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Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2001

  • Comfort: long-wheelbase version feels as good as a top-class saloon

  • Boot: load capacity of a much larger estate car

  • Model enhancements: new design details and high-quality materials

  • CDI engines: performance improvements of up to 25 per cent

  • Safety: 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.

Mercedes new A-class
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.

Rear-seat passengers: 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.

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In 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, even more.

Interior: high-quality 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.

Mercedes A-Class
Click image for larger view

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 standard.

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 distances.

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.

Comfort: air-conditioning 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

 

 

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