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Geneva Motor Show 2012: Mercedes A-Class

Mercedes reinvents their small car, takes the fight to BMW & Audi...

Mercedes has officially unveiled the all-new 2013 A-Class.

Mercedes launched their A-Class in 1998 with what they described as a revolutionary design for a small car. The engine and drivetrain were sandwiched in the floor and under the dashboard, leaving more room inside the car and, Mercedes claimed, class leading packaging. Whereas it was an interesting design the A-Class never really caught on though, it was a little too quirky to be considered as a true rival to the Audi A3 and BMW 1-Series.

Now Mercedes have decided to take the fight straight to the German rivals this time, with a traditional two-box design, and what a design it is. Audi and BMW may have played it very safe with the styling of the new A3 and 1er, but Mercedes have gone all out with their new baby. There is a swooping design to the car, with deep slashes and curves reminiscent of the Chris Bangle era at BMW, such as the original Z4. The overall design is very sporty and it helps to give the model an impressive 0.26 drag co-efficient.

There is a low nose, deep bumpers, a sharp swage line up the side of the doors and the rear has neatly styled lights and a shallow window. In our eyes, this is easily the best looking premium hatchback and will now certainly be stealing sales from the German rivals.

Three different variants will be offered - Urban, Style and AMG Sport. The latter model features red styling accents, a unique front axle, revised suspension settings, deeper and more aggressive bumpers and exclusive 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels. Teamed with the metallic grey paintwork seen in the images above, the AMG Sport model shares the Mercedes AMG F1 colours.

Inside, the cabin has high quality materials and an advanced design. Notable highlights include circular air vents, a free-standing COMAND display and electroplated "silver chrome" accents. Again the design has a lot more ‘flair’ than the rivals, looking much more upmarket that the rivals.

Under the bonnet a variety of different engines are available. On the petrol side there are 1.6- and 2.0-litre units with outputs ranging from 113 bhp in the A180, 154 bhp in the A200 and 208 bhp in the A250.

Moving on to the diesels, the A180 CDI produces 108 bhp while the A200 CDI boasts 134 bhp and 221 lb/ft of torque. Lastly, the A220 CDI has a 2.2-litre engine which develops 168 bhp and 258 lb/ft of torque. Economy figures haven’t been released as yet but expect them to be up with the class best.

Regardless of which engine is selected, it is equipped with an ECO start/stop system and can be paired to a six-speed manual or a 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic.

The 2013 Mercedes A-Class will start arriving at dealerships in September, we will bring you prices as soon as they are revealed.

Images and video courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

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About Tim Oldland

Contributing Editor - Long time petrolhead, automotive design engineer and journalist. Also Social Media Manager for the ecurie25 Group - www.ecurie25.com Tim has worked in the automotive sector for many years, but has been a fan of anything with 2 or 4... read more