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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 6, 2012 @ 11:42 am

    Geneva motor show: New Mercedes A-Class

    Michael McAleer

    Mercedes's new A-Class: big improvement on its predecessor

    Mercedes is showcasing its new A-Class, a proper supermini from the premium brand, far more sporty and stylish than its predecessor; enough perhaps to warrant a new name. While it’s based on the B-Class platform, the car is similar in internal space to the likes of the Audi A1.
    The official line is that it’s a cool rival to the Audi A3, but it seems too small to be a real contender in the family hatchback segment, regardless of the badge up front.
    Aimed at the prized 25-plus age group, where Mercedes has little or no customer base, the three-pointed star brand is eager to be perceived as a young and trendy brand once more, and not just the preserve of fortysomething managers.
    As part of this drive is the increasingly close relationship with Apple. The new A-Class allows you to connect your iPad to the car’s entertainment system and effectively operate all your apps and music catalogue from the cars main screen.
    The car will be launched in Ireland with a 1.8-litre diesel with emissions of just 99g/km. However it will not be arriving in Irish showrooms until the start of2013.
    Mercedes has a massive challenge to change perceptions, particularly in mature markets like Ireland, but the A-Class certainly is a step in the right direction to moving the brand towards a more cool and contemporary customer base. Pricing however, will be key. No word yet on that.

    New A-Class interior: With iPad connectivity, but similar space to Audi A1

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