Mercedes A-Class 1997-2004 W168

Mercedes A-Class 1997-2004 W168

    Common Faults


    Guide Price £ TBC

    Automatic Transmission – The 5-speed automatic transmission in the first generation Mercedes A-Class is known for premature failure.


    Guide Price £ TBC

    Semi-Automatic Transmission – The clutch-less 5-speed semi-automatic transmission has been known to experience early clutch wear, as well as electrical issues with the shifter.


    Guide Price £ TBC

    Diesel Engine – The common rail injected (CDI) 1.7 litre diesel is known for early failure of the glow plugs and fuel injectors.


    Guide Price £ TBC

    Starting – It’s common to see starter failure on the first generation Mercedes A-Class, along with ignition coil failure (petrol models).


    Guide Price £ TBC

    Power Steering – The power steering pump, along with other parts of the steering system, are known for early failure.


    Guide Price £ TBC

    Cracked Fuel Filler Neck – On petrol models, the pipe running from the fuel cap to the fuel tank can crack, leading to a fuel leak.


    Guide Price £ TBC

    Electronic Problems – It’s common for owners of the W168 to experience various electronic related problems. Some of these faults can be traced to issues with the ECU, air flow sensors and the alarm system.





    No recalls to report. Please let Star-Tec Engineering Ltd know if one has come out that we have not shown.


    Model Types


    The first generation Mercedes A-Class was initially available as a short wheelbase 5-door hatchback. But in 2001, a long wheelbase version was added to the range, bringing a meaningful 170 millimetres of additional rear legroom. This mid-cycle refresh also included a new front end design and new interior parts.


    Trim Lines & Engines


    The W168 Mercedes A-Class was available in the following trims:


    Classic – Standard ABS, heated electric mirrors, dual airbags, side airbags, electric front windows, remote central locking, an alarm, and traction control.


    Classic SE – Added air conditioning, body coloured bumpers, CD player, a full size spare tyre, and an adjustable steering column.


    Piccadilly – Added alloy wheels and metallic paint.


    A+ – Value pack with some added kit.


    Elegance – Added electric rear windows and special trim.


    Avantgarde – Optional sunroof, standard leather seats.


    Avantgarde Autumn – Built to suit options. Each one is likely to be different.


    Evolution – Fully loaded, 140 bhp engine.


    The W168 Mercedes A-Class can be found with one of these four petrol engines and one diesel:


    1.4 litre petrol – 82bhp

    1.6 litre petrol – 102bhp

    1.9 litre petrol – 124 bhp

    2.1 litre petrol – 140 bhp

    1.7 litre diesel – 95 bhp


    Transmissions were available in the following choices: 5-speed manual, 5-speed automatic, or clutch-less 5-speed semi-automatic.


    Model History


    The Mercedes A-Class was designed to give younger buyers an affordable way to join the Mercedes-Benz family. It offered the same practicality as a 5-seat supermini, along with a heavy dose of style and panache. Daimler spent nearly £1 billion developing their new entry level car, and it promised to be one of the safest small hatchbacks on the road. But no matter how clever the new Mercedes A-Class was, it was nearly undone before it went on sale.


    Shortly before its UK launch, a Swedish car magazine decided to film the new A-Class doing an emergency manoeuvre called the “elk test”. It was designed to simulate an emergency situation where you would have to swerve to avoid hitting a giant elk in the road. Unfortunately, the baby Benz flipped over, causing a PR disaster. This forced Mercedes to spend another £110 million redesigning the suspension. They added lower profile tyres, lowered the front and rear suspension, gave it a wider rear track, new shocks and electronic stability control (ESP). This resulted in a more stable A-Class at speed, and restored public confidence in the brand.


    With all the safety measures sorted, buyers could finally focus on what made this little car so unique. Ironically, the tipsy Mercedes W168 used one of the most advanced safety structures of the time. This “sandwich” platform located the drivetrain below the passenger compartment. In the event of a frontal collision, the engine would slide beneath the floor of the passenger compartment to keep the bulky engine from intruding inward. It also provided a high-up driving position, more interior room and a flat-load floor. Owners could easily remove the rear and front passenger seat, allowing them to carry large items in the surprisingly cavernous space. The rear seats also had flip-up child booster cushions, making the W168 Mercedes A-Class an ideal choice for a posh little family car.




    W168 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

    Model Years: 1998 – 2004

    Class: Supermini

    Body Style: 5-door hatchback

    Drive Wheels: FWD

    Seating: 5

    Wheelbase: 2423 mm (SWB) / 2593 mm (LWB)

    Total Length: 3606 mm (SWB) / 3780 mm (LWB)

    Width: 1719 mm

    Height: 1587 mm





    1.4 litre petrol – 82bhp

    1.6 litre petrol – 102bhp

    1.9 litre petrol – 124 bhp

    2.1 litre petrol – 140 bhp

    1.7 litre diesel – 95 bhp





    5-speed manual

    5-speed automatic

    5-speed clutch-less manual


    For information regarding our servicing options, please visit the Mercedes servicing page.

Services & Guides





Opening Hours


Mon-Fri 8:30 - 18:00

Saturday 8:30 - 13:00

Sunday Closed

Startec House, Unit 1 Davis Road, Chessington, Surrey, KT9 1TT | Company No: 07087762 | VAT No:153979467

Find Us


Telephone 020 8397 2666

Mobile 07985 675 038


facebook icon google plus icon
Mercedes A-Class 1997-2004 W168
mercedes servicing epsom
Mercedes A-Class 1997-2004 W168

Mercedes A-Class 1997-2004 W168