Mercedes Benz A Class Tuning

"Thank you for reading my A Class tuning guide"

When Mercedes needed a compact family car to rival the Golf, A3 and BMW 3 series they came up with the A class.

Mercedes Benz A Classs are popular cars and with the ultimate uprated mods you can certainly enhance your driving opportunities.

The A Class is a good car modification project to carry out. If you do your research then you can create an awesome A Class but don't be fooled there are lots of sports upgrades out there that will simply not suit it read our unbiased guides first.

It has proved very popular and the latest 2013 revision style wise leaves it's competitors cowering in a dark corner.

  • W168; 1997–2004 First generation offered with 1.4, 1.6. 1.9 and 2.1 Petrol engines and a 1.7 Diesel in 2001 it was facelifted with new headlights and bumper revisions.
  • W169; 2004–2012 met the tight emissions regs but the performance model still hit 60mph in 8 seconds. Facelift in 2008 with revised front and rear bumpers and we saw stop start tech introduced.
  • W176; 2013–2018 A stunning design direction change for the A class, the A45 from AMG shows what is possible on this platform giving inspiration to all A Class owners.

The A Class is a good car tuning project to play with. If you do your planning then you can create an awesome A Class but don't be fooled there are lots of modifications out there that will simply not suit it read our unbiased guides first.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for car owners first priority in your A Class tuning project.

Adding some negative camber to the front and a degree or two of toe in to improve stability or toe out for better cornering, will usually improve your A Class in handling and cornering.

We suggest that you fit performance suspension and lower the car by 28mm - 37 mm. Larger drops require arch work - especially on models already equipped with motorsport suspension (ie AMG).

Improving the handling for car owners first priority in your A Class tuning project. Drop the car optimally somewhere in the region of 35mm and fit uprated stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Engine tuning mods.

Turning our attention to the A Class's engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

Spending a little bit of money on the top engine and handling mods should transform your car into a high performance car.

To be completely frank and honest, on the more modest engine sizes you are wasting your time spending money on modifications, so if this applies to you get yourself an engine swap then apply the following mods.


Second generation A class engines


Third generation A class engines


Fourth Generation A class engines


The following sports upgrades are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you get started.

Getting the right modified upgrade kits for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 motor sport mods just don't work well on the road difficult in stop start traffic.

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Best mods for your A Class

  1. Forced induction upgrades - Adding a turbocharger is the most significant way to improve intake air supply, ensuring you are able to use more fuel and make power gains. Although one of the most costly modifications it does provide the largest gains.
  2. ECU Tunes - A tune/remap offers the biggest gains for your investment, aftermarket ECUs, and Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  3. Brake Mods - Enhancing your stopping power needs to be somewhere in your mods list.
  4. Flywheel lightening - a reduced weight flywheel will significantly improve the engines rev changes. But not always a great mod for all A Class engines.
  5. A Class Suspension - Replacing worn bushings and shocks radically improves your A Class handling Adjustable coilovers and better bushings are what is needed here.
  6. Fast road Camshafts are significant power adders, but should always be setup by someone qualified to set them up and some cams are hard to find but you'll probably find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft for you.
  7. Head work - The goals of porting and flowing the head are to get air flowing into the engine while removing flow restrictions and turbulence.
  8. Intake and Sports Exhausts - Please note that on their own these mods won't ADD PERFORMANCE , but they permit you to enhance power after other mods by losing a restriction.

A Class Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include: Alloy wheels, Sports exhaust, Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm), Panel air filter, Engine Tunes/Remapping, Lighter flywheel.

Typical stage 2 mods often include: Power/Sport clutch, Fast road cam, Ported and polished head, high flow fuel injector, fuel pump upgrades.

Typical stage 3 mods often include: Competition cam, Sports gearbox, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Engine balancing, Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger).

Your aim when modding your car should be a nice flat torque range. You want to avoid sending all the torque to be at the top end of the rev range unless you are creating a motor sport car.

The whole point of our guides is to give a starting base of customizing mods and point you in the right direction, our forum is best place to go if you need more detailed advice and tips on your customized car project, the best performance kits and all aspects of modding cars.Fast road cams offer one of the biggest performance gains for your money as far as a single tuning parts goes on a NA (naturally aspirated) engine.

It improves the intake and exhaust durations and pushes up the power if done right. Ideally you'd add other mods and finish up with a reflashed ECU. TorqueCars would caution you not to go with a motor sport cam as this affects the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.When pushing up the power you will need to look at to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

Mercedes used a Supercharger on many engines throughout their range, and with a simple overdrive pulley you can boost the power output significantly. Add in twincharging, or a larger compressor and you can see some really impressive power gains.

Most power losses, flat spots and erratic idling after tuning mods are done can usually be traced to timing or fuelling issues. Uprating the injectors is another beneficial modification and will deliver sufficient fuel. If have increased your fuelling with bigger injectors you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

A Class brake Upgrades

Putting larger brake discs and better performance pads will make for radically improved braking.

Note that some performance friction pads can be noisier and will need a lot of heat before they bite.

In every day driving the brakes are occasionally used, therefore won't be as effective at slowing you up so choose friction pads which work well in daily use.

A Class Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Breathing mods are usually next up. Contrary to popular belief there is often very little if any power gain to be had by fitting an induction kit, they only work well and are recommended after you increase the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

They may add a little peak power but down where you need it the most you get very little benefit if any on smaller engines.

Maximum power gains come from a full induction kit with a cold air feed on heavily tuned engines, this can be sited within an air box but a panel filter should suffice for most applications. TorqueCars suggest you use a panel air filter as these are easy to clean and maintain and generally perform better than paper ones.

Do not go with the widest exhaust you can buy this will reduce the exhaust flow rate - the best exhausts for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Polishing and porting the head will allow you to maximise your air/fuel charge. Leave this to a professional though with a proper flow bench and machine tools A good triple plate fast road upgraded clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never make false economies or ask the standard OEM clutch to cope. Turbo engines are just pleading to be Remapped. You will see massive power gains on most modern turbochaged cars including diesels making a tune/remap one of the most cost effective and massive modifications for your money.

We've also come across some owners experimenting with twincharging conversions and making some very high power gains.

Adding forced induction will see big power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Turbos are generally harder to add than a supercharger. With a turbo the power curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it more challenging to map.

It is easier to map a supercharger because the boost is proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. Alternatively you could fit water injection to cut down knock.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels can help the brakes cool down and are generally less heavy than the steel ones. Large A Class alloys can decrease performance. If you get big alloys you will be changing your final drive ratio.

Although some people have installed larger rims without issues we would stick to a 17 inch rim size as the maximum. 18's and 19's look great on the AMG A45 version, but we wouldn't mind betting that you prefer the handling of 17's to the larger wheels as well as the lower tyre costs.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss A Class options in more detail with our A Class owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Mercedes Benz tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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