Mercedes have taken an (almost) entirely new direction with the new A Class. In a stark departure from the twin-floor, high roof layout of its W168 and W169 predecesssors, which fit the cabin space of an E-Class into the floor space of a Ford Ka, the new car is going for more mainstream appeal.
Designated the W176, the new A-Class is pitched squarely at the VW Golf segment, taking on not just the Golf, but the A3, 1-Series and other premium family hatches. Aimed at 30-40 year old professionals, some have said, that it looks a lot like an Opel Corsa. In fairness it is quite a good looking car. Fans of the old A-Class may prefer the new W246 B-Class which has the twin floor high-box design, although.
I think Mercedes Benz are running a real risk in changing the type of car that the name refers to, although I’m sure a Golf-sized product makes perfect sense in their range, and it may be that, at least in part, this decision came about as a result of the well publicised difficulties they had in securing partners for the A-Class project.
To introduce the W176, Mercedes have released this interesting ad, featuring Jessica Stam, who, I am told, is no relation to Jaap, the Dutch centre-half. Apparently she is Canadian, in fact. She appears to have become lost in an industrial estate on a Sunday, but fortunately she is able to scoot under a garage door and hug an A-Class for warmth.
Car Magazine currently has more information than appears on the MB site, whereas Autocar whets our appetite for a 2013 debut of the AMG version of the new A Class, featuring four wheel drive and 320bhp of fun.