By Theodore Opara
THE transformation was beyond everyone’s imagination as Motoring journalists gathered at Weststar Associates office, representatives of Mercedes Benz in Nigeria to catch a glimpse of the all-new Mercedes Benz A-Class and test drive it too. The occasion was a special one for Mercedes in the country being the first time it would be launching four new exciting models at a time. Members of the public were also invited to test-drive the cars-Mercedes Benz A, B, C and E-Class. It was all fun as Weststar hosted the guests, the Mercedes Benz way.
The elated Managing Director of Weststar Associates, Mr. Mirko Plath had earlier during a press briefing explained how Mercedes Benz had transformed the A-Class to make it a class benchmark. He asked the journalists to reserve their questions until they see the new bride. But everyone was amazed when they saw the new A-Class. It was a masterpiece in every respect – design, comfort, power and safety-just name it. Mercedes Benz engineers craftsmanship reflected all over. The cockpit has been carefully crafted with unique features that gives the A-Class away as a car in the upper class. The quality materials used in the finishing were a clear testimony that Mercedes wanted to make the A-Class a benchmark in its segment. No one expected the level of transformation on the car. It was simply cute.
But if the design of the all new A-Class was stunning, one would be completely lost at the performance of this entry level Mercedes Benz car. It is fast and handles like the bigger Mercedes Benz. It is spacious with array of comfort amenities and latest high- tech equipment like never before in its class as revealed during a test drive along the Lekki Expressway.
The test-drive left all wondering weather the car should still retain the model name – A-Class. It is an entirely new car with new shape, high-end luxury and unimaginable excellent road-handling.
Available in Nigeria with a 4-cylinder petrol engine as the A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY with 1595CC and 90 KW (122 horsepower) plus a maximum torque of 200Nm between 1250 and 4000 rpm, the new A-Class is one of the most fuel efficient cars in its class. Though there are other engine variants available in the A-Class lineup but not approved for Nigerian market.Mercedes Benz says the new A-Class is a true endurance athlete. The economical consumption from 3.3 litres over 100 kilometres takes you further than you think.” Mated to this engine is a 7-speed dual clutch transmission 7G-DCT which is standard. With seven forward gears and one reverse gear the dual clutch transmission combines comfort, sportiness and economy.
The new A-Class excellent roadhandling comes from its power-train, chassis and suspension. McPherson strut front axle and a completely redesigned four-link rear axle ensure driving stability and ride comfort. The standard -fit rack and pinion steering with integral Steer control Steering assistance system for support in critical driving situations stand for precise handling while the power assistance is delivered electromechanically and reduces as the speed increases.
The car offers a full range of entertainment systems from Audio 5 USB and the optional Audio 20 CD system with Becker MAP pilot to the Optional Command Online Multimedia system. The multimedia system boosts a high-resolution 17.8cm colour display. The system’s functions include radio, speed sensitive volume control, the Music Register with 10GB hard disc. The DVD drive plays CDs and MP3 content as well as video and audio DVD.
The A-Class boosts the usual Mercedes Benz Safety features including: Attention Assist, Collision Prevention Assist, Adaptive Brake, Distronic Plus, Lane Keeping Assist/Blind Spot Assist, Pre-Safe System, Intelligent Light System, Active Bonnet, and air bags.