Mercedes-Benz has just revealed the all-new A-Class, and the compact Benz is loaded with technology and is coming to Canada for the first time. Plus Mercedes might be introducing a new model naming scheme to follow it.
Mercedes-Benz wants the new car to not be just their least expensive car. Mercedes head Dieter Zetsche called it "the most grown-up compact out there." To underline that, the new A offers an interior that takes elements from the full-size S-Class, and even offers the flagship car's active safety features plus one the S doesn't have yet.
It includes an available widescreen digital cockpit, like the huge screen panels in the top Mercedes-Benz models. Twin 7.0-inch displays are available or upgrade to twin 10.25-inch screens. The screens set off a simple and elegant interior, with a minimal number of buttons and switches. The standard panoramic sunroof helps to further accentuate the spaciousness of the interior.
The A-Class debuts the new MBUX virtual assistant. It can be used to fully customize the user experience and can learn to adapt to a specific user. It is activated with a familiar "Hey Mercedes" command. The MBUX system uses voice controls to handle normal phone and audio commands but also acts like Amazon and Google's virtual assistants. For example, say "Hey Mercedes, I am cold" and it will adjust the climate control to warm you up.
Zetsche outlined a new active safety feature that will keep the blind spot sensors active for up to three minutes after turning off the car. That helps to protect cyclists from being struck by the door when the driver exits the vehicle.
Outside, the A-Class is a simple design, but elegant. Design Chief Gorden Wegner said if you like it, take a line off. If you still like it, take another line off. That left the simple side profile with a sloping nose, shoulder line, and a character line near the bottom of the doors.
When the A-Class arrives in Canada, it will have just one engine and transmission choice, with 4Matic all-wheel drive available. It's the A 250, with a 2.0L four-cylinder that makes 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The gearbox is a seven-speed dual clutch automatic. the all-wheel drive system has variable torque distribution to offer improved handling and traction.
Mercedes-Benz Canada has confirmed that while the US market will get only the A-Class sedan, the Canadian market will get both the hatchback and the sedan. More sedan info will come later this year, and the hatch is set to go on sale here later this year.
While it won't make it to the A-Class at launch, recent trademark filings show that Mercedes is looking at a new naming scheme.
The new trademark applications are for the names A 40, CLA 40, SLC 40, SLC 50, CLS 50, and GLE 50. Those applications were filed in Canada this month. Mercedes-Benz has also filed for them globally with the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
Traditionally, two-digit numbers have been reserved for AMG cars, but since there are already AMG 43 and 45 models, it's not likely that the brand would drop to a lower number.
That means that the new system looks like a replacement for the current Mercedes three-digit system. The current CLA 250 could be replaced - in name only, or with an engine upgrade - with the CLA 40.
Mercedes also filed trademark applications for some new AMG model names. Those are CLA 53, G 73, and S 73. Mercedes-Benz announced earlier this month that the AMG 53 line would include a CLS, E-Class Coupe, and E-Class Cabriolet. Those cars would use a 3.0L inline six that is twin-turbocharged to make 429 hp.
Rumours have circulated about the possible AMG 73 driveline already. Those have said that it would be an 805 hp 4.0L V8 and hybrid electric motor system. The trademark application confirms there will be 73 models, but not what that will mean under the hood.
Benz also filed for a trademark on Turbo 48. It's less clear what this could be. It fits into the Mercedes-AMG 43 and 45 lineup, but it also aligns with the 48-volt micro-hybrid system being developed by the brand. It could end up as a fender badge like the current Biturbo badge or the Kompressor logo that Mercedes-Benz used on older supercharged cars.