What I have learnt with business is that you have to take the risk by jumping off a cliff and building the plane on your way down. If you are looking for perfection, then you will never build anything worthwhile. When you are building something that hasn’t been built before you will make many mistakes and you will learn from them as well. Another thing that I am learning since the inception of Marvin is that you get people who still remember the first time I spoke about the idea and they are part of the growth journey. People invest in you before they invest in your business, they have to like you first then its easier to consume any products you supply.
With that being said, the new A-Class is no different, I love the design story of the A-Class and decisions that were made to change this segment. The target market was always women, but the first design was ok and not quite inspiring, the shape as well didn’t make you want to buy the car. Then the design team went back to the drawing board to design a car that would make sense to the younger female audience – mainly the young professional. I remember that there was a rumour with regards to what inspired the shape and even the little details of the car; that even the glove compartment was designed in such a way that if you had longer nails it wouldn’t be uncomfortable to open. I neither confirm nor deny this rumour.
After a shoot for Conversation with Marvin, I rushed to the airport to catch my late flight to Cape Town. Since I was on the late flight, I skipped dinner and went straight to check in at the Radisson Red Hotel. I have been to the Radisson before, but this one is different, it’s a hotel yes but there is no reception and the foyer looks more like a restaurant than a hotel lobby. I was intrigued, there was a lady that helped me to check in, but also told me that I could check in with an app. Radisson Red is designed for Millennials and then it started to make all the sense in the world why Mercedes Benz chose this hotel for the launch of the new A-Class. The target market for the new A-Class would completely understand it and because it’s convenient as well. At the moment Mercedes Benz is offering two engines the A200: 1.3-litre turbo with 120 kW and 250 Nm. It can do 0-100 kph in a claimed 8.0 seconds. The A250: 2.0-litre turbo with 165 kW and 350 Nm. It can do 0-100 kph in a claimed 6.5 seconds. In terms of consumption, the A200 is claimed to consume 5.2 – 5.6 L/100 km, while the A250 is claimed to use between 6.2 and 6.5 L/100 km.
The new A-Class feels like what success looks like when you are from the hood or the rural areas. It’s new and the technology for it so forward thinking, it gives a glimpse of what’s possible with technology. Since the return of the A-Class after the previous generation, with a fresher design and a clear target towards women, there is nothing really different to this model, this one is just better looking and offers much more with regards to the drive and technology. The interior is the one, it makes sense and how everything is positioned is just perfect and I love the LCD screen they have for the dashboard and navigation. The navigation screen is a touch screen which makes sense because everything we have right now is a touch screen. I am currently driving the A200 with an AMG package and I am enjoying the drive, I am impressed with the fact that I haven’t used the key to lock or unlock the car since its arrival. The key stays in my left front pocket and I just lean towards the car and it locks or unlocks. The car is very low in terms of suspension so it’s not an ideal car to take back home to the rural areas where the roads are bad. Mercedes Benz has the touchpad that helps you navigate, although it is sensitive to the touch, it’s helpful with navigating through different features of the car.
Mercedes Benz has comfort and luxury on lockdown and you enjoy being inside their cars which is great because it is one of the places you spend plenty of time in. The technology in the A-Class will also be introduced to other models such as the C Class and rest of the models. When it comes to technology around this market the A-Class has definitely changed the game, oh and you can also play around the “Hey Mercedes” voice command which is something to show off with to impress others who don’t drive Mercs. The Mercedes-Benz A200 will cost you R499 000 while the A250 will start from R593 300.
Writer: George Gladwin Matsheke Photographer: Tshego Mmahlatji