The Mercedes-Benz A-Class has had a significant upgrade for 2015, with the facelift bringing revised engines, new looks and a new motorsport-inspired edition.
The upgrades include a series of tweaks to the appearance of the A-Class inside and out. The most notable change is to the front end, which now comes with Mercedes’ diamond grille as standard. It also gets a revised, more angular front bumper, redesigned tail-lights, integrated exhaust pipes and optional LED headlights.
Inside, the upgraded infotainment system comes with a larger, 8.0in screen on higher trim levels and is now compatible with Apple Carplay and Mirrorlink, which allow integration with a wide range of the latest smartphones.
The cabin also features new materials and a range of new interior colours and optional ambient lighting with higher trim levels.
Heading the new line-up is the upgraded A45 AMG. Its turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine has been given a 21bhp hike in power and an 18lb ft lift in torque, so it now offers 376bhp at 6000rpm and 350lb ft at 2250rpm.
The four-wheel drive model has also received a revised seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox with shorter ratios for third to seventh along with new software for what AMG officials describe as “improved response and shift action”.
In combination with a new Dynamic Plus package that brings a mechanical locking front differential, the facelifted A45 AMG is claimed to hit 62mph from rest in just 4.2sec. This is 0.4sec faster than the pre-facelifted model and 0.1sec faster than the official claim for the latest Audi RS3. Top speed, combined cycle fuel consumption and CO2 emissions remain the same as before at a limited 155mph, 40.9mpg and 162g/km respectively.
The 180 diesel engine benefits from the most notable fuel economy improvement, with official combined consumption now rated at 80.7mpg. The CO2 emissions have been reduced by 9g/km to 89g/km.
The A220 diesel now comes with more power, with 175bhp on tap, up from the pre-facelift version’s 168bhp.
The A-Class range also adopts Mercedes’ new naming structure. Petrol models now just have a number to denote their variant, but diesel models will have a ‘d’ after their name. Previously, diesels were identified with a 'CDI' badge.
As well as the visual changes, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz A-Class features an optional adaptive damping system in a bid to improve the model’s ride quality.
The adaptive system, called Dynamic Select, has been honed at the premium German car firm’s Sindelfingen research and development facility, where a prototype A-Class was subjected to 10 weeks of testing on a ride simulator during the early stages of development. However, Mercedes has admitted that the new set-up has not yet been tested in the UK.
There are three modes on the adaptive damping system: Comfort, Sport and Eco. The Comfort setting allows more travel and elevation, while ironing out smaller, harsher bumps in the road.
Sport offers less travel and sharper responses, but smaller bumps are more apparent. Despite this, Mercedes-Benz says its engineers have tuned the Sport setting to be softer and more compliant than the Sport settings of its key rivals. Sport trim models will get the system as standard, while it is also offered in combination with the 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic gearbox.