2015 Mercedes A-class gets digitally developed adaptive damping

We look at the simulator that could transform the next-gen A-class’s ride

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

The next-generation Mercedes A-class will feature an optional adaptive damping system that has been developed using digital simulators. The carmaker claims its state-of-the-art simulators have been pivotal in ensuring the new suspension offers a wide range of settings, which suggests that the 2015 A-class will posses a substantially better ride than its predecessor (pictured).

We sampled the new A-Class’s ride on the outskirts of Stuttgart at Mercedes’s Sindelfingen research and development facility. Located in a dark, windowless room, the ride simulator is made up of just two seats from the new car on a test rig that stands on six electric actuators. The simulator uses data collected from real world driving to simulate ride quality over different surfaces, with a projected video of the route displayed ahead.

While we can’t go into detail about how the next-gen A-Class will perform on road, we can confirm that a prototype has spent 10 weeks on this ride simulator. After this, Sindelfingen’s team can pass the optimum digital settings on to engineers for real-world testing.

‘The configurations are already very developed before we hit the road,’ confirms engineer Wolfram Just during our simulator demonstration. ‘It means our colleagues can start further forward in the development process, shortening the development time.’ 

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Wolfram admits that models like the S-class (a car renowned for its comfortable ride) often take significantly longer to develop. ‘We don’t want to spend so much time on models like the A-class though, because sometimes we can go too far – beyond what is necessary. It’s important to remember that you notice more things on the simulator because you are not hearing the engine, seeing the surroundings. In real life the ride often feels much better when these things are also around.’ 

Mercedes says that the use of a simulator not only speeds up the development process, but also significantly reduces costs, as fewer physical parts have to be made. This is also true for other areas of development. 

Digital crash simulation, for example, doesn’t require any physical cars to be damaged. The first physical car to be crashed is therefore built with the results of hundreds of digital crashes in mind, so it’s much closer to its optimum setup in far less time. It’s interesting to note that even with this more efficient process, Mercedes will still crash test around 250 cars a year.

While we can’t reveal any more about the 2015 A-class, it’s promising to learn that Mercedes has used some of the world’s most advanced simulator technology to optimise its suspension. The standard, non-adaptive damping setup has also benefitted from simulator runs, meaning all models across the range stand good chance of avoiding replication of the old car’s crashy ride. evo readers might be interested to hear that the next-gen AMG A45 has also benefitted from simulator runs, so it too should improve on the outgoing car.

More details will be revealed when the 2015 A-Class is launched early this summer.

Recommended

Mercedes-AMG GT63 S E Performance revealed – 831bhp monster finally arrives
GT63 S E Performance
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG GT63 S E Performance revealed – 831bhp monster finally arrives

It’s taken its time, but AMG has finally delivered a groundbreaking high performance PHEV
6 Sep 2021
Mercedes-Benz EQE breaks cover – EV assault continues with E-class-sized saloon
Mercedes EQE
Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz EQE breaks cover – EV assault continues with E-class-sized saloon

This is Mercedes’ most important EV yet – a new E-class, but not as you know it
5 Sep 2021
Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX flagship teased – 620-mile electric saloon under development
Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX flagship teased
Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX flagship teased – 620-mile electric saloon under development

As Mercedes-Benz outlines its future strategy, we’ve been given our first glimpse of the next step in its EV offensive
22 Jul 2021
Mercedes S-class 2021 review – the ‘best car in the world’ just got better
Mercedes S-class – front tracking
Mercedes

Mercedes S-class 2021 review – the ‘best car in the world’ just got better

It may be slipping out of fashion, but the institution that is Mercedes’ S-class is only getting stronger
22 Jul 2021

Most Popular

2022 Nissan GT-R model year update revealed
MY22 Nissan GT-R T-spec – front quarter
Nissan GT-R

2022 Nissan GT-R model year update revealed

Two new special editions and the return of some iconic colours are the highlights of the Nissan GT-R’s MY22 update
14 Sep 2021
Tesla Model S Plaid breaks EV Nürburgring record – beats Porsche Taycan Turbo
Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S Plaid breaks EV Nürburgring record – beats Porsche Taycan Turbo

Tesla has now recorded a Nürburgring lap time with its Model S Plaid, if that matters
10 Sep 2021
Porsche Macan GTS 2021 review – Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrofoglio rival sharpens up
Porsche Macan GTS 2021 – front tracking
Porsche Macan GTS SUV

Porsche Macan GTS 2021 review – Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrofoglio rival sharpens up

New range-topping Macan GTS proves once again that Porsche can do practical and performance in one car
3 Sep 2021