Seven years after the A-Class first made waves around the world, the new edition has shed its Mom-mobile image and emerged as a sexier and more svelte young model.

Seven years after the A-Class first made waves around the world, the new edition has shed its Mom-mobile image and emerged as a sexier and more svelte young model.

In addition to the five-door version currently available, albeit with the longer wheelbase option, Mercedes Benz will for the first time launch a three-door model for youthful buyers seeking something a bit more compact.

Once again, the A-Class uses the “sandwich” body construction concept used in its predecessor for greater front and side impact protection. The chassis uses a parabolic rear axle, which offers precision tracking and good anti-roll support while cornering. Fitted as standard too is the newly developed selective damping system, which adapts shock absorber forces to driving conditions, and is said to be a world first.

The new range incorporates seven four-cylinder engines, including three newly-developed CDI direct fuel injection models and a new 142 kW turbocharged petrol engine.

Mercedes Benz claims the performance of both the petrol and diesel engines used in the new A-Class has increased by up to 30 per cent and the torque levels by up to 46 per cent. Overall fuel consumption has dropped by as much as 10 per cent. All engines satisfy the rigid EU-4 exhaust emissions limits and a particulate filter system can be added to the diesel engines as an option.

The new A-Class can also be fitted with the newly-developed Autotronic continuously variable automatic transmission, a first for Mercedes.

Standard equipment will include a multifunction steering wheel, speed-dependent power-assisted steering, ESP and a selective damping system. Maintaining class leading safety standards, more than 200 patents were used in the new A-Class.

Safety equipment includes adaptive two-stage front airbags, seat belt tensioners for front seat passengers and passengers sitting in the outer rear seats, adaptive belt force limiters and revised head and front thorax-side airbags to replace the previous sidebags.

Optional extras include automatic Thermotronic air conditioning system which operates using data recorded by sensors determining the temperature, position of the sun, air humidity and level of pollutants in the outside air, the latest Comand APS system, and bi-xenon headlights.

The luggage capacity of the new A-Class exceeds that of its predecessor by up to 15 per cent with a 60/40 rear seat split and individual folding seat cushions and backrests.

The capacity of the luggage compartment is 1 310 litres. With the optional Easy-vario-plus system (available in the five door model) both rear seat cushions and the rear seat backrests can be taken out. This system also offers the option of folding the passenger seat backrest forwards or removing the passenger seat completely. The load area then increases to a length of 2,75 metres and the loading volume goes up to 1955 litres.

New dimensions – the new Merc is 232 mm longer and 45 mm wider than before – ensure a roomier cabin. Offering passengers 97 mm more shoulder room, 95 mm more elbow room and 30 mm more knee room, the A-Class’ cabin space rivals that of medium sized saloons.