The focus of attention at "Auto Mobil International" (AMI) in Leipzig
will be on the new generations of the A and B-Class. Both models are
now more youthful, attractive and environmentally compatible than ever
before. This is ensured by an all-round design makeover, an even more
attractive equipment package and new technical developments which
further improve safety, comfort and economy. A comfortable ECO
start/stop function is now available for the high-volume models A
150/170 and B 150/170 which reduces petrol consumption in city traffic
by up to nine percent. For the three-door A 160 CDI,
Mercedes-Benz has developed a BlueEFFICIENCY package to lower the fuel
consumption of the coupé to just 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres. Other
new development include the bivalent petrol/natural gas drive of the B
170 NGT BlueEFFICIENCY and active
parking assist, which helps the driver of the A and B-Class when
finding and reversing into a parking space.
Since its world premiere in 1997, the A-Class
has made a name for itself as a trendsetter and innovative leader in
the compact car segment. Outstanding safety, great day-to-day
flexibility and typical Mercedes reliability have always been among the
strengths of the A-Class, which has so far captured the enthusiasm of
about 1.7 million male and female drivers with its distinctive and
versatile vehicle concept.
The new-generation A-Class builds on these strengths: in spring 2008
is presenting the five-door saloon and the three-door coupé in
completely upgraded versions. Viewed from the front, this compact
Mercedes-Benz now appears even more youthful and self-confident than
before. The sweeping lines of the newly designed headlamps harmoniously combine the front end and flanks, which literally appear to be cast from a single mould. The likewise redesigned front bumper reinforces this impression; its lower air intake is now much larger, emphasising the width of the body. The radiator grille is also in a new design which underlines the progressive aura of the A-Class.
Design features at the front end
provide even more clear distinctions between the design and equipment
lines of the A-Class than before. In the AVANTGARDE line the front
bumper has been given a distinctive design which emphasises the
arrow-shape of the front end and suggests even greater agility. When viewed from the side
the different lines in the A-Class are distinguished by individual
wheel designs. While the basic model is equipped with 15-inch wheels
and seven-spoke hubcaps as standard, ELEGANCE and AVANTGARDE are fitted
with individually designed 16-inch light-alloy wheels. The new, larger exterior mirror housings and door handles are now painted in the vehicle colour for all model variants.
Interior: upgraded with larger stowage compartments and new fabrics
Mercedes designers also paid particular
attention to enhanced value when redesigning the interior, choosing
new, high-grade upholstery fabrics and door linings. In addition new decorative trim
of smoke-grey, diagonally brushed aluminium enhances the interior of
the AVANTGARDE line, while the dignified aura of the ELEGANCE models is
heightened by wood trim. All variants of the A-Class share a larger stowage compartment in the centre console and a newly designed cupholder between the front seats.
B-Class: The Sports Tourer in better shape than ever
Mercedes-Benz has also developed the B-Class further in design and technical terms. The restyled front end
injects the B-Class with even more poise and assurance than before.
This is primarily down to the radiator grille with its three chromed
cross fins painted in metallic grey and the Mercedes star integrated
into its centre. However, the more imposing appearance of the B-Class
also stems from the new-look bumper – whose design emphasises the large
air intake at the bottom – as well as the modified bonnet.
Typical distinguishing features of the current Mercedes style are also very much in evidence in the side profile
of the B-Class, which presents a thrilling interplay between taut forms
and crisp lines. Of particular note is the character line, which rises
progressively from the front wing to the rear tail light, thereby
marking an intriguing divide between the concave and convex-formed
surfaces along the body's flanks. This line furthermore underscores the
body's wedge-shaped form, and thereby gives added impact to the Sports
Tourer's athletic, powerful nature.
In the Model Year 2008 B-Class, the design at
the sides seems even more harmonious and elegant than before because
the exterior mirror housings, door handles and skirt panels are now
painted to match the body colour on all model variants. The restyled
hubcaps and light-alloy wheels add further touches of class to the
The Mercedes design team has further upgraded the interior with a new upholstery fabric, plus a new fabric pattern for the seat cushions. If the B-Class is ordered with the sports package,
the side seat bolsters are trimmed in ARTICO man-made leather and the
centre panels in fabric. The interior door linings likewise feature a
new fabric trim.
Technology: fuel consumption reduced by up to eight percent
BlueEFFICIENCY is the new designation for the
Mercedes commitment to further reductions in fuel consumption and
exhaust emissions. Three models in the A and B-Class will bear the
BlueEFFICIENCY emblem in future: the A 160 CDI, the high-volume
four-cylinder models A 150/B 150 and A 170/ B 170 with the ECO
start-stop function, and the new B 170 NGT with bivalent petrol/natural
gas drive. The fuel consumption of the models in the A and B-Class has
been reduced by up to eight percent thanks to a package of
intelligently combined measures.
From autumn 2008 Mercedes-Benz will introduce a standard BlueEFFICIENCY package for
the three-door A 160 CDIwith a manual transmission, with further
improvements in engine efficiency, aerodynamics, rolling resistance,
energy management and weight. The sum of these measures achieves a fuel
saving of 0.4 litres, which means that the A 160 CDIBlueEFFICIENCY has
an NEDC consumption of only 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres. As a result the CO2 emissions of the 60 kW/82 hp Coupé are only 119 grams per kilometre.
The BlueEFFICIENCY package also includes an aerodynamically optimised radiator grille.
This has a closed-off interior face to reduce the airflow to the
engine, though the CDIengine is still cooled effectively at all times.
The suspension has also been lowered by ten millimetres to reduce the drag coefficient even
further. Mercedes engineers have exploited an additional fuel-saving
potential by controlling the onboard power supply of the A 160
CDIBlueEFFICIENCY according to demand, and therefore on an
energy-saving basis. To recharge the battery with optimum energy
efficiency, the generator management system utilises the engine’s overrun phases to produce electrical energy.
Start/stop function: the engine switches off automatically when idling
In the case of the petrol-engined models A 150/B 150 and A 170/B 170, Mercedes engineers have achieved NEDC fuel savings
of up to 0.4 litres per 100 kilometres with a newly developed ECO
start/stop function. This system will become available from autumn
2008. It automatically switches off the engine when the driver shifts
the manual transmission to neutral at a low speed while applying the
brakes. If the conditions for engine switch-off are met, the driver is
informed by a special display in the instrument cluster.
Within fractions of a second, and almost
noiselessly, the engine is restarted as soon as the clutch is operated
or the brake released. This rapid and comfortable engine start is a
major advantage of the ECO start/stop function versus other systems of
With the ECO start/stop function the NEDC fuel
consumption is reduced by a further 6.5 percent or so. The A 150
BlueEFFICIENCY (70 kW/95 hp) absolves a measured test journey with a
fuel consumption of 5.8 litres per 100 kilometres, which corresponds to 139 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.
Even greater advantages can be achieved in
normal road traffic, as the results of extensive practical trials have
confirmed: Mercedes employees tested the system in 175 test cars,
covering a total of around 1.2 million kilometres .
Roughly half of this enormous mileage was covered in city traffic,
where the new ECO start/stop function enabled fuel savings of up to
nine percent to be achieved.
NGT: B-Class powered by natural gas and petrol
A further new addition to the B-Class range bears the initials "NGT" on the right-hand side of its tailgate. They stand for "Natural Gas Technology"
and identify a model variant which is as economical as it is
environmentally compatible, courtesy of its bi-fuel drive: the B 170
NGTBlueEFFICIENCY is able to run on both natural gas and premium grade
petrol while delivering an identical maximum output of 85 kW/116 hp.
In addition to the petrol tank, there are five
natural gas reservoirs whose total capacity of 16 kilograms equates to
a range of over 300 kilometres. With overall NEDC consumption figures
of 7.3 litres of premium petrol and 4.9 kilograms of natural gas per
100 kilometres, the new B 170 NGT BlueEFFICIENCY is therefore able to
attain a total range in excess of 1000 kilometres. The driver
determines which power source is used at the touch of a button, using
the multifunction steering wheel; an electronic control unit carries
out the switch instantaneously without any jolts – even while on the
The lower carbon dioxide emissions and cheaper
fuel costs make natural gas an attractive alternative to petrol and
diesel, both ecologically and economically speaking. On the NEDC cycle,
the CO2 emissions are 17 percent lower than in the petrol-powered B 170
at 135 grams per kilometre. If the 4.9 kilograms (7.5 m³) of natural
gas consumed per 100 kilometres by the new B 170 NGTBlueEFFICIENCY is
converted into the equivalent quantity of petrol energy, the fuel cost
per kilometre is around 50 percent less than when running on petrol.
Ecology: the A-Class is the first compact car with an environmental certificate
Mercedes-Benz not only assesses the
environmental compatibility of vehicles on the basis of standardised
emissions and fuel consumption measurement, but also taking into
account the entire vehicle lifecycle – from production and many years
of operation to eventual recycling and disposal. An analysis of more
than 40 000 individual processes provides an overall picture and enables the development work to be objectively assessed. This eco balance sheet is the basis of the environmental certificate according to the stringent international ISO standard 14062 (Design For Environment), which Mercedes-Benz is the world’s only automobile brand to have received.
Mercedes engineers have, for the first time,
compiled an eco balance sheet for the natural-gas drive. It forms one
element of the Environmental Certificate awarded to the B-Class by
Germany's TÜV Technical Inspection Authority. The results of this
integrated analysis over a total distance travelled of 150,000
kilometres highlight, for example, a number of clear advantages for the
natural-gas drive. The overall CO2 emissions are some
20 percent below the figure for the comparable petrol-engined model.
Nitrogen oxide emissions are eleven percent lower, while the experts
have calculated a 54 percent difference in carbon monoxide emissions
over the entire lifecycle in favour of the natural-gas drive.
Detailed information about the eco balance sheet
and the environmental certificates for the A and B-Class may be found
in Mercedes-Benz brochures, which are available on the Internet at www.media.daimler.com.
Safety: flashing brake lights warn following traffic
Mercedes-Benz has also made further improvements
to the safety and comfort of the A and B-Class. The adaptive brake
light introduces technology from the luxury class into the compact
segment, which therefore benefits from a further accident prevention
system as a standard feature. Under emergency braking
from a speed exceeding 50 km/h, the brake lights flash rapidly to warn
following traffic, enabling drivers to respond more rapidly and prevent
Mercedes-Benz has now added to this extensive safety technology with crash-responsive emergency lighting
for the interior. This is switched on automatically following an
accident of a defined severity, providing the occupants with better
orientation and facilitating the work of the emergency services.
Parking assist: ultrasound and electric steering for easier parking
When finding and reversing into a parking space,
drivers of the A and B-Class will in future be aided by an active
parking assist feature which is available on request for all model
variants. Using newly developed, side-mounted ultrasonic sensors,
this system identifies suitable parking spaces on both sides of the
road in passing, then informs the driver by means of a display. Once a
suitable parking space has been found, an arrow appears in the display
to inform the driver on which side of the road the parking space is
located. If he or she engages reverse gear, acknowledges the display
message and accelerates, active parking assist takes over the steering
and automatically manoeuvres the car into the parking space. The driver
only needs to accelerate and operate the brakes; the ultrasonic sensors
of the PARKTRONIC system assist in this by keeping them informed about the distance to the vehicle in front of and behind the car.
Mercedes engineers have also added a new
function to a well-proven support system: the Electronic Stability
Program (ESP®) now has an automatic hill-start assist function
which prevents the car from rolling backwards when the driver changes
from the brake pedal to the accelerator when moving off on an uphill
Audio: new units offer Bluetooth, a colour display and Europe-wide navigation
Like all the new 2008 Mercedes models, the A and
B-Class is available with further improved information, communication,
navigation and entertainment systems. The new Audio 50 APS is equipped with a colour display, Europe-wide DVD navigation system and DVD drive, while the top-of-the-range COMAND APS includes HDD navigation, a MUSIC REGISTER, an SD card slot and voice control. Even more scope for mobile musical pleasure is provided by a newly developed, interactive media interface,
an optional item which is able to connect an MP3-player, USB stick or
other external audio unit to the onboard infotainment system.