The Mercedes-Benz AClass is built with high-strength steel alloys and bonded joints. It has numerous airbags, including rear and side-curtain airbags, and standard head and thorax-protection side airbags. The front airbags are adaptive with two-stage gas generators that depend on the severity of the accident. The seat belt system also adjusts its force dynamically depending on the collision characteristics. Meanwhile, 'active' head restraints (available for both the driver and front passenger) give better protection from neck injury in rear-end collisions. The angle of the A-pillar is more horizontal than the windshield angle, allowing for a 15% increase in cargo capacity.
Seven engine types are available, 4 petrol (A 150, A 170, A 200, A 200 Turbo) and 3 diesel (A 160 CDI, A 180 CDI, A 200 CDI), which can be paired with a 5- or 6-speed manual gearbox. An additional feature is the "Autotronic Constantly Variable Transmission" (CVT) system with an optional continuously variable transmission.
The petrol A 200 Turbo has a power of 193 hp (144 kW) and torque of 280 N·m (207 lb·ft) while the diesel A200 CDI has 140 hp (104 kW) and 300 N·m (221 lb·ft). This means the car has a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration of 8.0 seconds and a top speed of 218 km/h (135 mph). The new diesel engines use a common-rail direct injection system that reduces fuel consumption, exhaust emissions and noise levels. All the engines comply with tight EU4 emissions limits, providing an additional optional particulate filter for the diesel units to reduce particulate emissions by almost 99%.
The A-Class drives via the front wheels, with traction control (ASR) and electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes (ABS) as standard features. The car also equips precision tracking and anti-roll support, as well as a Parabolic Rear Axle. Handling is improved by a standard "Selective Damping System" - under normal conditions it operates with a soft absorption but increases to full damping force during cornering at speed.
Statistics show that, in 2004, Dr. Joachim Schmidt, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing of Mercedes Car Group, set a goal of reaching 50,000 units sold, which was quickly achieved before vehicles even reached dealer showrooms. By December 4, 2006, the second generation A-Class model had been sold to a total of 371,700 customers, totaling 1,500,000 A-Class cars produced at the DaimlerChrysler Rastatt plant over 10 years. At June 26, 2009, the 750,000th second generation A-Class vehicle rolled off the Rastatt plant, and the 1 millionth A-Class was delivered in February 2012.
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