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[YesAuto original test drive] If the Mercedes-Benz B-Class launched in January 2009, it will bring consumers fresh Mercedes-Benz compact hatchback models, active parking assist systems, and “blinds” panoramic sunroofs. So, what else can consumers bring to the upcoming Mercedes-Benz A-Class? Presumably you are as concerned about this issue as I am. On the afternoon of November 19, 2010, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan will be officially launched and announced the price. Before that, I participated in the new car test drive activity, and then I will share some feelings with you. Maybe I can find the answers to a few questions below.

Before the test drive, let us briefly return to the history of the Mercedes-Benz A-class sedan. In 1997, the first generation of Mercedes-Benz A-class sedan came out (code-named W168). Subsequently, Mercedes-Benz launched the second-generation Mercedes-Benz A-class sedan (W169) in 2004. Compared with the previous model, the body size and appearance have been changed completely. At the same time, many safety features have been added, such as the most important ESP. The upcoming Mercedes-Benz A-Class is a small facelift of the W169, focusing on the front/rear bumpers, headlights, taillights, and interior trim. The ESP is still the standard configuration of the Mercedes-Benz A-class sedan.

■ Appearance: The front face looks like a Mercedes-Benz B-class, with a small body size

Although the test drive model is a Mercedes-Benz A-class sedan, some parts of its appearance and interior are very similar to a B-class sedan, so in the next part of the appearance introduction of the model, I will give you a brief explanation of the difference between the two Without seeing the actual car, I have a more intuitive understanding of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

Looking at the Mercedes-Benz A-Class from the front, it looks like a Mercedes-Benz B-Class at first glance. Most of this illusion comes from the front bumper and front part. The chrome-plated fog lights and the chrome-plated trim strips above the lights make the front bumper look more stylish and energetic. The B-class also uses the same design. However, I believe that if you are careful, you must find that, compared to the use of the straight line of the front bumper of the Mercedes-Benz A-class car, the B-class car here is more full and more layered.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class and B-Class cars have similar fronts, making it difficult for consumers who are not familiar with them to distinguish them at a glance. However, if you look closely at the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, you can still find its unique features. For example, the two upwardly extending lines of the engine cover form a larger shield shape with the Mercedes-Benz family's shield-shaped intake grille.

As an entry-level model of Mercedes-Benz, the A-class sedan comes standard with functions such as automatic headlights and height-adjustable headlights, but it is not equipped with xenon headlights, which is somewhat inconsistent with its value. Compared with the low configuration, perhaps the Mercedes-Benz three-pointed star emblem is the key factor that can capture the hearts of consumers.

In order to ensure that the car has more spacious seating and storage space, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan uses a four-wheel, four-corner, short rear suspension design. In addition, the front windshield is designed to be more inclined, almost integrated with the engine compartment cover. In order to improve the interior space of the car, the A-class continues the essence of the B-class model design. Of course, the body size still determines that the model level of the A-class is smaller than that of the B-class.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class has a wheelbase of 2568mm, a total body length of 3883mm, a width of 1764mm, and a height of 1593mm. On the wheelbase, the A-class is 210mm smaller than the B-class. It is more intuitive to say that it is 10mm shorter than the Golf (2578mm). The relatively small wheelbase does not affect its spacious riding space and huge trunk space. We will talk about the space experience later.

So far, we don't need to mention the difference between the appearance of Mercedes-Benz A-Class and B-Class. The side of the body and the rear can make you recognize the A-class. To put it aside, I think the side of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is more attractive than the straight rear.

From the appearance point of view, only two different configuration models of A160 and A180 were seen at the test drive meeting. The difference between the two models: 1. The difference between wheel style and tire size; 2. Whether there is an automatic parking assist system. Please see the figure for details.

In addition, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class has 11 body colors for consumers to choose from, including 3 non-metallic paints : Jupiter Red, Cirrus White, and Night Black; and 8 metallic paints : Cosmic Black, Lotus Blue, Horizon Blue, and Dynamic Green, Prairie Brown, Saturn Red, Polar Silver, Mountain Ash.

I am also very curious about the relationship between the shape design of the Mercedes-Benz A-class sedan and the safety of the vehicle. In the product description part of the test drive meeting, an engineer from Mercedes-Benz gave an explanation. In the product description section, what he first introduced to everyone was not the comfort of the vehicle and the large space that the A-class is proud of, but the focus on vehicle safety. In addition to the standard ESP and 6 airbags, the biggest highlight of the A-level is in the safe body structure. Engineers install the engine and gearbox on the body at a maximum tilt angle of 59 degrees, so that part of the powertrain is located in front of the passenger compartment. Part of it is placed in the lower part of the passenger compartment.

The biggest advantage of placing the powertrain in this way is that when the vehicle is in a serious collision, this part will slide obliquely in the direction of the pedal instead of directly entering the passenger compartment, ensuring the safety of the people in the car, especially the driver! In addition, this design also provides the driver with a higher sitting posture and vision.

■ Interior: exactly like a Mercedes-Benz B-class car; the internal and external circulation of the air conditioner has a tasteless function

The similarity of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and B-Class center consoles is more than 90%, and entering the car makes it difficult for me to find out the differences between the two models at a glance. Regarding the explanation of the interior part, my colleague Sheng Yuanjun has already published the “Cheapest Mercedes-Benz! The article about the first real shot of Mercedes-Benz A160 before the listing has detailed instructions, click on the title of the article to see the details. Regarding the interior, I will add some points that have not been mentioned before.

As mentioned in the previous article, two models of two configurations, A160 and A180, appeared in the test drive meeting. In addition to the difference in interior trim, the instrument panel is black in the former and silver in the latter. There are also some differences in interior configuration, such as front electric heating seats, automatic parking assistance, and anti-towing functions.

There is also a particularly interesting, but not very practical, small function in the internal and external circulation buttons of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. If your car windows are open and the air outside the car is poor at this time, you can close all windows by long pressing the “air conditioning inside and outside circulation” button, and the air conditioning will also be in an internal circulation state. When driving to an area with good air outside the car, you can press and hold the button again to lower the window to the previously opened position. At this time, the air conditioner is in an external circulation state. Although this function is quite interesting, just imagine who would turn on the air conditioner and open the window?

■ Seat/Space: The higher seat position brings high sitting posture/storage space, please refer to the B-class car

When mentioned in the previous article that there is a special installation method for the vehicle safety powertrain, it is also mentioned that this installation method will increase the seat height, and will bring a higher sitting posture and vision. After actual experience, I feel that in the current domestic hatchback models, the sitting posture of the Peugeot 307 is even higher, and the sitting posture of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is at least 10 cm higher than it.

In this regard, my test drive companion made the following demonstration. The experiencer is 170cm tall, most of his body is sitting in the car, one leg is placed outside the car, and the movement is made to get on the car. It can be seen from the figure that the experiencer’s legs outside the car are basically straight and placed outside the car. If you run into a small lady in the car, I am afraid that you will not be able to adapt to such a height for a while.

In the choice of color, the A160 seat uses a combination of artificial leather and fabric cloth. There are 3 seat colors to choose from: black, pearl beige and alpaca gray; the A180 seat uses a leather upholstery, and there are also There are 3 colors to choose from: black, gem gold and alpaca gray.

The experience of the layout of the storage space in the car is basically the same as that of the B-class model, which includes the armrest box, the glove box, and the door panel. It's just that the volume of objects contained inside will be slightly different. In addition, the rear seat function and the storage capacity of the trunk are also very close to the B-class car, but the A-class trunk capacity is 435L-1370L, while the B-class can reach a capacity of 544L-1500L.

■ Test drive A160/180: The speed in the middle and rear sections is relatively weak, and the power of the 1.5L model is weak

The Mercedes-Benz A160 is equipped with a 1.5L inline four-cylinder engine, which can output a maximum of 70 kilowatts (95 horsepower) at 5200rpm, and when the engine speed is 3500-4000rpm, the maximum torque that can be output is 140 N·m. The A180 has a maximum power of 85 kilowatts (116 horsepower) and a maximum torque of 155N.m/3500-4000rpm. It is a 1.7L inline four-cylinder engine. Both cars are matched with a 7-speed AUTOTRONIC continuously variable transmission (same as the B-segment car).

AUTOTRONIC continuously variable transmission provides comfort, sports and manual modes. In manual mode, the continuously variable transmission can simulate a 7-speed manual shift, which can be used to increase and decrease gears through the lateral movement of the handlebar. Like the Mercedes-Benz B-class car, the experience of driving the A-class car is still smooth, even if you use the simulated manual mode to drive, you can only feel the smoothness of the power output.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class adopts a front-wheel drive platform. The front suspension is a traditional MacPherson independent suspension. Although the rear suspension is a torsion beam semi-independent suspension, two connecting rods are added to limit the movement of the two rear wheels. Vertical direction, which can improve the vehicle's ability to resist roll. A similar structure has been seen on Yinglang models, but the two poles of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class look more sturdier.

Since the sitting posture of A-class cars is much higher than that of ordinary cars, during the test drive around Jinji Lake, it will always give you the illusion that the center of gravity is high. A180 can still give you enough with the 215/45 R17 wide tires. Confidence. The adaptive damping system adjusts the damping softness and hardness according to the road conditions, which can well absorb small bumps on the road surface and provide driving comfort. However, due to the structure of the vehicle body, it is difficult to avoid the vehicle body roll caused by speed-increasing corners.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class is equipped with an electric speed steering system. When driving at low speeds or parking, the steering wheel gives me less resistance. Although it is not light enough to operate with a finger, this resistance is definitely not difficult. Female motorists. As for the workmanship and feel of the steering wheel, the Mercedes-Benz quality does not need to be questioned.

When I first encountered the Mercedes-Benz A160, I felt very light when stepping on the accelerator pedal. Compared with the heaviness of the E-Class, it was two extremes. The 7-speed AUTOTRONIC continuously variable transmission makes the entire start-up acceleration process extremely smooth. The vehicle speed is maintained at about 60km/h and the speed has been maintained below 2000rpm.

If you like rough driving, the power output from the 1.5L engine will definitely not satisfy you. Depressing the accelerator pedal, the speed climbs to 3,500 rpm and continues to increase to 5,000 rpm, and the vehicle speed only maintains a smooth rise from 60km/h. Can't feel the strength? Then step on the accelerator and still can't feel the surging power output at all. The 1.5L engine coupled with the AUTOTRONIC continuously variable transmission is lazily increasing the speed. The Mercedes-Benz A160 is born without the words “passionate driving”, so how does the driving feel of the A180?

In the formal test drive activity the next day, I deliberately found the A180 for a short test drive. After all, it is a 1.7L displacement engine, and the speed is significantly better than the A160 that was tested before, and the start-up speed has been improved by more than twice. Although the throttle is still light, as long as you hit it with your feet, the car will respond immediately and change the slow look of the A160. This kind of power is suitable for walking in the city. However, the acceleration in the middle and rear of the A180 will still make people feel sleepy, even if you step on the accelerator to the end, it will not bring you the slightest driving passion, and the feeling of pushing the back will be even less. This is the smoothness and softness brought by the AUTOTRONIC CVT!

Test drive summary:

Although before the official price of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is announced, I cannot comment on its price for the time being, but the manufacturer's guide price of a product is only a reference, and the final actual transaction price of the product must be determined by the market. of. Next, back to the topic and talk about products, Mercedes-Benz will inevitably encounter competition from its own brother, the B-class sedan, when launching the A-class sedan. What are the advantages of the A-class sedan for the two models that are both hatchbacks and have recreational functions?

The body is a lap smaller than the Mercedes-Benz B-class sedan, there is ample seating space and enough storage space in the car, and the price is lower. These will become the selling point of the Mercedes-Benz A-class sedan. If you want to buy a more thorough entry model of Mercedes-Benz (except for smart models of course), A160 low-profile models will be more suitable, but the reversing radar needs you to be equipped with additional equipment. With the large space of the small body, driving a Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan often walks in crowded cities, and it feels more comfortable than the B-Class which is one size larger.