If you’re in the market for a high-end hatchback, you might want to hang fire on ordering that 1 Series because the all-new Mercedes-Benz A-Class has just been revealed.
Unveiled on Friday night after months of teasers and spy shots, the fourth-gen A-Class promises to raise the standard for luxury and technology in the premium hatchback segment when it goes on sale next month with a starting price of around £24,000.
Anyone familiar with what an A-Class usually looks like will have no issue identifying it, although there are some interesting and disarmingly brave changes over the previous model.
Compared to the outgoing A-Class, the bonnet slopes more sharply, the wheel arches are larger and the back-end is visibly wider than before.
As expected, the car is bigger in every direction too. With a length of 4,419mm, it is 120mm longer than before, while its 1,796mm width is 16mm broader.
It is 7mm higher too at 1,440mm tall, while the wheelbase has been stretched by 30mm.
All these changes add up to a car that looks more SUV-like than before, but it also helps to give it class-leading aerodynamics.
If you’re not keen on the look, tough, because its traits will be applied to all forthcoming Mercs, as Daimler chief design officer Gorden Wagener stressed: “The new A-Class embodies the next stage in our design philosophy and has the potential to usher in a new design era.
“With clear contours and sensual surfaces, we present high-tech that awakens emotions. Form and body are what remain when creases and lines are reduced to the extreme. The interior represents modern luxury at a level previously unattained in this class, and translates intelligent technology into an emotional overall experience.”
The cabin boasts a groundbreaking design with freestanding instrument panels, turbine-style air vents and ambient lighting.
There’s also a new artificial intelligence feature in the infotainment system that can be individualised to suit the user.
This means that if you call a certain person or drive to a certain place around the same time of day then the system will pick up on that and eventually learn to suggest the action.
Fancy or annoying? You decide.
Mercedes says the new system is a good example of technology making people’s lives easier, combining intuitive and natural operation with intelligent, learning software.”
From its launch, engine options will include the A 200 and A250 petrols and the A 180 d diesel.
The most potent choice from day one will be the A 250, with its 6.2-second 0-62mph sprint.
There’s no mention of a hybrid in the press release, but trust us, it’s coming.
You’ll be able to order your new A-Class from March with a view to it sitting on your driveway by June.