The 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class sedan unveiled Monday at a private event in New York represents a grab for a market Mercedes-Benz has moved away from with its C-Class sedan: a three-pointed star priced for entry-level luxury buyers.
With the 2019 A-Class, Mercedes is back in that market—at least at first glance. This conventionally styled four-door sedan complements the automaker's CLA-Class but should offer a more spacious interior thanks to its longer wheelbase and more traditional roof line compared to the coupe-like look of the CLA. At 179.1 inches from bumper to bumper, the A-Class is about three inches shorter than the CLA.
The A-Class launches first as the A220 in either front- or the automaker's 4Matic all-wheel-drive configurations and rides on an updated version of the CLA's underpinnings.
2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
The A220 shares its 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shift levers with the CLA, but subs in a 188-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-4 that's down 20 ponies compared to the CLA250. Underneath, the A-Class features a MacPherson strut front suspension and the option of adaptive dampers. Mercedes says that 17-inch wheels will be standard equipment, with 19s on the options list. Only A220 4Matic models will use a multi-link rear suspension. Front-drive models instead use a simple torsion-beam setup.
That marks a significant departure from the CLA250, which features the same multi-link rear suspension regardless of drive wheels.
Automatic cruise control is standard equipment on the A220 and a wide range of active safety tech is optional, including adaptive cruise control that can slow the vehicle automatically as it approaches a curve, intersection, or roundabout. That tech is bundled with active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection in the available Driver Assistance Package.
2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Though the A220 is the new gateway to the Mercedes lineup, it serves as the U.S. debut for the automaker's new MBUX infotainment system. A 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment is standard, while a 10.3-inch unit is on the options list. MBUX places a large emphasis on voice commands; "Hey Mercedes" primes the system for a command, although a touchscreen, a center console-mounted touchpad, and steering wheel controls provide access to MBUX as well.
Either touchscreen blends with a 7.0-inch digital instrument cluster under a single pane of glass that appears to float above the A220's air vents and climate controls. Its dashboard is notably light on buttons—there's not even a volume knob.
MBUX also includes preliminary car-to-infrastructure and car-to-car communication capabilities, although Mercedes hasn't said whether its system can communicate with traffic lights like that used in many Audi models.
Mercedes hasn't yet said how much the A-Class will cost, but it's unlikely to cost more than the roughly $34,000 2018 CLA-Class. When the CLA debuted in 2013, it made waves because it cost about $30,000.