The dreaded elk
Swedish motoring magazine Teknikens Värld has a manoeuvre it likes to call the 'elk test' – a 38mph swerve in the road to avoid an elk (set of orange cones) that happens to be standing in the middle of the road (was put there by some journalists).
The first-generation A-Class failed it miserably. Cue a hasty update to the ESP.
More room in the back?
We're familiar these days with special long-wheelbase versions of cars aimed at the Chinese market – but a limousine version of the A-Class? You can hardly imagine it. Here's the model that started the craze off. And there was loads of legroom in the back, too.
More of the same
The second-generation A-Class was introduced in 2004 – it offered more of the same, but within a larger, slightly classier package. By 1 February 2012, Mercedes had sold a million of them.
Here you can get a good look at what set the first two generations of A-Class apart from rivals – the upright stance and sandwich packaging meant for excellent interior room. It's a shame that buyers weren't quite convinced by the idea – certainly not the young ones that Mercedes was hoping to appeal to.
One step forward, two steps back? The third-generation A-Class was much more conventional in its approach, and was criticised by some for being a little cramped inside.
The grown-up A-Class
Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche says that the A-Class is like an automotive version of Benjamin Button – it's getting younger with every generation. Certainly the latest version of the car promises much sharper looks and some of the fanciest, newest technology that Mercedes can throw at it. Will it do the job it's meant for and attract some new people to the Mercedes brand? The company certainly seems to have a lot of faith in it.