‘Drive yourself’: Mercedes-Benz launches the daring A 250 Sport for the driven generation
Markedly emotive AMG bodystyling design combines with agile handling and a powerful four cylinder, two litre turbocharged engine that produces a roaring 211 hp and 350 Nm of torque, thundering a market that demands success to 100km/h in just 6.6 seconds. GCC standard specifications come fully loaded compared to the international market, including a very sporty interior design with red stitching, designo red seat belts, red framed SLS AMG style air vents, comfortable sport seats, aggressive exterior look with diamond grille, red brake callipers, 18” five spoke AMG light-alloy wheels in high sheen black finish and headlamps with red marker rings.
At the same time the new model underlines that for Mercedes-Benz, safety is not a question of price – the standard specification includes, amongst other things, the radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST system. Smiles will broaden when learning that ownership of a car sporting the unmistakable status of the sparkling three pointed star starts at just USD$37,000 GCC wide.
"Mercedes-Benz is becoming the most dynamic premium brand in the world. As part of this development, the A 250 Sport represents an important milestone. The A 250 Sport is completely new, down to the last detail. In automotive development, it's not often you get the chance to start with a clean sheet of paper. Our engineers have made the very most of that opportunity," said Frank Bernthaler, Director, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Middle East & Levant.
GCC options in addition to the standard specification include Xenon Lights, Active Parking Assist, and a Light Sight Package (Interior Ambient Lighting). Additional safety options include Distronic Plus, and Blind Spot Assist.
The timing of the launch into an entirely new segment for Mercedes-Benz in the region forms an important pillar of the Mercedes-Benz global and regional strategy to become the globe’s number one premium brand by 2020. Mercedes-Benz Middle East and Levant has built on a historically large regional market share for luxury sedans such as the E- and S-Class models in recent years, by expanding its market share in other segments. This achieved a best sales year ever in 2012, with record SUV and AMG performance division sales, whilst changing the regional perception of Mercedes-Benz to be recognized as a more attainable, sporty and youthful brand proudly boasting the prestige and status of the three pointed star.
Launched with the tagline ‘Drive yourself’, the arrival of the A 250 Sport to the region aims to turn the luxury small car segment on its head and marks a new direction for Mercedes-Benz in the region. With the A-Class, Mercedes-Benz is targeting a growing ambitious, affluent, young and aspirational new market, providing a car with the three pointed star that boasts good looks, performance, prestige and attitude, at a price point that makes attainability of the brand a reality for those that may consider owning a Mercedes-Benz as ‘something they want but sometime in the future’. In a class of its own in the segment, the A 250 Sport makes the dream of Mercedes-Benz ownership a reality, initiating a lifelong relationship with its customers far earlier than before.
Speaking on the timing of the A-Class’ arrival to the Middle East Market, Bernthaler said: “This generation is the most ambitious generation to walk the face of the earth. They absolutely believe that anything is possible and have the self confidence in their abilities to go after their dreams. They know what they want and they want it now. ‘Drive yourself’ is a call to arms for these individuals to embrace this philosophy and a celebration of this drive. With every segment now covered by Mercedes-Benz and the continued demand for our sedans, newly launched SUV, AMG and niche model range, we expect another great year in 2013.”
The design: the most progressive in the compact class
The A 250 Sport communicates design and dynamism at the very first glance. This radical form language, presented and enthusiastically acclaimed around the world with the Concept A-Class, was consistently implemented in the series production car. The appearance of the new A 250 Sport reflects this new Mercedes-Benz design strategy. The result is what is known as a two-box design with a distinct character of its own, a sportily emotive exterior and an exceptionally high-quality feel to the interior.
"Translating the new dynamic style of Mercedes-Benz into the compact class was a challenge that was great fun to tackle", explains Bernthaler. "No other car in this segment is as progressive as the A 250 Sport. Absolutely typical for Mercedes is the sculptural shape of the A 250 Sport. The character lines, in particular on its sides, lend the A 250 Sport structure and terseness while the new dynamic style is perceptible at first glance in the interior as well."
Defined edges and tautly drawn surfaces mark out the exterior design of the new A 250 Sport. The constant interplay between concave and convex surfaces creates a characteristic play of light, particularly along the sides of the car, which contributes to its unique appearance.
Typical features of the long, sporty front are its pronounced V-shape, the separate headlamps, the diamond grille with central Mercedes star and single louver, as well as the additional air intakes on the sides. The "dropping line" apparent in the side profile dissipates towards the vehicle's front end.
The design of the headlamps, together with the configuration of the light functions within them are key elements of the design concept. The light modules and LEDs behind the headlamp cover glass have been arranged in such a way as to create the characteristic "flare effect" for the daytime driving lights and indicators.
The perfect interplay of dynamic design and excellent aerodynamics is nowhere more apparent than in the roof, with its smooth surfaces and taut, arcing curve. The silhouette reveals smooth, flowing lines finishing in a flat edge. The roof spoiler, which conveniently hides all the aerials, provides an extra sporty touch and gives structure to the roof assembly.
The broad emphasis of the tail end is revealed in an interplay of convex-concave surfaces and edges. The tail lights continue the line of the muscular shoulders back towards the rear, while their horizontal orientation emphasises the car's powerful width. The light functions by fibre-optic cables and LED modules. Here, too, the interaction between design and aerodynamics is very clear: the surface finish of the tail lights is not only an interesting design feature, but also improves the airflow around the vehicle thanks to defined airflow break-away edges in the rear section.
Interior: five-seater model with a high-value impression
The interior of the A 250 Sport represents a big step forward in terms of quality – both in the materials used and in the consistency of the design. Both objectives have been achieved with the help of a specific design idiom and through the various combination options possible with the high-quality materials selected. All trim elements have been given an electroplated finish, resulting in real metal surfaces with "cool touch" effect. The work has been executed with considerable care and attention to detail, so that they appear to have been moulded in one piece.
The instrument panel incorporates five round vents. The outer rings of the round vents have a high-quality red electroplated finish. The airflow direction is governed by an insert that is reminiscent of an aircraft turbine and reveals a meticulous attention to detail. This too has an electroplated finish in silver-chrome. The free-standing display screen features a black piano-lacquer-look front panel and a flush-fitting silver frame.
The instrument cluster comprises two large round instruments, each with a small dial set within it. When at rest, the dial needles stand at 6 o'clock. The pointer inlays are red. The dials are silver with a chequered flag effect. The 3-spoke steering wheel comes with 12 function buttons and an electroplated bezel.
The fact that the new A 250 Sport is a sporty hatchback model with a low centre of gravity is reflected in its dimensions: measuring 4292 x 1780 x 1433 mm (length x width x height), it hugs the road.
The A 250 Sport is a five-seater model. The rear seats provide room for three passengers, despite looking like two individual seats with their sporty design. The boot volume is 341 litres, which jumps to 1157 litres with the rear seat backrests folded down. The seat backrests feature a 60:40 split can be folded forward individually. The width of the luggage compartment between the wheel housings is 1050 mm.
Available appointments, many familiar from higher vehicle classes, include the LED xenon Light System, front sports seats with integrated head restraints and contrasting red stitching. Further sporty details designed to appeal to the vehicle's young target group include designo seat belts in red and silver instrument cluster with red dial pointers.
"The new A 250 Sport is the chariot of choice for the Middle East’s burgeoning driven generation from Mercedes-Benz," stresses Frank Bernthaler, Director, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Middle East & Levant. "We have taken the opportunity to design a completely new vehicle which sets standards in its segment. I am convinced that the new A 250 Sport will make a significant contribution to our Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy, and to ensuring we continue to set new sales records with this powerful entrance into a brand new segment for us in the region."
Suspension: agility and refined sportiness
Refined sportiness means maximum agility combined with the sense of safety, unspoilt driving stability and high levels of ride comfort which are all typical of the brand. The suspension of the new A 250 Sport has a four-link rear axle, electromechanical power steering with assistance functions and ESP® with "Extended Traction Control" (XTC). During development, the suspension experts made intensive use of simulations and the driving simulators at the Mercedes development centre in Sindelfingen as part of the so-called digital ride and handling test.
The preconditions for achieving dynamic handling are excellent in the A 250 Sport. A four-link rear axle ensures forces are absorbed by three control arms and one trailing arm per wheel. This means that longitudinal and lateral dynamics are virtually independent of one another. Wheel carriers and spring links are made of aluminium to reduce the unsprung masses. The goal was to achieve high lateral agility with high driving stability thanks to small sideslip angle on the rear axle.
The new A 250 Sport comes with a sporty, "engineered by AMG" high-performance suspension. Altogether this results in low dynamic rolling behaviour and low start-off pitch angle.
Furthermore, the vehicle also has a reduced tendency to understeer in the higher lateral acceleration range: the driver is therefore able to control changes in direction with low steering input but high steering precision. When accelerating out of bends taken at speed, the tendency to understeer is reduced even further by "Extended Traction Control" (XTC): with this function, ESP® provides support in the form of directional stability by generating a yaw moment on the front and rear wheels located
on the inside of the bend.
Safety: setting the very highest standard
In an innovative move in the compact segment, the A 250 Sport is equipped as standard with a radar-based collision warning system with adaptive Brake Assist, a combination which lowers the risk of rear-end collisions. The COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST system gives a visual and audible warning to alert a possibly distracted driver to identified obstacles, and prepares Brake
Assist for the most precise braking response possible. This is initiated as soon as the driver operates the brake pedal decisively.
"With the new A 250 Sport, Mercedes-Benz is setting new standards in many disciplines, not least when it comes to the area of safety", says Frank Bernthaler, Director, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Middle East & Levant. "The new A 250 Sport provides the highest standard of safety ever seen in this vehicle class."
The democratisation of safety encompasses an array of assistance systems which have been adopted into the A 250 Sport from the larger model series, or sometimes developed further in the A 250 Sport. These include:
- Adaptive Highbeam Assist
- Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist
- ATTENTION ASSIST (standard)
- Speed Limit Assist (speed limit sign recognition)
- Active Parking Assist with parking guidance
- Brake hold function
- Hill-Start Assist
- Reversing camera
- DISTRONIC PLUS
Premiere in the compact class: PRE-SAFE® available for the first time
The availability of the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system for the A 250 Sport marks another first in this vehicle category. This represents a further step in the on-going democratisation of this innovation, which was premiered in the S-Class in 2002.
Core features of PRE-SAFE® are reversible belt tensioning, the closing of side windows and sliding sunroof in case of critical lateral dynamics and adjustment of the fully electric front passenger seat with memory function to an ideal position for maximum effectiveness of the restraint systems. PRE-SAFE® is always activated in response to critical longitudinal and lateral dynamics and may also be triggered upon intervention by certain assistance functions.
Body: a strong basis and intelligent protection
The new A 250 Sport has passed the brand's rigorous programme of crash tests. This includes not only some 30 different impact configurations, which are laid down as requirements for safety ratings and international type approval, but also nine proprietary crash tests, such as the roof-drop test or the pole impact test, developed by the brand itself.
The ability of the new A 250 Sport to satisfy requirements which go far beyond the statutory conditions in some cases is also demonstrated by an internal offset front collision test against a future luxury-segment saloon from Mercedes-Benz: despite the high impact speed and the fact that it is the smaller accident participant, the A 250 Sport offers its occupants an intact passenger compartment and excellent chances of survival.
The scope of the restraint systems takes special account of the A 250 Sport's use as a family car. Great importance has been attached to the safety of the rear occupants. Belt tensioners, belt-force limiters and belt height adjusters come as standard on the outer seats. Rear sidebags are optionally available. The driver and front passenger are provided with new thorax-pelvisbags which are able to cover the pelvis and the entire upper part of the body. A windowbag is fitted as standard for head protection.
Drive system: high output, low consumption
The new A 250 Sport features the ECO start/stop function as standard pairs with the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission, which ideally combines comfort and sportiness. With turbocharging and direct injection, the A 250 Sport is considerably efficient with a consumption of 6.1 litres and CO2 emissions of 143g.
The completely new engine and transmission is not the only decisive
factors in this exemplary efficiency. The overall package is rounded off perfectly with progressive aerodynamics with a co-efficient drag (Cd) figure of only 0.27, as well as a number of other improvements.
"The new four-cylinder models from Mercedes-Benz occupy a leading position by virtue of their performance, high efficiency and very low emissions. They impress with their smooth, superior power delivery and offer customers refinement at the highest level," says, Frank Bernthaler, Director, Sales and Marketing, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Middle East & Levant.
For more information, please contact:
Public Relations, Daimler Middle East & Levant
Mob: +971 50 9006069
Mob: +971 50 8847964
Mob: +971 50 2838085
Further information from Mercedes-Benz is available online at: www.media.daimler.com