Mercedes-Benz gets an A in Singapore with the new A-Class launch

Derryn Wong

Fourth-generation Mercedes luxury small hatchback debuts in Singapore with A 200 and A 250 variants, priced from $152,888 with COE
– Singapore models: A 200 with 163hp turbo 1.3-litre engine in Progressive ($152,888 with COE) and AMG Line ($157,888 with COE) trim, A 250 with 224hp 2.0-litre turbo engine only in AMG Line ($174,888 with COE) trim
– All-new fourth-generation aims to out-perform the previous model in all aspects: Performance, design, space, features, and more
– New platform, new engines, latest design concepts as seen in the CLS four-door coupe
– MBUX new infotainment and user interface, dual 10.25-inch screens for cockpit instruments and infotainment  
Mercedes-Benz Singapore launched the fourth-generation of its small hatchback, the A-Class, tonight at Como Dempsey, to an audience of more than 500 people including customers, prospects, the media, and special guests 

Also in attendance were Mediacorp artistes/Mercedes brand ambassadors Rebecca Lim (above right), Elvin Ng (below) and Desmond Tan (above left).

As mentioned, this is the fourth-gen A-Class, codenamed W177, replacing the W176 (2012-2018), which had a facelift in 2016. The small hatchback first launched in 1997 (W168).

CarBuyer has gotten to grips with the new A-Class at its international launch earlier this year – read the review here also on for a full rundown – so it’s totally new from the ground up.
It runs on a new platform that supersedes the previous MFA compact front-driven platform of the previous W176 model, and like its predecessor this will be the basis for the next-gen compact models such as the B-Class, CLA, GLA, and more.

Two models make up the launch offerings for the A-Class: The A 200 (car in red) and A 250 (car in silver and white). Both are turbocharged inline four cylinder engines from a new engine family, are mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Here’s an unobstructed view of the A-Class 
The A 200 has a 1.3-litre turbocharged engine (actually it’s 1.33-litres, 1,332cc) with 163hp at 5,500rpm, and 250Nm of torque at 1,620rpm. Fuel efficiency is 5.6L/100km, 0-100km/h accomplished in 8.0 seconds, with a top whack of 225km/h. It gets a VES B Neutral rating.

As the less expensive variant, the A 200 Progressive was mobbed the whole time, which made clear photos tricky
This engine has intelligent cylinder shutoff, where two cylinders are shut off via the valvetrain during low power demand situations, thereby acting like a more efficient two-cylinder engine. Volkswagen’s ACT technology beats Mercedes to the punch though, as it’s in the Tiguan 1.4 as well as the Audi Q2.

Standard equipment for the A200 includes the new MBUX multimedia system, which has the ability to take contextual voice commands: As mentioned in our initial review you can ask ‘Mercedes’ questions, and “It’s basically the brand’s version of Apple’s Siri, an onboard virtual assistant.” Navigation is a standard feature too.

Impressively the A-Class joins the glass cockpit brigade with dual 10.25-inch screens in the cabin, just like its S-Class and E-Class big brothers, one is for the driving info (replacing normal instruments) and the other for infotainment. The centre display is also a touchscreen, but can also be controlled by a touchpad – like Audi it also ditches the rotary controller.

Judging from the number of smartphone salutes the A-Class got, it should be setting social media on fire right now 
Other standard equipment for all A-Class models include LED headlamps and taillamps, tyre pressure monitoring, electric front sport seats (with memory), keyless start and go, cruise control, six airbags, runflat tyres, reverse camera, Active Parking Assist.

The A 200 comes in two trim lines, Progressive and AMG Line, priced at $152,888 with COE and $157,888 with COE respectively. The A 250 only comes in AMG Line form, and it’s priced at $174,888 with COE. For a full rundown see the official spec list (Mercedes-Benz A-Class A 200 A 250 Singapore Official Spec Sheet) though we summarise everything below.

Progressive has ‘Artico’ leather upholsters, 18-inch wheels, ‘black pin’ diamond grille, comfort suspension.

AMG Line has leather with ‘Dinimica’ microfibre (Alcantara-style fabric) and a multi-function steering flat-bottomed wheel. The exterior has 18-inch AMG design wheels, ‘chrome pin’ diamond grille and an AMG body kit. AMG Line models also have a 225w 10-speaker advanced sound system as standard, and ‘15mm lowered comfort suspension’  

The more powerful A 250 comes solely in AMG Line trim. It has a 2.0-litre turbo engine with a 224hp peak also at 5,500rpm, torque is 350Nm maximum at a low 1,800rpm, which allows the A 250 to span 0-100km/h in a quick 6.2 seconds, on to its 250km/h top speed. Fuel consumption is 6.5L/100km, and it also nets a VES B neutral rating.

For the first time the A-Class gets semi-autonomous driving features, but you’ll have to pay for them: Lane Tracking Package ($3,300) and Driver Assistance Package ($7,900) lets the car engage adaptive cruise control with steering assist, in addition to the extra safety the sensors allow (such as Evasive Steering Assist and Active Emergency Stop Assist).

Sporty drivers might enjoy the adaptive suspension option ($1,400 on the A 200 Progressive, $2,900 on the A 200 and A 250 AMG Line models), or upsized 19-inch AMG wheels ($2,900 on the former, $2,500 on the latter).
But if you’re really, really sporty then wait a while: There’s an upcoming A 35 hot hatch with 306hp from a 2.0-litre turbo engine, though it’s expected that there will also be a successor to the utterly mad pocket rocket A 45 AMG model of the third-gen.

If you’re thinking $153k with COE for a hatchback is a bit spendy, even a luxury one with a three-pointed star on the bonnet, then you’re not totally wrong, but there are some things to keep in mind: Rivals aren’t that far off in price terms, and the A-Class is much better than it used to be.
Audi’s A3 hatchback (reviewed here in S3 form) starts at $134k, but that’s in 1.0-litre form, while the 1.4 is priced at a much closer $140k right now. The BMW 118i has dropped off local price lists, but it was also around $140k in recent times.
Mercedes is probably betting people are wiling to spend more on the A-Class, given the badge, design, MBUX, lovely interior, as well as its newness. Judging from the number of people we saw signing papers at the launch venue, it’s not made a mistake with the pricing.
For those who simply can’t live with a five-door body shape, well you’re in luck too: For the first time ever the A-Class will be a sedan and that’s scheduled for a 2019 released in Singapore.
To tie in with that, perhaps a forthcoming A 160 or A 180 in a more barebones sedan variant might set wallets afire just like the CLA did a few years ago.


2018 a 200 a 250 A-Class Mercedes Mercedes-Benz

About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's former chief editor was previously the editor for Top Gear Singapore and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment.

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