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Friday, March 15, 2013

Mercedes A Class launch at OverEasy

Thanks to my friend who was on a waiting list for a brand new Merc, I had the opportunity to attend the launch event at OverEasy @ One Fullerton on Wednesday, 13 March 2013.  The star of the event was the brand new Mercedes-Benz A Class, the rebel of the brand synonymous with luxury but rarely youthfulness.  Incidentally, Wednesday was also the day the Category B COE plunged by a third.  I wonder if there were people who booked one right on the spot?

Anyway, this car is meant to rival the BMW 1 series and the Audi A3, which makes it a possible choice for small families thinking of an upgrade to a European marque.  There is also the popular-and-cheap-and-good-and-packed-with-features Volkswagen Golf.  I took a closer look at the car in between the free flow of alcoholic drinks and people watching (celebrities and models were there to glam up the event) to see if it scores an 'A'.

Stars of the night: Rebecca Lim, Elvin Ng, Rosalind Lee, Desmond Tan and the A Class.
Street artist at work.  Unleashing the rebel in you!

The exterior of the A Class would certainly turn heads, especially when compared to the boring Audi A3 and the quasimodo-like face of the BMW 1 series.  A low stance, aggressive front end, sweeping side character lines and gorgeous LED light clusters front and back make it a pretty little thing to look at.  In the A250 Sport edition, you will also get the bling bling treatment called the diamond grille.  Fashionistas out there, you can finally stop thinking about putting swarovski crystals or fake diamonds on your ride.  With the A250 Sport edition, diamonds come as standard!

The interior of the car impresses as well.  Although the A Class is the entry level in the Merc family, you won't feel like you bought a outcast.  The right mix of leather, aluminum, textures, exposed stitching and soft touch plastics will please you as you go about your school or supermarket runs.  The bucket-like seats not only saves space for the rear passengers in a short car, it also looks very sporty.  Like most European cars, ISOFIX mounts for the children car seats are standard.  So far so good!

A for Awesome?
LED and xenon lights are a must have these days.

However, as you take a seat in the rear - important for a small family as an adult would usually accompany the child at the back, you would feel claustrophobic.  From what I recall, a BMW 1 series has more legroom at the back.  I'm sure the Audi A3 would be the overall winner here, as Audi usually does very well in creating space inside the cabin.

She's nice to see and she's soft to touch.
Looks and feels expensive (other than the multimedia screen)
Bucket-like seats help you go faster.
The single most important feature that small families are looking for in a car is perhaps the boot space.  And in this aspect, the A Class might have killed off its chances against its German rivals.  The boot is really small - at 341 litres.  I think the useful space is less than that, as they have gone for a split level design.  Comparatively, the BMW 1 series has 360 litres and the 'everything also can' Volkswagen Golf has 380 litres of boot space.  I guess it saves you some money in the long run, as you would realise that a cheaper Quinny stroller would fit but a extravagant Stokke would not.

Nice try Mercedes, but I think small families are better off playing some Golf or stopping at 1, rather than to strive for an A.

The rebel in me.  Asked to pen down something rebellious for the photo.


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