[Video] This is the fourth generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class image

We’ve been seeing it teased virtually everywhere – online, at CES in Las Vegas, etc. – and the moment of truth has finally arrived, with the German automaker presenting the basis of its compact range – the fourth generation A Class in hatchback form.

While the all-new appearance is not exactly mesmerizing at first glance, it’s also not exactly a chip of the old block, and in terms of styling the refinements go beyond the simple evolution of the design lines of the predecessor. While some will think this is again something evolutionary, in reality the automaker paid huge attention to the entire package – especially when it came to technological enhancements.

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The “Sensual Purity” design language is taking the “next step” according to the company, and the aerodynamic efficiency is among the best with a drag coefficient of 0.25. It’s also growing up dimensionally, with the wheelbase now 30 mm longer and the front track widened by 14 mm – while the suspension setup also gains active damping adjustment as an option. Also the boot has been enhanced, now capable of holding 370 litres – 29 liters more than its predecessor, while the loading aperture is 20 cm wider than before.

“With the fourth generation of the A-Class, we are redefining modern luxury in the compact class. To do this we have opted for a combination of uncompromisingly dynamic design and an intuitive operating concept,” says Britta Seeger, the member of the Daimler AG Board of Management responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars sales. “With MBUX – the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience – we are creating a completely new customer experience.”

Inside, the new A Class – which has actually been showcased in this department way before the official public presentation at the special dedicated event in Amsterdam (and the upcoming official worldwide premiere at the Geneva Motor Show) – is completely revamped, with a new infotainment system and a completely different styling. We’ve already discussed extensively the MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience multimedia system, so let’s see what else is new. For example, the new A-Class has features that are truly impressive for its class, some adopted directly from the flagship S Class. First and foremost, the new A will be capable of driving itself semi-autonomously in certain situations, but also arrives with Active Emergency Stop Assist, Active Brake Assist, Pre-Safe Plus or the optional Multibeam LED lamps.

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At the start of sales, the A Class, which should hit dealerships across Europe later this year will be equipped with three completely new engines. The A 200 is going out with the new M 282 1.4-liter four-cylinder petrol mill that’s good for 163 hp and 250 Nm, while the second gasoline version is the A 250 with the M 260 on board. It’s a 2-liter that will deliver 224 hp and 350 Nm, both being mated to a 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission and only the base option also getting a six-speed manual transmission. Of course diesel fans aren’t left out, receiving the new OM 608 1.5-liter that comes with 116 hp and 260 Nm – and linked to the same, also new 260 Nm, while all three choices can also be corroborated with the 4Matic all-wheel drive system.