That‘s ”A"-Class, as in, "Arriving in America."
Mention the Mercedes-Benz A-Class stateside, and most Americans will have no clue such a thing even exists. Some may think you mean an Audi (A3, A4, A6 - you get the idea), others may just think you've lost your marbles. And pretty soon, those thoughts will be wrong.
Mercedes recently announced they will be bringing the new, fourth-generation A-Class to this side of the pond, alongside the E-Class and relatively popular C-Class. Specifically, the four-door A220 will be introduced, sporting a 188-hp two-liter turbo four and seven speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. A 4Matic all-wheel-drive version will also be available. Other countries get to choose between sedan and hatchback body styles, and as may as five choices of petrol engines - ranging from 109-hp to 224-hp - and a diesel option. The US will get just one engine and one body type.
Available for "under US$34,000" when it debuts, the A-Class will compete head-to-head with the Jaguar XE and the BMW 3-series. Audi's A3 starts at a paltry US$31,950, leaving a little room for options before it catches up in price. The A220's starting price point also puts it squarely in competition with MB's own CLA 250, which starts at $33,100, looks strikingly similar but is slightly longer (182.3" vs. 179.1") and wider (80.0" vs. 78.4"), and has a more powerful engine (208-hp vs. 188-hp). The A220's 107.4" wheelbase will be slightly longer than the 106.3" of the CLA, and Mercedes claims that the A220 base model will be 0.2 seconds slower zero-to-sixty than the CLA (7.1 seconds vs. 6.9).
So, is this something Benz fans in the US should be excited about? The sub-compact A-Class has been available in other markets since 1997, or pretty much a full eon. For a lot of that time, we weren't missing out on much. Compared to the other Benzes sent over here, the older A-Class cars mainly weren't anything special, really. In fact, the 2008 A150 felt more like a tall Honda, almost like a CRV. It was comfortable enough, but it wasn't terribly pretty and lacked much performance at all thanks to its tiny 95-hp engine. It didn't feel like anything more than just fodder for a rental car fleet.
The less-than-astounding 2008 A150 Saloon. The incoming A220 sedan promises to be much more interesting. (Photo by: Todd Nielson)
That was long enough ago for Mercedes to make plenty of changes to the A-Class, and it looks like they have. Performance of the new A220 can't help but be better, and at least on par with other subcompact luxury cars. No word of an AMG version on this side of the pond, sadly.
What the introduction of the A-Class does is provide some choice for Mercedes-Benz buyers in the US at the entry level. The CLA four-door "coupe" has the motor and, by derivation, the more sporting intention, especially with the available AMG version. The A220 sedan, on the other hand, will likely appeal to those looking for a bit better fuel economy while still maintaining four doors and decent power.
31 October 2018 ..... Written by: Todd Nielson ..... Photos: As Credited.