Jul 25, 2008

Mercedes A-Class gets stop-start (finally)

Following hot on the exhaust of Citroen and BMW, Mercedes is jumping on the stop-start bandwagon. The luxury car maker's new A150 and A170 compact cars will come equipped with 'ECO start-stop', a spot of technical wizardry that automatically stops and restarts the engine when you flick into neutral.

Like Citroen's C3, all the technology is invisible and you won’t have to panic about restarting the engine when the traffic lights go green. Elsewhere on the car, tweaks to the diesel engine, aerodynamics and weight knock the A150's overall CO2 emissions per kilometre down 12 per cent on the old version.

That's not a bad improvement. Despite the step in the right direction, however, the A150 still comes out at 139g CO2 per kilometre. That's well above the new discounted bands for vehicle excise duty and above the EU's green target of 130g CO2 by 2012.

Mercedes is also keen to tell us it's looking at the overall eco lifecycle impact of the A-Class series, rather than just high MPG and low CO2. As such, its new cars will be the first to carry the ISO 14062 badge. Yes, I had to look it up too. Officially, it means Merc has been "integrating environmental aspects into product design and development." The overall ISO 14000 eco management standards are well respected, so this move's definitely worth a thumbs-up.

To buy a new A150 and A170, put spring 2009 in your recycled diary.

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