What is it?
Although the C-Class remains Mercedes-Benz’s biggest-selling car, you could argue that it’s actually the A-Class and its derivatives on the lowest rung of the Mercedes ownership ladder that are now the most important products for the world’s largest premium car maker.
All this means the success of each new generation is simply essential – and nowhere more so than in the UK, the world’s biggest market for the A-Class.
So forgive Mercedes for not varying the formula much for this fourth-generation A-Class. The last one played a key role in Mercedes overtaking BMW and Audi to become the most popular brand of its kind in the world.
How? By lowering the average age of the A-Class buyer by more than a decade and ensuring that 60% of its sales were to people who’d never bought a Mercedes before. Sell one car to one young person and you might then sell them 10 more in their lifetime under your cosy corporate umbrella.
The new A-Class is bigger in every important direction including a 30mm longer wheelbase, but it's 20kg lighter – commendable given the enhanced content it must carry.
At launch, there will be only an A180d diesel, along with A200 and A250 petrol models, all with seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions. An A180 petrol will be on sale before the end of the year, as will a manual six-speed gearbox, while A200d and A220d diesels will come on stream in early 2019. If your ideal model is not available at launch, you might be well served not to compromise but to wait until it is.