Edition 1479
16 June 2018
Edition: 1479

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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A class above

by Brendan de Beer, in Motoring · 31-05-2018 14:26:00 · 0 Comments

The A-Class Mercedes-Benz has come a long way since the launch of the inaugural and controversial model in the late 1990s. The latest model bears a number of similarities with its ground-breaking predecessor, but this fourth generation model has recorded a series of noteworthy improvements.

A class above

The new A-Class has been launched in Portugal with three models; the A180d which was our test model, the A200 and the A250.
The A180d is once again tipped to be the most popular among Portuguese motorists and boasts an improved 1.5 diesel engine. Our test model, equipped with an AMG kit and low profile 19inch alloys, looks a lot quicker than it actually is, but work on the motor has seen output improve from 109 hp to 116hp.
All models currently sold in Portugal come standard with the 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic gearbox, with the manual gearbox only expected here during the first quarter of 2019.
The seven-speed gearbox is an absolute pleasure, and when driving at reasonable (slightly above legal) speeds, the changes are smooth and hardly noticeable, making for an enjoyable and care-free driving experience.
One of the selling points in the A-Class is its new infotainment system, known as MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience).
As referred to in an early introductory article on the model, MBUX is designed to offer a more immersive experience - bringing a new ‘Mercedes Me’ voice assistant, tons of customizability and some augmented reality features for satellite navigation.
The MBUX system can be a lot of fun, providing all types of random information via voice control, while also able to change a series of settings while driving by means of an innovative voice assistant.
This is very similar to Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa - which allows some functions of the car to be controlled by voice, as well as providing other types of information.
There were however some glitches, and on occasion failed to understand basic instructions, but as it is connected to the Cloud, improvements will undoubtedly be arriving soon via technological updates.
In the meantime, it was rather easy to command the A-Class to calculate the route to the airport, to close the panoramic sunroof, though it did struggle to identify people I wanted to call on my mobile phone, and kept on insisting I repeat the name until giving up.
This system has been at the core of commercials of the new A-Class, which will for many buyers be the clincher when choosing between rival models such as the Audi A3 or the BMW 1-series.
The low-profile tyres are not the most comfortable, but cling to the road like glue, and once on the motorway, the car feels as comfortable as any.
The space seems to have improved on the previous model, especially in terms of headroom at the back, with four adults able to fit in the car with relative comfort.
The boot has also increased in size and now boasts 370 litres of capacity, up by around ten percent on its predecessor.
The interior, while very good on the third generation model, has moved up a few notches, with the display unit much more intuitive and does not look like a tablet stuck on the dash as was previously the case.
Mercedes-Benz say the 180d will cover the 0-100km/h sprint in just over ten seconds, while the small 1.5 diesel can reach a top speed of 202km/h. Fuel consumption was pleasing, with our test vehicle recording an average of just below 6L/100km, despite being put through its paces on a number of occasions.
The new A-Class has definitely upped the ante in this market, and is set to be one of the most sought-after and bought car in Portugal. While the A180d starts at €32,450, the addition of the AMG kit and other features brings the value of the car closer to €40,000.
To see this car up close and find out about any potential special deals involving Mercedes-Benz, visit the Starsul exhibition area at the International Algarve Fair being held this weekend (June 2 and 3) at the Fatacil showgrounds from 11am to 7pm.

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Edition 1479
16 June 2018
Edition: 1479

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter