Twin Cam
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Road test report ----- May 2013 ----- by Kevin Fenix.

Mercedes-Benz A180 CDI

The test car came equipped to Urban specification. The vibrant blue exterior colour was part of the optional extras and is called South Sea Blue Metallic. Inside the sports seats, part of the Urban specification were finished in Crystal Grey and upholstered in ARTICO man-made leather and fabric. The whole combination certainly gave the car a premium quality feel and appearance. Power was provided by a 1,461 cc turbocharged, intercooled, direct injection, Renault diesel engine, driving the front wheels through a six speed manual gearbox. A 1,796 cc Mercedes-Benz diesel is fitted in cars with the automatic transmission. The BlueEfficiency package included an automatic Stop/Start function as standard. The engine was smooth and quiet in operation and delivered 80 kW @ 4,000 rpm, with 260 Nm torque between 1,750 and 2,500 rpm. This provided a potential top speed of 190 kph (118 mph) with 0-100 kph acceleration in 11.3 seconds. Thanks to the BlueEfficiency package, fuel consumption, by EU testing standards is 62 mpg (4.5 lt/100 km on the Urban cycle, 85 mpg (3.3 lt/100 km) on the Extra urban cycle and 74 mpg (3.8 lt/100 km) on the Combined cycle. This gives exhaust emissions of 105 gm/km, putting the car in Irish road tax band A3, with a current annual charge of 190 euro. This new A-class Mercedes thus offers a premium quality feel and appearance, with low operating costs, a formula that should be highly appealing in these stringent financial times. It also comes at a very competitive price. To put that into perspective, it is just over 2,000 euro more expensive than a Toyota Avensis saloon 2.0 D4D I road tested this time last year.

Boy racers may be unimpressed by the overall performance figures, but in everyday motoring, both in city/suburban driving conditions and out on the open road, the C180 is more than able to show the other traffic a clean pair of heels when the occasion demands. Added to its effortless velocity it has good roadholding, which helps to inspire driver confidence. The steering is direct and positive, with 2.75 turns from lock to lock. Overall it provide a high degree of driving pleasure.
In recent years Mercedes-Benz have introduced a lot of electronic safety devices like Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Collision Prevention Assist, Safe Driving Attention Assist and Safe Driving Distronic Plus. While I fully accept that there is a genuine concern for safety in all these systems, I find them to be very distracting. When driving I think that the most important requirement is for the driver to keep his/her eyes and attention on the road ahead. It is difficult enough to have to read an analogue speedometer, without having to look at a whole lot of other distractions and warning lights.
Safe driving Attention Assist is especially designed for long journeys. It operates between speeds of 80 kph (49 mph) and 180 kph (111 mph). Sensors constantly monitor the driver’s behaviour and when it senses a change in driving style that suggests drowsiness, it displays a warning suggesting the driver should stop for a rest and refreshment.
Safe Driving Collision Prevention Assist measures the distance between the vehicle and the one ahead of it and taking into account the speed it is travelling at, it decides if it is a safe distance in the event of an emergency stop arising. If it considers the distance is too small it displays a red warning triangle in the instrument binnacle. During braking the system can apply the pressure needed to prevent a collision if at all possible.
Adaptive Brake Assist has a “dry braking’ function that removes any film of water on the brake disc in wet conditions, thus giving better overall stopping power. The “priming” function places the brake pads on the surface of the discs as soon as the driver removes his/her foot off the accelerator quickly. When moving off on an incline it maintains pressure on the brakes until sufficient pressure is applied to the accelerator to move the vehicle under power. The optional Distronic Plus measures the distance to the vehicle ahead and automatically slows or accelerates the vehicle to maintain a safe distance between the two. It operates at speeds of up to 200 kph (124 mph).

The instrument layout is reasonably clear. It contains two large round analogue dials and two small ones. The instrument on the left is the speedometer and the small one is the fuel level gauge. On the right the large dial is the tachometer and the small one is the engine temperature gauge. Between the two large dials there are two digital information panels. The upper one shows the outside air temperature on the left and the time on the right. Below this the panel shows the trip and total distance recorders, as well as warning signs for things like the Attention Assist.
The small screen in the top centre of the facia shows audio and satellite navigation related information, depending on which system is in operation. Below this there is a panel with a plethora of buttons for a huge variety of systems related to audio and other electronic systems. The small panel below this has controls for the heating and ventilation system. Unfortunately the markings are too small and it is too far below the driver’s line of sight when driving to be seen and used safely by the driver, when the car is moving.
In the modern manner there are additional controls on the arms of the steering wheel for audio and Bluetooth related systems. On the lower right of the facia there is a round selector switch for the lights. If you twist it fully to the left, it switches on the left hand front and rear parking lights. Give it a slight twist towards the top centre and it selects the right hand side front and rear parking lights. In its upright vertical position it selects the automatic operation for the main lights. Between the parking lights position and the automatic lights position, there is a position that switches on all four parking lights for use whilst driving, while over on the extreme right there is a position that allows you to cancel the automatic selection and switch on the headlamps manually. To the left of the lighting switch there is a separate switch for the foglamps, while to the right there is one to set and adjust the headlamp levelling. The single stalk under the steering wheel operates the direction indicators, the main beam/dipped beam selection as well as the washers and wipers. On the right hand underside of the facia panel, there is a push/pull type of switch for the electric handbrake. Push it forwards away from you to apply the handbrake, pull it towards you to release the handbrake.

The Urban pack includes two sports style front seats with built in headrests. They are well bolstered and are reach and height adjustable with adjustable backrests. The rear seat also has two individual places, with ISOFix fittings for child safety seats. The backrest is divided 60/40 and folds down onto the seat cushion to provide additional luggage space when required. Lap and shoulder seatbelts are provided for three adult passengers. The centre section is harder and flatter, so would be less comfortable for an adult passenger over longer journeys.

Above left : Normal luggage space ----------------- Above right : Maximum luggage space

If more space is needed, the technical data says the A180 can carry up to 100 kg on the roof. It also says that it can tow braked trailers of up to 1200 kg and unbraked trailers of up to 695 kg. However, no spare wheel is provided. All you get is a bottle of latex and a plug in air compressor to reinflate a punctured tyre. This can only fix small pin prick type punctures in the tread. It cannot deal with blow-outs or damage to a sidewall, which is a constant possibility with the potholed state of our roads.

Technical data

Overall length ------------------ 4292 mm
Overall width ------------------- 1780 mm (excl. mirrors) ------------- 2022 mm (incl. mirrors)
Overall height ------------------ 1433 mm
Wheelbase ----------------------- 2699 mm
Front track ---------------------- 1553 mm
Rear track ----------------------- 1552 mm
Turning circle ------------------ 11.0 M (kerbs)
Unladen weight ---------------- 1395 kg
Gross vehicle weight ---------- 1960 kg
Max. towing weight ------------ 1200 kg (braked) ---------------------- 695 kg (unbraked)
Max. roof load ----------------- 100 kg
Weight/power ratio ----------- 24.500 kg/kW
Torque/weight ratio ---------- 7.538 kg/Nm
Luggage capacity --------------- 0.341 cu.M (5 seats) ------------------ 1.157 cu.M (2 seats)
Tank capacity ------------------ 50 lts
Type ------------------------------ 4 cyl. SOHC 8v, turbo, intercooled direct injection diesel with stop/start
Capacity ------------------------- 1461 cc
Compression ratio ------------ 15.5 : 1
Injection pressure ------------- 1800 bar
Max. boost pressure ---------- Not available
Bore x stroke ------------------- 76 mm x 80.5 mm
Power ---------------------------- 80 kW @ 4,000 rpm ------------------- Specific output -------- 54.757 kW/lt
Torque --------------------------- 260 Nm @ 1,750 - 2,500 rpm -------- Specific torque ------ 177.960 Nm/lt
CO2 emissions ------------------ 105 gm/km ----------------------------- Specific CO2 ------ 71.865 gm/km/lt
Type ------------------------------ 6 speed manual
Ratios ---------------------------- Gearbox -------------------------------- Overall
1st ------------------------------- 3.94 : 1 ---------------------------------- 14.459 : 1
2nd ------------------------------- 2.04 : 1 ------------------------------------ 7.486 : 1
3rd ------------------------------- 1.09 : 1 ------------------------------------ 4.000 : 1
4th ------------------------------- 0.76 : 1 ------------------------------------ 2.789 : 1
5th ------------------------------- 0.67 : 1 ------------------------------------ 2.458 : 1
6th ------------------------------- 0.59 : 1 ------------------------------------ 2.165 : 1
Reverse -------------------------- 3.12 : 1 ---------------------------------- 11.450 : 1
Final drive ----------------------- 3.67 : 1 ---------------------------------- ***********
Front ----------------------------- MacPherson strut, trailing L-shaped lower transverse arms, 25 mm anti-roll bar
Rear ------------------------------ Trailing arm, short lower forward transverse arm, upper centre transverse arm, long lower rear transverse arm seating coil spring and telescopic damper, 25 mm anti-roll bar
Type ------------------------------ Variable ratio, electro mechanical, power assisted, rack and pinion
Turns lock to lock ------------- 2.75
Wheel diameter ---------------- 370 mm
Type ------------------------------ Servo assisted dual circuit, with anti-lock and Adaptive braking
Front ----------------------------- Ventilated disc ------------------------- 276 mm x 26 mm
Rear ------------------------------ Disc --------------------------------------- 258 mm x 9 mm
Type ------------------------------ 5 double spoke, cast alloy, 5 stud
Size ------------------------------- 7.5J x 17 -- H2
Spare ----------------------------- None
Type ------------------------------ Continental Conti Sport Contact 5
Size ------------------------------- 225/45 R 17 ---- 91V
Spare ----------------------------- None
Top speed ----------------------- 190 kph ---------------------------------- 118 mph
0-100 kph ----------------------- 11.3 secs.
Fuel consumption
Urban ---------------------------- 62 mpg ----------------------------------- 4.5 lt/100 km
Extra urban --------------------- 85 mpg ----------------------------------- 3.3 lt/100 km
Combined ----------------------- 74 mpg ----------------------------------- 3.8 lt/100 km
Coverage ------------------------ 2 years unlimited, 30 years perforation subject to conditions
Service interval ---------------- 25,000 km (15,500 miles)/1 year


Recommended retail price (excluding delivery and associated charges)
Mercedes-Benz A180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY
----------------------- Euro 29,885
Optional extras fitted:
South Sea Blue metallic exterior, Front fog lamps,
Light/Sight pack, Reversing camera,
Audio 20 radio and CD player media interface
Urban pack comprising :
5 spoke alloy wheels, Silver grille with chrome trim,
Twin exhausts with chrome look tailpipes,
Sports instrument cluster, Sports seats,
Leather covered steering wheel.
Cost of extras ----------------------------------------------------------------- Euro 2,739
Total price as tested
------------------------------------------------ Euro 32,624


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