Mercedes-Benz will launch the facelifted version of the A-Class in India today. The hatch is part of the entry-level luxury car segment, where it competes with the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and the Volvo V40. We put the four cars in a spec comparison to get a better perspective of the vehicles and the value each of these products offer.
As expected, with the sedan body type, the Audi A3 is the largest among the entry-level models available in India. The A3 is almost 4.5 metres long, which is about 100mm more than the BMW 1 Series and the Volvo V40. The A-Class is the smallest of the four, with length measuring just 4,292mm.
However, if space is the primary motive behind looking at the dimensions, then the wheelbase gives a completely different picture. The Mercedes hatchback has the longest wheelbase of the four cars at 2,699mm, and by that acceptable logic should have the largest passenger cabin. Interestingly, the A3 wheelbase of 2,637mm is the lowest of the four; the figures for the BMW and Volvo vehicles are 2,690mm and 2,646mm respectively. In terms of width, all four of them are pretty evenly matched, with hardly any reasons to pick sides.
Since we are talking about luxury cars, the basic features are already covered. Each of these cars have a decent sounding music system with at least six speakers, Bluetooth connectivity and USB / AUX functions. There are also projector headlamps, leather seats, power windows with one touch up function, rain sensing wipers, automatic headlamps and a detailed instrument console.
The V40 hatchback has the best features list with everything ranging from navigation to active parking assist. Even the A3 offers lot of features, but these are only on the top-spec version and the car is available in 10 trims. Rest of the cars are available only in two variants. On the safety front, Volvo and Mercedes offer seven airbags, while the Audi and BMW have six. Traction control, ABS-EBD and related electronics are standard on all of them.
BMW and Volvo offer their respective hatchbacks with only the diesel engine option in India. Mercedes and Audi, on the other hand, offer both the petrol and diesel mills.
The A3 uses the 1.8-litre TFSI petrol engine producing 178bhp and 250Nm of torque. The power figures are comparable with the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, making it the most powerful vehicle in the segment. The Mercedes petrol, in comparison, has a puny power rating of 121bhp and 200Nm from the 1.6-litre unit.
Among the diesel variants, the Volvo V40 is the most powerful with 150bhp and 350Nm available on the tap. BMW and Audi offer identical performance figures of 143bhp and 320Nm; both using the 2.0-litre four cylinder diesel engines. Mercedes has the largest displacement engine, 2.1-litre, but also the lowest figures at 134bhp and 300Nm. The ARAI rated fuel efficiency of the 1 Series, A3 and the A-Class is around 20kmpl while the V40 has the lowest certified rating of 16.81kmpl.
Of the four, only the BMW 1 Series is a rear-wheel drive, while the rest send their power to the front wheels. Only Mercedes offers dual clutch technology with seven-speed transmission; the one on the Audi is a CVT with six steps to provide engine braking. Transmission on both the BMW and Volvo is a torque convertor, where BMW uses an eight-speed unit, while the latter is a six-speed set up. In terms of real world performance, all four are good enough to comfortably cruise at triple digits speeds, yet getting there would vary depending upon the specs.
The Audi A3 has the lowest starting price of Rs 24.56 lakh (ex-Delhi) and also the highest for the top-end diesel Technology variant at Rs 34.06 lakh. Second is the Volvo V40 with D3 priced at Rs 24.75 lakh wherein, the R-Design variant gets additional features and a sporty body kit for Rs 27.70 lakh.
The BMW 1 Series diesel starts at Rs 26.50 lakh, while the Sport line costs Rs 29.50 lakh. We will know the prices of the new A-Class, soon but there won’t be much change with the pricing being in the range of Rs 27.5 lakh to Rs 29 lakh.