerplant. In the A-class however, the engine has been detuned and puts out a not-so-exciting 108 horsepower @ 3200 - 4400 RPM (the same engine in the E220 CDI makes 170 BHP!). This, coupled with a 100 kg kerb weight penalty over the petrol, doesn't look too promising on paper. The brochure claims a 1000-kilometer range on the diesel; whether this comes at the expense of driving pleasure remains to be seen, as we haven't driven the oil burner yet.

Octane requirements & suggested tyre pressures:

The ECU (silver box) is now located at the front of the engine bay. A fender-bender could mean an expensive ECU replacement:

Absolutely no sound insulation on the underside of the hood. And hey, no pneumatic struts to hold the hood up either:

The A180 petrol we tested. The diesel gets an "A180 CDI" badge:

Last edited by Rehaan : 31st December 2013 at 12:26.
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Old 14th June 2013, 10:57   #6
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

Other Points:

• The A-Class provides C-segment power at D-segment pricing. Luckily for Mercedes, not everyone is an enthusiast, and they can get away with it thanks to the A-Class' looks, equipment levels and brand image.

• Perhaps the B-Class and upcoming CLA (A-Class based sedan) have something to do with the basic power output of the A-Class, which is their lowest offering.

• The A-Class is available in 3 colours: white, red and silver. The silver is a metallic colour and adds roughly 50,000 Rupees to the ex-showroom price.

• The A180 CDI (diesel) does not get the following features: Twin exhaust pipes, panoramic sunroof, chequered flag design on the instrument cluster with red needles. Interior upholstery used is slightly different too.

• Interestingly, at the time of the A-Class' launch, Mercedes bumped up the price of the B-Class by ~2 lakhs. This was to accommodate the A-Class at the relevant price point.

• After the positive initial response (based on 400+ bookings in 10 days), Mercedes might now have the conviction they need to get cracking on the CKD route for the A-Class.

• For a young man looking to spend 30L on something unique, the Beetle and Mini Cooper might be seen as being less manly than the A-Class.

• The dimmer stalk (on the instrument cluster) not only dims the instrument cluster & MID, but also the ambient interior lighting and the COMAND screen (if it's set to auto brightness).

• I noticed a harsh specular reflection on the MID while driving. It was from sunlight bouncing off the top of the steering column casing, although it might not be a common occurrence.

• The ECO mode (start/stop system) seems to come back on every time you use the car, even if you turned it off the last time!

• Fuel tank capacity is 50 liters, with a 6 liter reserve.

• 2 year / unlimited kms warranty is standard, with options for the 3rd and 4th year being offered too.

• A special thanks to Rudra Sen for some of the excellent pictures, and other BHPians for sharing their views & observations.

Last edited by Rehaan : 21st June 2013 at 14:37.
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Old 14th June 2013, 10:58   #7
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

The Smaller Yet Significant Things:

Despite its minor improvements over the years, the COMAND interface still seems a decade too old:

ECO driving report. Unfortunately, this is the highest score we achieved . Coffee cup = Attention Assist is on:

Height adjustable seatbelts, and probably the only place you'll find hard plastic on this interior:

Electrically operated push/pull button handbrake located below the light knob helps free up space on the center console:

ECO turns on/off the engine start-stop system. P deactivates the parking sensor's beeping (if you've had them added to your car). Heated seats? Few will ever use them in India:

Key fob looks premium, though I think it's time Mercedes redesigns this to a more elegant shape:

Yes yes, you can look pretty:

Very visible ISOFIX mounts for attaching child seats:

Neat grey stitching on the textured seat material:

Front reading lights are smartly hidden away below the inside rear view mirror. Small orange hole (top right) provides ambient lighting to the center console area:

Roof mounts for additional storage, bike-racks etc.

Real-time fuel efficiency graph (though in L/100 km) gets updated on a minute-by-minute basis:

Neat touch: This faintly inscribed text glows orange when the passenger's airbag is disabled (e.g. turned off or seatbelt not attached):

Manual seat height (front edge and rear edge), electric lumbar and manual recline knob (out of view) on the passenger's seat:

Finding the lever to pop the hood is exceptionally hard! It's hidden away here, and would have been missed if not for the colour:

Safety kit hidden in the trunk's side compartment:

Skinny 125/80 R17 space-saver spare tyre probably looks comical on the car:

A nicely packaged cover for that dirty punctured tyre you'll have to dump in the boot:

The rear seats have a 60:40 flip-down, in case you need more space:

Last edited by Rehaan : 31st December 2013 at 12:27. Reason: Removing picture of reverse-camera & parking sensors, as they are not provided standard.
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Old 14th June 2013, 12:00   #8
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

Excellent review on a car that is simply enjoying the 1st mover advantage among the big three.

Rating thread a well deserved 5* (only for the design).

My only grouse is that the car disappoints when you kick down that accelerator with an expectation of going fasssst.

Have read on other blogs that BMW has taken the marketing campaign for the 1 series live, seems like somebody wants to spoil the party for Mercedes, and soon. Also, the official BMW 1 series website is live, click here.

Last edited by parrys : 14th June 2013 at 12:08.
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Old 14th June 2013, 12:21   #9
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

Excellent review Rehaan! Was eagerly waiting for this review!
The A-Class is one of the most beautiful cars on the road today IMO, and its success seems to support this.
The pics in this posts are absolutely excellent,especially the in motion ones.
Rating thread a well deserved 5 stars!

Last edited by nipcarlover : 14th June 2013 at 12:50.
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Old 14th June 2013, 12:28   #10
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

Once again an excellent detailed review. Thanks Rehaan!
I still remember I had a toy-car of the 2nd-gen A-Class. It was my favourite of all the toy-cars I had.
Mercedes' designs these days are miles ahead and much beautiful than BMW or Audi. Sheer Brilliance.

Apparently, even though the vRS is the cheapest it will leave all others biting the dust,right?
Also, no pneumatics to hold the hood up at 90 degree like other Mercs?


Last edited by Octane_Power : 14th June 2013 at 12:34.
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Old 14th June 2013, 12:34   #11
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

What am about to say might sound like total crap, and this is strictly my personal opinion . Somehow , when i look at the pics of the A class , am reminded of the Hyundai Veloster. Did Mercedes try to do something on the lines of Veloster . The side profile and the rear profile , look slightly borrowed . Again , I might be wrong . Or I might be hallucinating .
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Old 14th June 2013, 13:00   #12
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

Thank you for the superb review.

Rear Armrest and Lower Power seem to be the most evident -ves.

So vs. the X1 (which has the dynamics spoilt vs. the normal 3 series) and this A Class - Which is a better drive? Which offers better comfort.

They should have gone in a couple of lacs more aggressive on the pricing.
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Old 14th June 2013, 13:00   #13
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

When I first saw A class launch on TV was not all that impressed maybe because the reviews were not as detailed as Rehaan's. Amazing amount if detailing . It just tempts a non-buyer like me to buy it
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Old 14th June 2013, 13:20   #14
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Thank you for this review. I have been eagerly waiting for this. I have one question. Does the diesel variant come with the pana sunroof and diamond grill as standard?
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Old 14th June 2013, 13:21   #15
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Default Re: Mercedes A-Class : Official Review

Nice review of an outstanding looking car - both inside and outside.

Wish it came with better engines. Both of them seem to be pretty low down on power. Also what on earth was Mercedes thinking about that spare wheel? To dump it into the boot like that is pretty appalling.
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