In the dark days of apartheid, when black life in South Africa was marked by deprivation, businessmen in the townships earned their stripes and respect only when they were seen in a Benz.

Fast forward to the 21st century, the Mercedes has not lost any of its prestige, despite fierce competition from other automakers offering luxury or stylish drives. The modern times have created new markets and tastes for motoring, more so in compact cars where competition is stiff. The latest response by Mercedes Benz it’s through the A-Class – a completely new design for the A series. Remodelled from top to bottom, the latest compact from the German automaker made was revealed to the world back at the Geneva Motor Show last year.

What sets the A-Class 2013 apart is that this time around the AMG performance specialists were involved in the design process. This has resulted in the production of the A-Class Sport – an impressive and super-sporty model featuring 18-inch alloy wheels, 235/40 R18 tyres all painted a high-gloss black, as well as red brake callipers.

By abandoning the previous generation of A-Class’ Compact Car construction and design, the 2013 A-Class won’t be the most spacious of the vehicles in its class. One gets the impression that the A-Class has been planned to be as compact as possible while still retaining a measure of practicality.

Petrol engines within the A-Class range vary between 1.6- and 2.0-litre producing 85kW in the A180, 116kW in the A200 and 157kW in the A250. All the petrol engines will be direct-injection, turbocharged motors that produce a more effective combustion process and on-demand multi-spark ignitions. Another exciting element is the innovative CAMTRONIC system, which adjusts the lift of the valve in order to restrict the fresh mixture that is used in the partial load range and essentially reducing fuel consumption. Impressively, the new A-Class will produce a mere 99g of carbon dioxide per kilometre – a great selling point in today’s environmentally conscious climate.

The turbocharged and direct-injection technology also makes the diesel engines efficient and environmentally sensible. The CDI models in the A-Class offer 81kW and 250Nm of torque from the A180, 101kW and 300Nm of torque from the A200. The 2.2-litre A220 CDI cranks out 127kW and 350Nm of torque – making it a great performer in its class.

Engines throughout the new A-Class feature the ECO start and stop function as a standard. The A-Class engines can be bonded with a new six-speed manual transmission or the 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic transmission, which is available as an optional extra.

The new A-Class arrived in South Africa in April. Though the wealthy farmers in the Free State will still hold on to their trusted Benz 300 models from the 1990s, Mercedes-Benz-SA is undaunted about the popularity the A-Class is going to attract in the country.


CEO Dr Martin Zimmermann enthused that the A-Class will appeal to a new and modern target market who have taken interest in the brand.

“The target group for our new generation compact cars definitely includes our existing customer base as well as the new middle class and progressive mainstream individuals who have started to make the brand part of their consideration set. With our latest introductions to the compact car segment we have an opportunity to attract young and discerning consumers who are also looking for power and performance embodied in a sporty and stylish design, with all the traditional Mercedes-Benz values of safety and reliability,” Dr Zimmerman said.


Mercedes-Benz A-Class Price List



Mercedes-Benz A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY

R275 000

Mercedes-Benz A 200 BlueEFFICIENCY

R298 000

Mercedes-Benz A 180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY automatic

R310 000

Mercedes-Benz A 180 BlueEFFICIENCY manual

R300 000

Mercedes-Benz A 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY

R355 000

Mercedes-Benz A 250 Sport

R395 000


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