AS a seasoned motoring journalist, you expect nothing less from the top marques than to provide you with a car that is responsive to your every touch.
But now you don’t even have to touch if you’d prefer to ask, thanks to a piece of voice-activated perfection operated by a simple command: ‘Hey Mercedes!’
In recent times, we’ve got used to asking our smartphones to carry out instructions and I’ve even got a running app that delivers me a bit of encouragement in a sexy French accent … but the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is in a league of its own when it comes to four wheels.
The helpful ‘Hey Mercedes’ will do whatever the driver desires; tell the time, the day, the outside temperature, open the roller blind, or change the radio channel.
It’s the first Mercedes-Benz model to feature the completely new multimedia system MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience – and a special feature of this system is its ability to learn thanks to artificial intelligence.
It can be individualised and adapts to suit the user, cleverly creating an emotional connection between the vehicle, driver and passengers.
I know we all love our cars, in fact I still have fond memories of my first VW Beetle called Herbie, and my heart still does a little flutter when I remember my first sports car, a red MGB whose horn inexplicably used to beep every time I turned a corner … but I never ever got a response when I spoke to them, even if I cursed when they broke down.
But, you could never lose your cool with ‘Hey Mercedes’, she was too polite for one thing!
Chatting to your car, however, is not the only fabulous technological fun feature about the A-Class. As well as intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition, its further strengths include a high-resolution widescreen cockpit with touchscreen operation of the media display.
The touchscreen is part of the comprehensive MBUX touch-control concept – a triad consisting of the touchscreen, touchpad on the centre console and touch control buttons in the steering wheel.
Mercedes-Benz A-Class has certainly revolutionised the compact class with this model and apart from all the gadgets it looks just as good inside and out.
The designers proclaim that the exterior of the new A-Class stands for ‘sportiness, dynamism and emotion’ and they’re not far wrong.
The progressive front design with a low bonnet, flat LED headlamps with chrome elements and torch-like daytime driving lamps ensures an emotionally appealing and alluring appearance.
The striking radiator grille with Mercedes star features pins in a diamond look and a central silver louvre to underline the sportiness of this model.
The vehicle is visually extended by the longer wheelbase and character line along the side. The bonnet slopes more steeply than in the preceding series, emphasising the dynamic, upright front. The larger arches for wheels, from 16 to 19 inches, make it sit more squarely on the road too.
The interior has been completely redefined. Mercedes-Benz has taken a completely new approach, stunningly creating a feeling of spaciousness. The unique interior architecture is shaped in particular by the avant-garde design of the dashboard.
As a result, the wing-shaped main body of the dashboard extends from one front door to the other with no visual discontinuity. The widescreen display is completely free-standing and the air vents in a sporty turbine-look are another highlight.
Imran Ali, marketing manager of Al Haddad Motors, emphasised the fact that this modern model truly allows each driver to express his or her individuality and originality.
To prove the point, the 64 colours of the optional ambient lighting make five times as many colours available than before. And, it is not just the variety that has increased, as the emotive presentation also stands out. The different colours are composed into 10 colour worlds to allow an avant-garde lighting display with spectacular colour changes.
Feeling blue, there’s a colour for you; feeling red hot, well, simply say those immortal words: ‘Hey Mercedes’ and the interior will change to match your mood. It’s marvellous.
It packs a punch too on the road with its progressive 1991cc four-in-line engine providing 224hp power.
The starting price of the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is BD12,995. For more information contact the Al Haddad Motors showroom in Tubli on 17785454 or visit the Mercedes-Benz website on: www.bahrain.mercedesbenzme.com
Check out my test drive YouTube video with Imran, photographer Honey Sharma and, of course, my new friend ‘Hey Mercedes’ by clicking the link below:
Stanley Louis Szecowka
Editor/Journalist & Blogger, Restaurant & Motors Reviewer, FinTech Writer, Manager, Trainer.
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