Once infamous not only for its “sandwich” platform concept but also for failing a previously unknown handling test – the moose test – the A Class now celebrates two decades of existence with models such as the A 45 AMG.
Back in 1981 Mercedes was revealing the NAFA concept as their “unnatural” entry in the very small class – but it never became a reality. It was only in 1993 when the Vision A 93 concept was out and previewed what was set to become the original A Class (W168). At the 1997 Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes officially wowed the audience with the “ingeniously compact car” – the original had more than 20 technical innovations, including that new body shell. This new layout actually gave engineers extensive possibilities to test alternative drive systems, such as hydrogen or battery EVs.
Mercedes produced almost 1.1 million units of the first-gen A-Class, followed by the W169 in 2004 that was available until 2012 when the current W176 came into effect. Now well past the midlife-cycle point, the fourth generation is well under way in terms of development and we’re expecting it to come out at a major automotive event sometime in 2018. And yeah, no worries about that moose test anymore – the sandwich platform has long been abandoned.