Mercedes-Benz A-class is a family of compact cars. To date A-class is the smallest model in the range of vehicles produced by Mercedes-Benz. The first car of the Mercedes A-Class (W168) was released in October 1997, when Mercedes-Benz has challenged competitors, who had shared the spheres of influence of compact cars. The overall design and layout sharply distinguish this car from the other contenders. Double bottom made Mercedes A-Class unusually high (1.6 m), although the length is 14 cm less than the Volkswagen Polo. The internal volume of the body is the same as the Ford Mondeo and BMW 3-Series.
The design of vehicles of Class A was based at the concept of a "sandwich," which includes the location of engines partially under the passenger compartment, so that the head-on collision engine block and gearbox not move in the direction of the cabin, but slips on a sloping front part of a body. Due to this, the A-Class offers a high level of security. The new location of engine and transmission significantly shortened the engine compartment. As a result, for the interior and luggage compartment uses 70% of the overall length of the car. This figure is significantly higher than other cars up 3,6-4 m. The magnitude of the internal space of A-class says that, for example, the distance between the rear seat and pedals corresponds to a more luxurious S-class. The rear seats can be installed in 36 different positions. They can be easily removed and quickly turn A-class of 5-seat into 4 -, 3 -, 2 - or 1-seater car. Depending on the option of rear seat luggage space of A-Class can be from 350 to 850 liters. When removing the front passenger seat total net volume increases to 1,700 liters. That fits the volume of large station wagon.
Mercedes A-Class is equipped with two new four-cylinder gasoline engines of 1.4 liter capacity of 82 hp (A140) and 1.6 liters with 102 hp. In 1998, it added two ultra-modern turbo-diesel direct injection system Common Rail and four valves per cylinder. The first of these (160 TD) has a capacity of 60 liters. The power of the second is 1.7 liters (170 TD) with inter-cooling system and 90 hp.