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Kez Casey | Sep, 09 2015 | 2 Comments

After its introduction in 2012, the current generation A-Class has been setting sales records for Mercedes-Benz, introducing new, younger buyers to the brand around the world.

While the first two generations were more mini-MPV than conventional hatch, the new look introduced with the current car has hit the spot with buyers. Now, the third-gen A-Class is ready to roll out its first mid-life update.

Externally, a minor restyle sees a new more arrow-shaped bumper joined by restyled headlights, with the option of full LED headlamps, new tail-lights, and a new rear bumper with integrated exhaust finishers.

A new, simpler naming structure being rolled out across the Benz range is also introduced, with diesel models defined by a simple “d” suffix in place of the old “CDI” badge.

New to the range is Dynamic Select, a driving programme selector that offers four driving modes: Comfort, Sport, Eco, and Individual. Each mode adjusts the steering, throttle, climate control, adaptive damping where fitted.

For the European market, the new adaptive damping system is standard equipment on all cars fitted with the 7G-tronic dual-clutch automatic. If the same holds true for Australia, the automatic-only A-Class range should arrive here with that feature as standard equipment.

A Comfort suspension tune is standard, with a lower, firmer 'Sport' suspension available on vehicles fitted with the optional AMG Line package.

Under the bonnet is an expanded engine line-up, starting with the 75kW A160, then onto the 90kW A180 and A180 BlueEfficiency, the 115kW A200, 135kW A220, a 155kW A250 and a 160 A250 Sport.

Diesel options include the A160 d with 66kW, A180 d and A180 d BlueEfficiency rated at 80kW, the 100kW A200 d and topped by the 130kW A220d.

BlueEfficiency versions of the A180 and A180 d feature a manual transmission with longer gear ratios, lowered suspension, a smaller, lighter fuel tank, and aerodynamically styled steel wheels with low rolling resistance tyres.

The A180 d is rated at just 3.5 l/100km and produces a low 89k/km of CO2.

A manual transmission has also been introduced on the A250 models. The Australian range is expected to look similar to the existing lineup (A180, A200, A200CDI, A250 Sport) and once again, manual transmissions are expected to miss the boat.

The biggest powertrain update comes from the Mercedes-AMG A45. Power increases to a face-melting 280kW and 475Nm, a gain of 15kW and 25Nm. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h drops by .04 sec to 4.2 seconds, aided by a launch control system.

The Dynamic Select drive mode controller borrows from the C63 and AMG GT with Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual modes.

Sport mode makes the exhaust more vocal, while Sport+ speeds up gearshift times, offers double-declutched gear shifts, and provides a fuel-cut between gears for a more audible response.

AMG Dynamic Plus is also available, adding a fifth Race mode to the Dynamic Select controller, and equipping the car with mechanically locking front differential. AMG Ride Control with two-stage manual adjustment of the damper firmness is also a part of the package.

As with the rest of the range the A45 scores redesigned bumpers and headlights. The changes to the bumpers yeild greater downforce, increasing high-speed stability, an optional Aerodynamics package with a larger rear wing and front bumper flics is also available.

Infotainment systems have come in for an overhaul. CarPlay integration arrives for iPhone users, while MirrorLink is available for compatible apps on Android phones.

A larger eight-inch screen is also optionally available, and COMAND Online services, and Garmin Map Pilot navigation can be added to vehicles with the Audio 20 system.

Also available, “Mercedes connect me” which links the A-class to services including accident recovery, breakdown assistance, and maintenance management which can inform a dealer of the car's maintenance requirements before it arrives, and offer the owner a quote.

Safety systems are upgraded with Collision Prevention Assist Plus adding autonomous braking to the previous radar based proximity warning with brake assist.

Drowsiness detecting Attention Assist has been upgraded with a five-stage display to show the driver’s level of alertness, and adjustable sensitivity. The system can now operate between 60-200km/h.

Changes to Active Parking Assist include steering and braking interventions for perpendicular spaces.

Motorsport Edition styling package
Motorsport Edition styling package

In Europe a specially finished Motorsport Edition, with styling touches inspired by the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 cars, will also be made available with "Petrol Green" highlights on the rear spoiler, mirrors, front and rear bumpers, and alloy wheel rims. It's less likely we'll see this version in Australia.

The full range of engines and specifications for Australia will be confirmed closer to launch here, with the updated range expected to arrive late this year.

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