Since launch, Mercedes-Benz's A- and B-class hatchbacks have been well received in our market. These models started raking in the numbers for the luxury carmaker, so much so that these entry-level compact cars account for around 20 percent of the company's sales in India. Apart from lowering the entry-level into the brand, according to the carmaker, these two luxury hatchbacks are also helping it attract younger buyers.
The carmaker didn't just rest on the healthy numbers, but looked to improve on its products. Now, based on customer feedback, Mercedes-Benz is set to bring special editions of the A- and B-class with added kit. Known as Edition 1, the special edition will be available only on the diesel versions.
On the outside, the A 180 CDI and the B 180 CDI special edition diesel trims now sport glossy black wing mirror housings and decals with ‘Edition 1’ lettering. Both get new design alloys but there are no changes in wheel or tyre size.
On the inside of both special editions, the manual front passenger seat gets electronic adjustment with memory function, the rear seat gets a center arm-rest with cup holders, there's a reversing camera, panoramic sunroof and ‘Edition 1’ badging. Additionally, the B 180 CDI Edition 1 gets a rear seat entertainment system.
Though the reversing camera makes navigating into cramped parking spaces a lot easier, surprisingly, Mercedes has skimped on parking sensors. The rear centre armrest with cup holders is a practical addition but the rear seats of the A-class still feel cramped.
There are no changes under the hood and both the A 180 CDI and B 180 CDI continue to be powered by the same 2143cc, common-rail, turbo-diesel mill which makes 107.3bhp and 25.5kgm of torque. The only mechanical change is in the suspension setting which has been tweaked for both. The other significant difference is the raised ground clearance. In fact, Mercedes-Benz will increase ground clearance on all its hatchbacks on sale in India, a rather sensible move, given the state of our roads.
Driving in the city, the suspension tweaks in the A 180 is immediately apparent. The A-class Edition 1 sees a big improvement over the sometimes thrashy ride of the standard car and does a better job of absorbing road imperfections and potholes. However, the ride is still stiff and bigger bumps thump through to the cabin. Handling characteristics remain incisive despite the car riding higher now.
On the Mercedes B 180 CDI though, there is much less of an improvement in ride quality and it continues to be stiff even over medium sized bumps. While driving over poorly paved sections, small and big bumps filter into the cabin.
On both the A 180 Edition 1 and the B 180 Edition 1, the higher ground clearance makes a considerable difference, especially on our roads. The extra height makes it possible to tackle speed breakers, mall parking inclines and deep potholes with confidence. And this is doubly true with a full load of passengers.
So, Mercedes-Benz has taken into consideration valuable customer inputs and improved a pair of already impressive products. With the regular A-class and B-class diesel continuing to sell well, the ‘Edition 1’ variants will only serve to add to the appeal of Merc’s compacts.
The Mercedes-Benz A180 and B 180 Edition 1 will be officially launched on June 24.