As Audi's new A3 rolls forth and steals plenty of headlines, Mercedes' brand spanking new A-Class has also clawed its way from its conceptual egg and burst forth into the limelight.

First things first – it looks quite strange, almost as though something heavy's sat on the bonnet while no one was looking. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, aerodynamic efficiency, because Mercedes says the car is class-leading in this respect. And second, the A-Class's face is the way all future Mercedes front ends will look, more or less.

The new A-Class
has a range of petrol and diesel engines and will come with power outputs from 109bhp to 211bhp, depending on your choice. Mercedes is particularly pleased that one version with have a CO2 output of 99g/km, which means hippies will tolerate it and owners can drive into the centre of London for free. Lucky them.

It's the first A-Class that AMG, Mercedes' performance arm, has had a hand in, too. Mercedes claims that because of this it's the most dynamic and involving one yet. The Sport model is, at least.


Tech heads will love the new A's party piece though – you can plug your iPhone into its plush cabin (for a hatch) and use all of its features. That includes the Siri Artificial Intelligence function: you can ask Siri to call and text people in your phone book without having to even glance down. You can also ask it when the next Audi A3 is hitting UK showrooms if you're feeling particularly cruel.

Like all new Mercedes', the A comes with a plethora of safety tech. Most notably, though, the Pre-Safe braking system, which either stops you from having a crash all together or limits the damage done.

The A-Class will be with us later this year. By then we may have grown used to the looks.

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