The Mercedes-Benz A-Class Makes Its American Debut

While Europe has been enjoying the A-Class for some a couple of decades, Mercedes-Benz did not market this luxury sedan in the United States. This is the first of a new generation of what are affectionately known as baby Benzes. And it's coming to America. This entry-level luxury car holds a lot of technology and offers ample room for passenger comfort. The new A-Class has solved many of the problems of the CLA. And it introduces the Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX, to the public. While this system is still in beta testing, it is sure to be on the rest of the fleet soon.


How sophisticated is its exterior design?

Overall, the exterior look of the U.S. version of the Mercedes-Benz A-Series is less than stellar. However, this was the trade-off to get a more aerodynamic design. The A-Series features the nose and slim headlights of its nearest family member, the CLA. The A-Series sports a windshield that is narrow with a steep grade that ruins the artistic style that makes the CLA so provocative. This also creates the need for a higher seat positioning than many drivers may like.


What kind of engine options are available?

Unfortunately, in the U.S. model, there is only one engine available. The 2-liter turbocharged inline-4 produces 188 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque for the A220. This is much less than the European A250, which packs 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The American model provides fantastic throttle response and produces almost no turbo lag. The 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission doesn't experience the same low-speed lumbering of the CLA's 7-speed version. The 2019 A-Series can go from zero to sixty in about 6.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 130 miles per hour.


Does the A-Series deliver a smooth ride?

This is an area where Mercedes-Benz improved greatly on the CLA. First, they got rid of the CLA's rough-riding suspension. All the U.S. A-Class models sport a multi-link rear suspension and MacPherson struts in the front. Wheel sizes range from 17- to 19-inches. The A220 gives a much smoother, well-controlled ride than the CLA, especially with the largest wheels and the addition of the optional adaptive dampers. Drivers will notice that the front-wheel-drive has less impact harshness and ensuing body motion. The A-Series' steering has a great feel to it, with a natural weight that equals precision handling. While the summer tires do have a lot of grip on the road, they can also be pretty noisy.


How roomy is the cabin?

The A220 has a surprisingly roomy cabin. The rear seats are a bit cramped with the maximum of three, but two adults can ride in back very comfortably. The trunk of this baby Benz measures 13 cubic feet, giving you plenty of room for shopping and hauling the kids' gear.


How luxurious is the interior of the A-Series?

While the inside of the A220 looks basically like other top-tier compact sedans, Mercedes-Benz tries to put a stronger emphasis on luxury. The seats provide comfort and support for a more pleasurable ride for all. The front seats are contoured and are both heated and cooled. There is considerable contrast trim throughout the cabin's upholstery, adding interest and style to the interior. The 64-color ambient lighting extending across the dashboard and into the doors is very eye-catching, as is the ornate vents, reminiscent of the S-Class, that light up.


What standard features are on the A-Class?

The A220 comes with standard panoramic sunroof, LED headlights and taillights, dual-zone climate controls, adjustable driving modes, and push-button start. The cloud-based Mercedes-Benz User Experience, or MBUX, is only available in the A-Series but is soon to expand to the rest of the family. It has an excellent infotainment system with two 7-inch touchscreens, which you can upgrade to 10.3-inches. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Burmester audio system add to your mobile tech experience.


How safe is the new A-Series?

This is one area where the company dropped the ball in standard features. To get the comprehensive safety features that many car manufacturers include in the standard package, you will have to purchase an expensive options bundle that will significantly raise the price. When you do, however, your sedan will include such helpful features as active lane-change assist, adaptive cruise control, pedestrian and cyclist recognition, and great driver assist features for steering, blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic, speed-limit, and lane-keep assist.


How good is the fuel economy?

Mercedes-Benz has announced that the A-Series is the most aerodynamic production car available on the American market. Though they have yet to reveal exact fuel economy statistics, the A-Series will get an estimated combined gas mileage of 25 miles per gallon.


How much is a new A-Series going to set me back?

The Mercedes-Benz A-Series is marketed as an entry-level luxury car. While the company is a bit vague about the exact price, they say it will be lower than $35,000. This is certainly for the standard model, without the extra driver assist safety package. Loaded with options, the A-Series will likely cost you around $50,000. It might be better to opt for the C-Class without a ton of extras for that price.

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