At first glance the changes to the updated A-Class may not stand out, but there's a revised "more arrow-shaped front bumper" while LED headlamps are also available for the first time. The rear sees redesigned lamps, the exhaust outlets are now integrated into the bumper, and there are new wheel designs.
Inside the smallest Mercedes-Benz model has seen an updated instrument cluster "of tubular design", with new graphics and revised switches across the dash. The media screen has been updated with Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink technology, and the screen can also be had in the larger diameter (8.0-inch) size, up from the standard 7.0-inch screen in the current model.
There are also new interior colours and trims, including revised dashboard materials, while the seats now have depth adjustment (by up to 60mm) as standard. As for the appearance, there's the mature sahara beige with black leather which will appeal to certain Exclusive buyers, while others will dig the Style line has new seats with red or green highlights, and there are revised ambient lighting options with 12 colours and five dimming levels.
Mercedes-Benz has also added a new "Dynamic Select" system that it says can alter the vehicle characteristics at the touch of a button. It modifies the engine, transmission and steering behaviour between Comfort, Sport and Eco modes, while there's also an Individual setting that allows a level bespoke adjustment. The system is fitted to all models with the dual-clutch automatic gearbox. There's also the option of adaptive dampers for the suspension.
The updated A-Class is due to arrive in Australia later this year, and while the line-up that we'll see is yet to be confirmed, we would expect it to mirror the current range which kicks off with the A180 petrol, then the A200 petrol and renamed A200d (formerly A200 CDI), up to the performance-oriented A250 Sport and the flagship (and also renamed) Mercedes-AMG A45.
Going through the changes to each specification model by model in the standard A-Class range shows us that there have been some power and efficiency gains, and the 0-100km/h time of all models has been improved by a new "Launch Assist" function for all dual-clutch automatic models (which is the entire current range in Australia).
The A180, for example, still produces 90kW and 200Nm from its 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but Mercedes-Benz claims fuel use (at least on the European cycle) has dropped for the seven-speed dual-clutch auto model sold here, down from 5.8 litres per 100km to between 5.1 and 5.4L/100km. Its 0-100km/h sprint time has dropped from 9.1 seconds to 8.6sec.
The A200 petrol retains its powered-up 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo, which still has 115kW and 250Nm, but it too has seen 0-100km/h improvements (was 8.3sec, now 7.8sec) and a drop in consumption (was 6.1L/100km, now between 5.1 and 5.4L).
The A200d retains its 2.1-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder producing 100kW and 300Nm, and that model still has impressive fuel consumption (previously 4.0L/100km, now between 3.8 and 4.1L). It's quicker, too, with a 0-100km/h claim of 8.8sec (was 9.2sec).
The A250 Sport model (in the three images above) now comes with the option of a six-speed manual gearbox, which could entice some buyers who prefer to take control of the shifts themselves - as you can see above. This isn't confirmed for Australia just yet, though.
That version maintains its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine with a slight power bump from 155kW to 160Nm, while torque remains at 350Nm. As with the rest of the range there have been fuel use and fastness tweaks, with fuel use down from 6.6L/100km to between 5.8 and 6.0L, while 2015 A250 Sport will reach 100km/h from a standstill a bit quicker than its predecessor, now 6.4sec (was 6.6sec).
There's also an all-wheel drive version of the A250 Sport, which is only available with a dual-clutch auto. It uses a little more fuel (between 6.5 and 6.6L per 100km), and matches the same 0-100km/h as the front-drive A250 Sport.
Mercedes-Benz has also introduced a model known as the Motorsport Edition (above and below), which is designed in the style of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 team. This pack is available for the A200 and A200d, as well as the A250 Sport, and features the AMG rear spoiler and alloy wheels, as well as "petrol green" highlights on the front and rear bumpers and the side mirrors (on the A250 Sport).
Inside, the Motorsport Edition also has some petrol green finishes, including the air-vent sleeves, stitching, seatbelts and on the seats, which are finished in black leather and Dinamica microfibre material.
The flagship Mercedes-AMG A45 (below) now gets more power and performance. Its 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder has seen a power bump from 265kW to 280kW, while torque has risen from 450Nm to 475Nm. Read all about the changes to the 2015 Mercedes-AMG A45 in detail.
In terms of safety changes, the Collision Prevention Assist Plus system replaces the existing version with the ability to autonomously brake the car to "reduce the risk of rear-end collisions", where previously it would only warn the driver and offer enhanced brake response. Benz's Attention Assist driver drowsiness system has also been upgraded, and now works between 60km/h and 200km/h.
Daimler board member responsible for sales and marketing for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, Ola Källenius, said in a statement that the pre-facelifted A-Class model range that launched in 2012 saw a "paradigm change in the compact class", and that the updated version.
"The new A-Class was a radical departure from the preceding series. And a successful one: as the most progressive model in the compact class, the model series has done much to make the Mercedes-Benz brand more youthful. With this model facelift we are now meeting the wishes of many customers for even more comfort with no loss of dynamic performance," said Källenius.
Click the Photos tab above for more images of the updated 2015 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.