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Welcome to the interior of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Hang on, is the baby Benz allowed a nicer interior than an S-Class?
There’s a new Mercedes-Benz A-Class coming early next year. This is what you’ll find inside. Yes, in the A-Class. The smallest, cheapest Benz. Not the S-Class. Listen carefully: that’s the sound of captains of business and industry gnashing their teeth over a hatchback having as smart-looking a cabin as a limousine…
Most striking is the free-stand widescreen display that, on these top-spec versions, comprises one long section of flush glass. The latest E-Class and S-Class have a similar set-up, but the A-Class goes one better by ditching a hooded cowling over the top. Mercedes reckons it’s worked out how to stop reflection and glare interfering with the displays, so it can make the whole cockpit feel airier and more open by binning the binnacle.
As this is a German car, there are many options. Standard A-Classes use two separated 7-inch screens. Middle versions use a flush-glazed 7-inch and 10.25-inch screen. And these top-spec models pictured get the flush-glazed twin 10.25-inch displays. It’s basically an iPhone X with door mirrors.
Don’t ruin them with smeary fingerprints – these are not touchscreens. A-Class passengers interact with the screens via the newest Comand interface, which has ditched the rotary clickwheel control and now depends solely on a touchpad. Will Mercedes have made a better fist of that than the nightmarishly fiddly Lexus infotainment? We can only hope.
The alloy ‘turbine’ vents? They’re an S-Class carry over. So is the steering wheel with touch-sensitive pads for scrolling’n’swiping. And while the outgoing A-Class suffers from chunks of rough, tinny plastic and cheap detailing, this new version has open-pore wood and reams of ambient lighting (with 64 colours on palette). Good news for the next CLA four-door and GLA crossover, which will inherit this cabin too.
Mercedes has also attempted to solve the problem of the current A-Class being about as spacious and roomy as a brand-new wetsuit. There’s more elbow, shoulder, knee, and headroom for all passengers, and deeper storage too. Apparently you can fit a whole Top Gear magazine in each door pocket. Well, Mercedes says it’s big enough to swallow A4-sized documents, but why would you read anything else?
Finally, we’re told that the boot is up in size 29 litres to 370 litres, and you’ll be able to have heated and cooled seats with pneumatic bolsters to stop you falling into the cupholders mid-corner.
All of which ought to make Audi feel far less smug about its minimalist, crisp A3 cockpit, and have showered several BMW interior design laptops with coffee und pretzel this morning. Unless, of course, you don’t like it?