Mercedes-Benz seems to replace the saggy CLA model in the US with the very first American market Mercedes-Benz A-Class. It looks great, it's the first to showcase some of the automaker's latest technologies and styling, and I spent about five minutes on the roof of a hotel last night checking it out. Here is what I know.
. 1 Mercedes-Benz's new dual wide-screen infotainment setup represents a huge improvement.
Gone are the days when the floating screen seemed to be screwed onto a vent. Mercedes has already introduced its new super-wide information screen, which ranges from driver information to the dashboard. The A-Class is the first Mercedes model to feature an enhanced infotainment setup along with the new screen, as well as a new touchpad that is far more intuitive than the old steering wheel scale.
People use laptops all the time. How often do you use a small wheel to turn on the shower water? It's a nice upgrade, and it's even nicer that it's in the entry-level car.
. 2 With the new screen and touchpad, there's also a new virtual assistant that responds to voice commands.
They wake the assistant with the words: "Hey, Mercedes?" And an elegant British woman's voice asks what she could do for you, which is interesting for a German automaker. However, since programming did not seem to be really set up, the demands for McDonald's, pizza, and demands for a change in climate conditions fell to silent virtual ears.
But if it works with the production car, it's a nice feature that can actually be used, as long as you do not often use the word "Mercedes" in casual conversations in the car.
3. The A-Class does not pretend it's a coupe, which means the rear seats are really comfortable.
The identity crisis of the CLA as a four-door coupe and its placement in the subcompact segment meant that the back seat was firmer than it had any reason. Since the new A-Class is more of a "traditional" sedan with a roof that stands for human heads, it is much nicer in the back.
Legroom is pretty good for a car of this size, with a guy over six feet who barely fits without rubbing when the seat was set up in front of it for his driving position. A certain amount of mass on the back of the front seats helps, and the glass roof stops short enough to give a few inches more head clearance.
. 4 Entry level still means that the budget is limited and ends well below the waist.
The interior of the new A-Class is visually and aesthetically pleasing. Mercedes's obsession with this weird mood lighting goes on as the standard feature on the A, but the soft materials and fancy finishes end just around the waist.
Most footwell equipment, such as the lower door trim, glove box door and center console, are brittle to touch. The seats are also all manually adjustable, but that could be fixed with an option in the future, we'll see. It's no big deal, but it's also a great clue where in the lineup you are sitting. At the very least, some softer knee pads are very welcome to those of us who do not always reach out or deal with an aggressive rider.
. 5 If you can remove a line and it still looks good, remove another line.
That was the design philosophy behind the new A-Class, according to the unveiled presentation. Mercedes moves away from the days of unnecessary wrinkles and wrinkles in the design language. Allegedly, this is the direction in which we will continue the automaker in the future with smoother, simpler bodywork. Do you like it?
Bonus: Are the wheels bronze, copper, gold or rose gold?
Much of my discussion of the A class last night, both personally and on Twitter, was triggered when the color of the wheel accent hue was challenged.
In the video for uncovering and on the car exhibited last night the shadow areas of the wheel design were colored. There followed a debate about what color it was. Daniel Golson from Car And Driver asked if it was rose gold because he seemed to like it. What followed tested even the strongest friendships. Ultimately, I've set it with a cell phone camera feature called Lightning (the drink and the hand holding it does not belong to me)
At least we found out that it's definitely not rose gold. Could we have asked someone from Mercedes? For sure. Is it somewhere in a press release? Could be. Were we all journalists who seriously want to betray a car? Of course. Did any of us really want to ruin a perfect reasoning with facts? Absolutely not.
If you want to know more about the new A-Class, check out our post from last night. It seems to be a promising small competitor to the Audi A3, and I saw it selling very, very well.