A major feature will be MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) with intelligent voice control and natural language comprehension. This is activated by saying “Hey Mercedes” to give you access to infotainment functions, destination input, phone calls, music selection, as well as writing and hearing messages.
MBUX can even anticipate what the user would like next. For instance, if you often telephones your mother on Tuesdays MBUX will give her telephone number as a suggestion on the display on that day.
If you routinely switches over to a radio station with news at a certain time also receives this as a suggestion.
And – as they say in the classics – there’s more.
Frankly, we’ve yet to find a voice recognition system that works in anything other than very basic ways, but Mercedes says the new system understands “natural” language and doesn’t require you to use set commands.
We certainly hope the system works because it will improve road safety as far too many drivers spend time looking at screens and entering text manually.
New A-Class is larger inside that the model it supersedes, with more shoulder room (+9 / +22 mm front / rear), elbow room (+35 / +36 mm) and headroom (+7 / +8 mm). Easier entry to the rear seats is another feature.
At 370 litres the boot is 29 litres larger than in the preceding model and is said to be more usable;
It goes without saying that new A-Class has a host of standard safety features: nine air bags (front, pelvis side and window bags for driver and front passenger, side bags for rear occupants and knee bag for driver),
Active Brake Assist with semi-autonomous braking function, Active Parking Assist, Active Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Assist with exit warning, Traffic Sign Assist and reversing camera.
Available from August 10 will be the Mercedes A 200, priced at $47,200 plus on-road costs, powered by a new-design four-cylinder 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine with up to 120 kW of power and 250 Nm of torque. Combined fuel consumption is 5.7L per 100 km. It will drive the front wheels though a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
An entry level model A 180 and an upmarket A250 will be available later this year.
We will be attending the lunch of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class in early August and will report back to you on MBUX and other features.