Mercedes-Benz launches the pulsAting new A-Class in India

Mercedes-Benz is on a royal roll of late. After years of playing catch-up to BMW and losing out to Audi earlier this year in the booming Indian luxury car market, the brand with the three pointed star seems to be back with a bang. Currently in the midst of a new model launching spree that started with the new GL-Class earlier this month, the German luxury car-maker launched the all-new A-Class in the India today. After the B-Class sports tourer that was launched in 2012, the A-Class is the second model from the company's now-famous, front-wheel-drive Modular Front Architecture (MFA) platform.

Available at an introductory price of INR 21.93 Lakhs for the A 180 CDI diesel variant and INR 22.73 Lakhs for the A 180 Sport petrol variant, the A-Class is the most affordable Mercedes-Benz, not just in India but elsewhere as well. Don't let the '180' badging fool you though. While the diesel variant is powered by a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 107 bhp of maximum power and 250 Nm of peak torque, the petrol variant carries a 1.6-liter engine that's good for 121 bhp and 200 Nm of power and torque respectively. Given the popularity of automatic transmissions in luxury cars, both the A-Class variants are mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

What strikes us most about the A-Class is its eye-catching design. The front end especially, with those Bi-Xenon headlights, the huge three-pointed star logo and the studded radiator grille with 302 diamond-like pins in it, is a stunner. As with all new Mercedes-Benz models, the profile is an interplay of two sharp character lines that lend the car an aggressive look. It is here that the resemblance with B-Class is clearly obvious. The rear is relatively modest, but still attractive nonetheless. Ever since its global launch, this third-generation A-Class has become a huge success, giving Mercedes-Benz never-seen-before volumes. Undoubtedly, the car's styling has played a big role in it. Its not surprising then that the A-Class has managed to win a host of awards just for its design and styling.

The interiors are similar to the B-Class too, which means the SLS AMG-inspired air-conditioner vents and the sporty, console-mounted infotainment controller with a 14.7-cm colour display are the major attention grabbers. It could be classified a premium hatchback, but that hasn't stopped Mercedes-Benz from loading the A-Class to the gills. Apart from all the regular creature comforts, the A-Class also comes with cruise control, ECO start/stop function, electric parking brake, Antilock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist (BA), Attention Assist, Hill Start Assist, Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Acceleration Skid Control (ASR) and a full complement of seven Airbags including a Knee Airbag for the driver. That it comes with segment-defying passenger and boot space for hatchbacks is an added bonus.

It is clear that, with the A-Class, Mercedes-Benz is targeting the young and affluent Indians. As part of it, the company has devised a Total Cost of Ownership for the New Generation Cars (NGC segment) with unique products like Star Ease and Star Care. In addition to the A-Class, the upcoming CLA four-door coupe and GLA crossover are also likely to be part of this.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Eberhard Kern, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India commented, “With the new A-Class, Mercedes-Benz now pioneers the Compact Luxury segment in India which reflects the changing customer trend of compact being equated to cool and trendy. The A-Class embodies the changing preference of the youth in today’s social milieu who increasingly prefer compact luxury. The A-Class is also one of the safest cars with 11 drive assistance systems; and is India’s most fuel efficient luxury car with 1000 kms run in a full tank of diesel, having a Cd (Co-efficient of Drag) of 0.27. The A-Class boasts of endless equipment options including a world-class in-car infotainment system. We are confident that the dynamic design and class leading performance is sure to make the A-Class the choice of the new generation.”

Looking at the car, we don't doubt Mr. Kern's claims at all. But, will the Indian public give the A-Class a thumbs up? Will this baby Benz shake up the traditional Indian mindset that fails to associate hatchbacks with anything more than 8 Lakh Rupees? Will Mercedes-Benz get a head-start in the compact luxury segment against BMW and Audi? A whole lot of questions remain to be answered.


  1. Ever since the 800 came, all Indians now think hatchbacks have to be cheap. It's high time this feeling goes AWAY.

    1. The Hyundai i20 and Honda Jazz have, to an extent, erased that 'cheap and basic' feeling out of hatchbacks. The A-Class looks potent to change the image of hatchbacks altogether.