Compact. Sporty. Trunk space. Ambient lights for days. These are the headlines should the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class ever become a newspaper. Astute Mercedes-Benz aficionados might well remember the original 1997 A-Class and, certinately, the CLA Coupe in 2013, which marked the first time in recent history a compact Mercedes-Benz was sold in the United States.
Menu items like the CLA-Class are important for Mercedes-Benz. In 2017, about one in two buyers of a Mercedes-Benz compact car in the U.S. had previously driven the competition, and more than 50 percent of CLA customers are new to the brand.
It looks like the A-Class will do something similar with its two flavors: the A 220 and A 220 4MATIC.
Power & Performance
A turbo 2.0-liter inline-four engine will propel the new A-Class around town. Toss in a healthy 188 horsepower, 221 lb-ft. of torque, and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and the daily commute should go off without a hitch.
Although they don’t go into detail, Mercedes-Benz says a “choice of suspension systems” will be available. We do know the front axle is a McPherson design with a weight-optimized, torsion-beam rear axle. The 4MATIC models have an adaptive damping system, and wheels range from 17 to 19 inches.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class will come with a generous array of active safety features – in fact, it can drive semi-autonomously in certain conditions as it leverages technology from its grand daddy, the S-Class. Yet, the A-Class has passive safety designs that are equally as important, being it’s the first Mercedes-Benz developed at the Technology Centre for Vehicle Safety.
The body of the new A-Class – or its very DNA – has been subjected to extreme accident and collision testing. Thus, body shell components were developed with respect to load and stress capacity, geometry, material thickness, joining technology, and material quality, the latter meaning there is an increased proportion of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel throughout the vehicle. The result is increased rigidity when subjected to an accident or collision.
Mercedes-Benz is keen on four specific metrics here: The car’s length is 179.1 inches; width: 70.7 inches; height: 56.9 inches, and the 107.4-inch wheelbase. The significance of these numbers is available space inside. Small car? Yes. Cramped? No. Designers were deliberate in creating this effect inside the A-Class, evidenced in little ways, from the dashboard to the “free-standing cockpit” array.
The “5th Dimension” (great music) of the A-Class is the trunk, to which Mercedes-Benz (despite touting it) does not give any exact measurements; just that is was designed with a large opening for the easy loading of big items. As an aside, a car’s trunk is always the fifth dimension. You never know what treasures have been left unattended in there.
The lines between science fiction and the compact car have blurred with the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class. Take the new MBUX – or Mercedes-Benz User Experience system – for example. Sure, it has the main things off the bat: voice control and a touchscreen – that’s to be expected, but MBUX goes farther with Artificial Intelligence. Mercedes-Benz says the system creates an emotional connection between the vehicle, driver, and passengers.
Again, Mercedes-Benz didn’t give us a lot of detail, but it seems drivers talk to the A-Class through natural speech recognition technology. For example, saying “Hey Mercedes” brings MBUX to life. MBUX is also compatible with Car-to-X Communication, or the transmission of vital information to the A-Class from other vehicles or the surrounding infrastructure in the interest of keeping occupants safe.
And finally, there are 64 colors of optional ambient lighting. Yes. 64. Pick one and throw on that old Stoned Soul Picnic record. Or the Homecoming record. Ventura Highway probably sounds pretty cool in the visual aroma of 64 different ambient lights.
Manufacturing & Availability
A-Class production will begin shortly in Aguascalientes in central Mexico, with the Rastatt Plant in Germany joining in the manufacturing duties in 2019. Expect the new A-Class in the United States later this year. It seems like the A-Class would be a logical addition to the new subscription service Mercedes-Benz recently unveiled.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.