A unique concept and a unique design, backed by superb levels of safety and perceived value: the new A-Class adds the Mercedes dimension to the compact-car segment

Jun 21, 2004
Sales launch of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class
After seven years of production and having sold around 1.1 million models, Mercedes-Benz is starting the next chapter in the A-Class success story by launching a new, even more attractive and more innovative model. The second-generation compact car will start to appear at company-owned sales outlets and authorised Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the autumn of 2004.
The new A-Class’s model range comprises two body versions, each with its own distinctive character: in addition to the versatile five-door version, Mercedes-Benz is also, for the first time ever in this model range also launching a three-door model which will attract buyers’ attention through its sporty, youthful image.
Ex factory, the three-door A 150 version costs Euro 17,632 while the five-door version comes in at Euro 18,502. The excellent standard equipment provided with the A-Class includes air conditioning, a multifunction steering wheel, speed-dependent power-assisted steering, ESP®, a selective damping system, head/thorax-side airbags as well as adaptive front airbags and belt force limiters. The new or further-developed four-cylinder engines deliver up to 38 percent more output whereas fuel consumption has fallen by up to ten percent.
The new A-Class distinguishes itself from other cars through its unique sandwich concept and striking one-box design. The sweeping lines of the body reflect its individualistic character and at the same time symbolise the outstanding properties of the A-Class: dynamism, intelligence and emotional appeal. Newly designed headlamps, a striking radiator grille, muscularly sculpted wings and a bold sweep along its side profile accentuate the compact, dynamic and self-assured image of this car. The modified body dimensions and proportions also ensure that the A-Class looks more powerful as well: when compared with its predecessor, the new compact Mercedes car is 232 millimetres longer and 45 millimetres wider.
The new three-door model variant provides all the outstanding safety and comfort attributes of the A-Class and then adds flowing lines to the mix to underline the vitality and charm of this car. From the end of 2004 onwards, the three-door model will be offering both an attractive and low-cost entry point to the world of Mercedes-Benz.
An overview of models and prices (ex factory) for the new A-Class:
  A 150
70 kW/
95 hp
A 170
85 kW/
115 hp
A 200
100 kW/
136 hp
A 160 CDI*
60 kW/
82 hp
A 180 CDI
80 kW/
109 hp
A 200 CDI**
103 kW/
140 hp
Three-door model* 17,632 19,140 20,532 19,024 20,532 24,302
Five-door model 18,502 20,010 21,402 19,894 21,402 25,172
*Available from the end of 2004; **in the AVANTGARDE or ELEGANCE line
Intelligent safety package for comprehensive passenger protection
The second generation A-Class remains true to its reputation as a technological trendsetter: ground-breaking innovations again make their premiere performances in this vehicle, further improving driving safety and drive comfort; a total of more than 200 patents are used in the new Mercedes model.
In addition to the unique sandwich concept which delivers front and side impact advantages, the newly developed efficient belt and airbag system in the A-Class ensures the level of passenger safety we have come to expect from Mercedes. This includes, for example, adaptive two-stage front airbags, seat belt tensioners for front seat passengers and passengers sitting in the outer rear seats, adaptive belt force limiters and newly developed head/thorax-side airbags in place of the former sidebags.
Premiere for new rear axle and selective damping system
The new A-Class also offers a range of new features in terms of driving safety and roadholding. The main technical chassis innovation is the parabolic rear axle which is characterised by precision tracking and good anti-roll support when cornering. The rear axle therefore makes an important contribution to the exemplary driving safety, dynamic handling and high levels of drive comfort experienced in the new A-Class.
The chassis of the compact Mercedes car features another special innovation fitted as standard: a new kind of selective damping system which is celebrating its world first in automotive construction. Thanks to this system, the shock absorber forces are adapted to the current driving situation.
Significant improvement in performance and torque with exemplary fuel consumption levels
More performance, more torque, increased driving pleasure and enhanced fuel economy - these were the objectives laid down when developing the engines used in the new A-Class. The new range will also feature seven four-cylinder engines - including three newly developed CDI direct fuel injection models and one new 142-kW/193-hp turbocharged petrol engine. When compared with their predecessors, the performance of the petrol and diesel engines used in the new A-Class has increased by up to 38 percent and torque levels have improved by up to 46 percent. Even with these higher performance levels, the fuel consumption of the petrol models has fallen by up to ten percent. All engines satisfy the stringent EU-4 exhaust gas limits and a particulate filter system can be supplied on request for the diesel engines.
The three newly developed CDI diesel engines are based on second-generation common-rail technology which operates with dual pilot fuel injection and a higher fuel injection pressure (1600 bar). This and other measures result in a considerable increase in performance and torque, a drop in exhaust gas emissions and audible improvements in noise comfort.
Fuel consumption of the CDI models in the NEDC cycle is 4.9 to 5.4 litres, thereby equalling the exemplary level achieved in the former compact Mercedes car. The A 160 CDI can travel around 1100 kilometres on one tank (54 litres).
On request, all models of the new A-Class can be supplied with the newly developed AUTOTRONIC continuously variable automatic transmission. This is the first Mercedes transmission to function following the principle of a "Continuously Variable Transmission". The ratios are modified on a continuously variable basis using a pulley variator and thrust link belt. The A-Class can thereby be accelerated without interrupting traction and the engine reaches its maximum performance output faster than with a standard automatic transmission. The AUTOTRONIC also delivers higher levels of driving and noise comfort.
Premium-level spaciousness, comfort, touch, feel and ergonomics
A compact car on the outside and a family car on the inside, with the space available in a mini van - the new A-Class also manages to combine these apparently mutually exclusive features by virtue of its unique sandwich concept. The new compact Mercedes car outperforms its predecessor and competitors in terms of all comfort-linked interior dimensions: the shoulder room has grown by up to 97 millimetres, the width provided for passengers’ elbows by up to 95 millimetres and the space at knee height in the rear by 30 millimetres. The distance between the front and rear seats is 805 millimetres and is therefore the same as that found in a medium-size saloon.
The choice of interior materials is based on scientific investigations conducted in the laboratories of DaimlerChrysler’s research department, where car drivers evaluated surface materials, switches and controls in terms of how they feel to touch and provided valuable insight into the development of interior parts which not only look good, but are also good to touch. This means that looks and feel complement each other and makes an important contribution to making car passengers feel at ease. The Mercedes formula for the best possible touch, feel and ergonomics has been developed on the basis of these scientific tests: the "TAF factor" (touch and feel factor).
Alongside the dimensional concept, seat design and ergonomics, the air conditioning system in the interior compartment also helps to increase the safety and well-being of car passengers. In the new A-Class, Mercedes-Benz is therefore offering a high-performance air conditioning system as standard or on request will fit the compact car with a THERMOTRONIC automatic air conditioning system which operates on the basis of data recorded by sensors on temperature, position of the sun, air humidity and level of pollutants in the outside air.
Other optional extras available from the Mercedes luxury class include the innovative COMAND APS control and display system, the Audio 50 APS navigation car radio and bi-xenon headlamps.
Up to 1995 litres of luggage space thanks to EASY-VARIO-PLUS
The luggage capacity of the new A-Class exceeds that of its predecessor by up to 15 percent. Thanks to the fact that the rear seats are split in a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio, the interior compartment can be laid out in different ways in a few simple moves to satisfy the transport task in hand. Both the seat cushions and the backrests can be folded forwards individually or all together and the height-adjustable loading floor therefore produces a flat loading area. The capacity of the luggage compartment is 1350 litres (following the VDA measuring method). If the optional EASY-VARIO-PLUS system is supplied in the five-door model, both rear seat cushions and the rear seat backrests can be taken out. This system also offers the option of folding the backrests of the passenger seat forwards or removing the passenger seat completely. The load area then increases to a length of 2.75 metres and the loading volume goes up to 1995 litres.