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Mercedes-Benz unveils Gen4 A-Class; bigger, new engines, focus on content and user experience

In an event in Amsterdam, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its new A-Class compact line. The new fourth-generation A-Class vehicles are larger than their predecessors, and feature the MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience with a number of functions that were previously the preserve of the luxury class. In certain driving situations, the new A-Class compact is able to drive semi-autonomously for the first time, and MULTIBEAM LED headlamps are available on request.

All models of the new A-Class are also powered by new diesel and gasoline engines. The new A-Class can be ordered from March onwards, and the market launch commences in the spring.

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With the fourth generation of the A-Class, we are redefining modern luxury in the compact class. To do this we have opted for a combination of uncompromisingly dynamic design and an intuitive operating concept. With MBUX – the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience – we are creating a completely new customer experience.

—Britta Seeger, the member of the Daimler AG Board of Management responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars sales

New technologies must place the focus on people and make their lives easier. The new A-Class does this in many ways, and becomes an emotional and intelligent companion. One good example is MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience: it combines intuitive and natural operation with intelligent, learning software.

—Ola Källenius, the member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars

New, efficient gasoline and diesel engines. All the new A-Class models are powered by new, efficient engines: two new four-cylinder gasoline engines are available at market launch. Innovations in the M 282 with a displacement of 1.4 liters and up to 120 kW include cylinder shutoff (in conjunction with the 7G-DCT transmission) and the delta shape of the cylinder head.

The second new gasoline engine is the M 260 with a displacement of 2.0 liters, 165 kW and 350 N·m. New features include CAMTRONIC for the intake camshaft. Both gasoline engine series have low-friction cylinder walls and a particulate filter as standard.

Also new is the four-cylinder diesel (OM 608) with a displacement of 1.5 liters, up to 85 kW and up to 260 N·m. Its highlights are a near-engine mounted emission control system with AdBlue technology, a turbocharger with optimized response time and water intercooling. A new 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission is also being introduced. Further new engines will follow. The fuel tank has a capacity of 43 liters as standard, with a 51-liter tank optionally available.

The following three engine variants will be available on the launch of the A-Class, or shortly afterwards:

  • A 200 (120 kW/163 hp, 250 N·m; with 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission combined fuel consumption 5.1 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 120 g/km) or six-speed manual transmission (combined fuel consumption 5.6 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 133 g/km)

  • A 250 with 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission (165 kW/224 hp, 350 N·m; combined fuel consumption 6.0 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 141 g/km)

  • A 180 d with 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission (85 kW/116 hp, 260 N·m; combined fuel consumption 4.1 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 108 g/km)

The new M 282 gasoline engine: four-cylinder with cylinder shutoff. The new entry-level engine in the A 200 is the M 282 with a displacement of 1.33 liters. Compared to the previous 1.6-liter engine, the output of this all-aluminum engine has increased by up to eleven percent and the output per liter by no less than 25 percent. This engine excels with very compact dimensions, low weight and high static and dynamic rigidity. The turbocharger features an electronically controlled wastegate: thanks to flexible charge pressure control, it is also possible to set an optimum charge pressure under partial-load conditions.

This is the first four-cylinder Mercedes-Benz engine to feature cylinder shutoff (initially in conjunction with the 7G-DCT transmission). In the partial load range between 1250 and 3800 rpm, and depending on the power requirement, the intake and exhaust valves of the second and third cylinder are closed by valve clearance adjustment. The remaining two cylinders therefore operate under higher loads, and more efficiently.

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Cylinder cutoff, 4-cylinder-gasoline engine M282. Click to enlarge.

To minimize friction, the cylinder walls are coated using the patented NANOSLIDE process. The piston skirts are given an Eco-Tough coating, a special graphite coating for optimized friction and high wear resistance.

Another special technical feature is the delta cylinder head, so called because of its shape. It is slightly higher when installed, but much narrower and lighter than conventional cylinder heads. Further advantages include the semi-integrated intake and exhaust manifolds, which allow compact construction. Daimler holds a patent for the compact arrangement of the high-pressure injection pump with a maximum of 250 bar. The multi-hole injection nozzles are centrally located in the combustion chamber, and injection occurs without the valves being subjected to the jet of fuel.

This new, high-compression four-cylinder engine has a particulate filter as standard. Particular effort was also devoted to noise emissions. The intake air duct features a Helmholtz resonator, the catalytic converter has insulating seals and the cover also has a noise-reducing role.

The new engine will initially be available with the 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission, and later also with a six-speed manual transmission and 4MATIC all-wheel drive.

The M 282 was developed by Mercedes-Benz in cooperation with Renault. It is produced at the Kölleda plant in Thuringia, Germany and in future it will also be produced in Beijing, China. Renault supplies the components of the long block engine.

The new M 260 gasoline engine: premiere of CONICSHAPE. The M 260 four-cylinder engine of the A 250 is essentially a further development of the previous M 270, with an output increase of over 6 percent compared to its predecessor. Its engine block of diecast aluminum with cast iron cylinder liners conceals a world premiere in large-scale production: CONICSHAPE, also known in-house as “trumpet-honing”.

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Mercedes-Benz 4-cylinder-gasoline engine M260. Click to enlarge.

To further minimize piston friction and lower fuel consumption, the cylinder bore is widened at the lower end of the cylinder liners. The resulting, conical shape resembles the mouth of a trumpet. An innovative low-friction oil and optimized piston rings also reduce friction losses. To take account of the higher specific output, the pistons themselves feature cooling ducts. This also ensures more efficient combustion. The balance shafts for smooth engine-running are located in the lower section of the crankcase.

Also new in the aluminum four-valve cylinder head of the two-liter engine is CAMTRONIC, a variable valve timing system that allows two-stage adjustment of the valve lift on the intake side of the valve assembly. In the partial-load range, this variable valve lift adjustment allows less air to be fed to the combustion chamber with a smaller valve lift, which leads to lower gas cycle losses. In higher load ranges the system switches to the higher valve lift to achieve the engine's full power delivery.

Multiple fuel injection ensures optimum combustion despite the smaller valve lift. This compensates the reduced turbulence of the fuel/air mixture in the combustion chamber in the area of the spark plug. The four-cylinder has direct injection with latest-generation piezo injection valves.

The position of the injectors has been optimized to achieve low cylinder wall coverage and therefore lower untreated emissions, especially particulate emissions. A particulate filter is included as standard. Thanks to optimized injection with partial valve lift, the engine runs even more quietly in wide operating ranges. A low level of exhaust emissions has been achieved by further development of the well-proven BlueDIRECT combustion system in conjunction with the standard gasoline particulate filter.

The single-pipe turbocharger features an electronically controlled wastegate valve. The previously vacuum-operated actuator has been replaced by a precision electrical actuator, which reports its position and has a higher actuating speed, so that charge pressure control and diagnosis are significantly improved. This allows charging to be more precisely controlled.

The oil circuit is supplied with engine oil on a demand basis. Sensors monitor the oil pressure so that the supply volume can be adjusted. The cooling circuit has an electronically controlled thermostat which allows the engine temperature to be optimally set to suit needs.

To make engine operation more comfortable, a new centrifugal damper has been introduced into the powertrain as an addition to the balance shafts. This improves the engines NVH characteristics and allows comfortable driving possible at lower rpm. The exhaust system with flap control has the same purpose.

The engine is configured for front-wheel drive and 4MATIC all-wheel drive, and combined with the 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission. The M 260 engine is produced by the Kölleda plant.

The new OM 608 diesel engine: quieter and cleaner. The entry-level OM 608 diesel engine in the A 180 d is a new development based on the OM 607. It is more powerful (85 kW, 5 kW more), has further reduced emissions, complies with EU 6d temp including the new requirements relating to Real Driving Emissions – RDE, and has optimized noise characteristics.

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Mercedes-Benz 4-cylinder-diesel engine OM608. Click to enlarge.

New technological components include the improved turbocharger with variable turbine geometry integrated into the exhaust manifold. An electric actuator now adjusts the turbine geometry Together this makes for a more immediate charging response. The intake air is now cooled by an engine-mounted water intercooler.

The installed height of the new aluminum cylinder head has been reduced, and the moving masses of the valve assembly reduced. The intake manifold is now integrated into the cylinder head cover. The pressure of the common-rail injection system has been increased to 2000 bar (previously: 1600 bar).

The electro-magnetically controlled injectors have eight injection holes. This allows precise combustion control by up to six injections per working cycle. Dual pre-injection is used to optimise combustion noise in wide operating ranges, and the injectors are sealed in their shafts.

The cast-iron engine block has been made lighter, while increasing its rigidity. Weight-optimized steel pistons are used as before. A demand-controlled oil pump is used, with a pressure regulating valve adjusting the oil pressure on the basis of need and temperature-dependent characteristics maps.

For sound insulation, the sump has a polyurethane foam cover, the engine cover an interior foam lining and the design cover an interior PET lining.

For low emissions, the OM 608 is equipped with high and low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation. The compact exhaust aftertreatment system is near-engine mounted. Alongside the oxidation catalytic converter and the particulate filter, SCR catalytic converters with AdBlue metering are used for the first time in this engine class.

The particulate filter also has an SCR coating. A large AdBlue tank with a capacity of 23.8 liters ensures long refilling intervals, and has its own, externally accessible filler neck next to the diesel filler neck.

At market launch the engine is available with a new 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission. The OM 608 was developed as part of a strategic cooperation with Renault. The Mercedes-Benz specific technology components include:

  • engine mounting
  • special two-mass flywheel
  • dual-clutch transmission
  • alternator and air conditioner compressor
  • engine control unit with specific software
  • ECO start/stop function

The 7G-DCT transmissions: comfortable and economical. In the new A-Class, Mercedes-Benz uses two different 7G-DCT dual clutch transmissions with a wet clutch: The previous transmission has been developed further for the more powerful engines (e.g. A 250). It has been improved in shift performance and reaction time by an optimized friction system and pistons with a lower hysteresis. To transfer the driver’s shift commands even more directly, communication between the engine and transmission has been revised. Control of the available drive programs ECO, Comfort, Sport and Individual has also been adapted.

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Mercedes-Benz A-Class, 7G-DCT gear drive. Click to enlarge.

The A 200 and A 180 have a newly developed 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission. For a low dry weight of 67 kg, the actuators exhibit high mechanical and electrical efficiency. The gears are shifted electro-mechanically, the wet clutches are operated electrohydraulically. The software-controlled clutch allows different shift characteristics—from sporty to particularly comfortable—with the driver able to choose between ECO, Comfort, Sport and Individual. As further functions it allows extended coasting and ECO start/stop. This transmission was developed together with GETRAG, who is also the supplier.

Suspension. There is a choice of suspension systems for the A-Class, depending on engine variant and driver preference. 16-inch wheels are standard equipment. DYNAMIC SELECT is standard equipment, and at the touch of a button also provides an individual driving experience in conjunction with the suspension with active damping control (optional).

Like all its predecessors, the new A-Class has a McPherson front suspension. The more powerful versions such as the A 250 and all 4MATIC models have a sophisticated four-link rear suspension. The rear axle is mounted on a subframe isolated from the bodyshell by rubber bushings so that fewer vibrations are transferred from the suspension to the body. All in all, the proportion of aluminum in the suspension components is one of the highest in any suspension system in this vehicle class. The entry-level A 200 and A 180 d models have a torsion beam rear suspension.

As standard the new A-Class is equipped with a comfort suspension with steel springs and DYNAMIC SELECT. The comfort suspension lowered by 15 millimeters has specially configured springs and dampers for more sporty characteristics. The suspension with active damping control enables the driver to choose the preferred damping characteristics.

MBUX. The new A-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz model to feature the completely new multimedia system MBUX - Mercedes-Benz User Experience, which also ushers in a new era in Mercedes me connectivity. A unique feature of this system is its ability to learn thanks to artificial intelligence. MBUX can be individualized and adapts to suit the user. It thus creates an emotional connection between the vehicle, driver and passengers.

Its further strengths include the high-resolution Widescreen cockpit with touchscreen operation of the media display, the navigation display with augmented reality technology plus intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition, which is activated with the code word “Hey Mercedes”. A head-up display is also available. The touchscreen is part of the comprehensive MBUX touch-control concept—a triad consisting of the touchscreen, touchpad on the centre console and touch control buttons in the steering wheel.

New and improved Mercedes me connect services are being launched with the new infotainment generation MBUX. These include navigation functions based on Car-to-X communication (information from vehicle to vehicle about events registered by sensors, e.g. emergency braking, ESP intervention, or manual reporting e.g. of an accident by the driver), and Vehicle Tracker, which makes it easier to find the parked vehicle, as well as outputting a message if the parked vehicle suffers an impact or is towed away.

The Mercedes me app collection can be placed as an icon on the screen in a user-friendly way and can be freely sorted on the homepage like all other main applications. In addition, online content such as current filling station prices or the availability of parking spaces in the multi-floor car park are displayed in MBUX. Online updating is a simple way of allowing new content to be made available in MBUX.

Intelligent Drive: functions from the S-Class. The new A-Class has the very latest driving assistance systems with cooperative driver support, giving it the highest level of active safety in this segment with functions adopted from the S‑C lass. For the first time, the A-Class is able to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations. To do this it keeps a close eye on the traffic situation: improved camera and radar systems allow it to see up to 500 m ahead.

The A-Class also uses map and navigation data for assistance functions. For example, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC as part of the Driving Assistance package is able to support the driver in numerous route-specific situations, and predictively and conveniently adjust the speed e.g. when approaching bends, junctions or roundabouts. Also on board are e.g. Active Emergency Stop Assist and intuitively understandable Active Lane Change Assist.

The new A-Class comes with extended Active Brake Assist as standard. Depending on the situation, this can effectively help to mitigate the consequences of rear-end collisions with slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles ahead, and even with crossing pedestrians and cyclists, or prevent them altogether.

PRE-SAFE PLUS can recognize an imminent rear-end collision. If the danger of a collision persists, the system can also firmly apply the brakes of the vehicle when stationary, thus minimizing the risk of injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by an impact from the rear.

The new A-Class is also the first Mercedes-Benz model to have been developed at the new Technology Centre for Vehicle Safety (TFS). The design of the vehicle structures incorporates findings from research into real accidents. Every single bodyshell component was developed according to the loads and stresses encountered, with respect to geometry, material thickness, joining technology and material quality (increased proportion of high-strength and ultra high-strength sheet steel).

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The centerpiece of the body’s safety concept is the highly rigid passenger cell. Its great rigidity when subjected to accident-induced stress e.g. in frontal, lateral or rear-end collisions and rollovers is above all due to the greater use of high-strength, ultra high-strength and press-hardened sheet steel.

Comments

Lad

Looks like MB pulled out all the stops on these ICEVs. Hope their upcoming EVs are done as well.

SJC

Hope they did a better job on their DCT than Ford.

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