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Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2001
long-wheelbase version feels as good as a top-class saloon
load capacity of a much larger estate car
new design details and high-quality materials
performance improvements of up to 25 per cent
latest generation ESP® and optional windowbags
More room, the spaciousness of a top-class saloon, superb versatility
and new record figures in terms of load capacity - such are the excellent
characteristics of a new, 170 mm longer, extended wheelbase version
of the successful Mercedes-Benz A-Class, which goes on display to the
public for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show 2001. It will be
launched at Mercedes-Benz dealerships and franchises in spring 2001.
Click image for larger view
In this long-wheelbase
version, the A-Class is once again setting the pace amongst compact
cars, since no other car in this market segment can offer quite so much
space: as much as 1930 litres - eleven per cent more than in the unchanged
current normal version of the innovative, compact Mercedes.
With this new bodywork
version, the car is still exemplary in terms of its use of space: due
to the car's innovative sandwich floor concept, the car's engine and
running gear could be positioned either in front of the passenger compartment
or underneath it, which means that 53 per cent of the 3.78 metre-long
body can be used by its occupants - far more than in conventional cars
of similar size.
freedom of movement on a par with a top-class saloon
As far as interior spaciousness is concerned, the A-Class in
its new long- wheelbase version is once again venturing into
dimensions hitherto unknown in this class of vehicle.
The lengthened wheelbase
gives rear-seat passengers a unique level of comfort: 170 millimeters
more legroom and a distance of 945 millimeters in all between front
and rear-seat passengers. Such comfortable dimensions
are better than those of many top-class saloons.
Load capacity: family-sized
dimensions and absolute versatility
Just how much space there
is on board the long-wheelbase version of the A-Class can be individually
determined by each driver for him or herself, thanks to its very versatile
seating arrangements, which offer 36 different permutations. With the
rear seats removed, the capacity of the load area, according to the
German VdA method of measuring (loaded up to the roof), can be as high
as 1530 litres - a figure which considerably exceeds the average load
capacity of much larger estate cars and one which sets a new benchmark
among compact cars.
photo: Automotive Intelligence
The A-Class, which has
convinced more than 550,000 customers in Europe and Asia since 1997
with its compact design and avantgarde styling, remains true to its
original philosophy even in the long-wheelbase version: to be a unique
car that offers a whole range of innovative solutions.
terms of quality and workmanship, the interior of the A-Class
is on a par with the high standards found in larger Mercedes
saloon cars. The use of top-quality materials, such as those
also used by Mercedes-Benz in the S-Class, gives the dashboard
a soft surface, pleasing to the touch.
Styling: new-look bumpers
for even more dynamic appearance
A comprehensive package
of both technical and styling model enhancements serve to make both
versions of the model year 2001 A-Class yet more attractive and even
better value. The dynamic appearance of this compact car is emphasised
by the re-designed front section with its strikingly contoured bumper,
including a new-look air intake vent in the lower part, which makes
the body appear wider and thus more obviously sporty in character. Further
new features include the integrated replaceable protective strips in
the front bumper and the state-of the-art clear glass-effect headlamps,
which brighten up the look of this, the most compact Mercedes model,
materials from the S-Class and improved ergonomics
The Mercedes designers
have completely reworked the cockpit area and, in the front part of
the car, have made the transition to the windscreen much more harmonious,
without compromising the bold lines of the design. Overall, the carefully
revised details give the dashboard a much more consistently pleasing
appearance and thus make its styling seem even more perfect.
Click image for
The more modern design
of the centre console serves to complement the new, sophisticated interior
styling. The top part is somewhat wider than hitherto and extends at
a flatter angle into the interior, giving both driver and front-seat
passenger a better view of the instruments. The arrangement and shape
of the switches have been designed with practical ergonomics in mind.
Thus the most frequently used buttons and the radio have been moved
up to the highest position in the centre console, whilst the heating
and ventilation adjustment controls are now located in the lower part.
All elements of the centre
console are integrated into a decorative strip which, according to model
line, varies from a textured metallic-look surface (CLASSIC), to a fine
wood veneer (ELEGANCE) or high-quality aluminium (AVANTGARDE). The newly
designed three-spoke steering wheel now features height adjustment as
Technology: more powerful
CDI engines and the latest generation ESP®
From spring 2001, both
the turbodiesel engines with Common Rail direct injection will produce
up to 25 per cent more power than hitherto. The four-cylinder engine
in the A 160 CDI, which will only be available in the standard version,
will in future produce 55 kW/75 hp instead of its current 44 kW/60 hp
thanks to the introduction of a charge air cooling system as standard.
Fuel consumption will nevertheless remain in the region of four litres
- it is now 4.8 litres per 100 kilometres (NEDC total consumption).
The power output of the A 170 CDI increases from 66 kW/90 hp to 70 kW/95
hp. The three petrol engines in the range remain unchanged.
The standard Electronic
Stability Program, ESP®, has been even further developed by the Mercedes
engineers. In its latest version it offers a particularly comfortable
ride in normal operation and, for the first time, has been combined
with a new hydraulic Brake Assist system. This ensures that the maximum
possible brake pressure develops in an emergency, so minimising stopping
Safety: windowbags now
offer the best possible lateral protection
The large windowbags, first
offered by Mercedes-in the S-Class, are now available as an option for
the A-Class as well. More than a metre long and twelve centimetres deep,
this cushion of air inflates in the event of a lateral impact to extend
like a curtain from the front to the rear side pillar, thus offering
generous head protection to the benefit of both front and rear-seat
occupants. They complement the already highly effective side impact
protection systems of the A-Class, which include the sandwich-style
concept, robust lateral supports and pillar structure and standard sidebags
in the front doors.
system with air humidity sensor
The climate comfort in
the A-Class has been perfected by the Mercedes engineers with a newly
developed air-conditioning system (optional equipment), which is controlled
according to air humidity by what is known as a dew point sensor. The
compact Mercedes is the first car in this market segment to offer such
a high-tech system.
Photos: : DaimlerChrysler