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Mercedes-Benz A-Class

MERCEDES BRINGS ITS 'A' GAME (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class now offers a stronger proposition to buyers in the premium compact segment. Jonathan Crouch drives the fourth generation version.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 92

Mercedes-Benz is a company often portrayed as being deeply conservative, though in fact, no other manufacturer has such a record of innovation. Today, the brand is bolder, more forward-thinking and younger in feel, attributes very much in evidence in this fourth generation version of its smallest A-Class model. This car's now pitched even more directly against sporty premium compact family hatches like Audi's A3 and BMW's 1 Series thanks to key new driving features, plus sharper looks, extra media connectivity and greater efficiency. There's the option of a saloon body style too.

Backgroundword count: 159

Want a case study in how to change brand perception? You're looking at it right here with this fourth generation Mercedes A-Class. This car aims to make this famous marque one that more younger buyers could consider. As before, we're told to regard this A-Class as what the market calls a 'compact premium family hatchback' - in other words, a Focus or Astra-sized car with superior quality and a bit of extra badge equity. It's the kind of very profitable product that all the mainstream makers wish they could sell but which is primarily defined by this car and its two closest competitors, the Audi A3 and BMW's 1 Series. The frumpy first and second generation A-Class contenders didn't really threaten these two rivals in any meaningful way, but this car's MK3 model predecessor really did. With its successor, Mercedes has sharpened up the looks, improved interior space and dialled in a great deal more safety and media connectivity.

Driving Experienceword count: 326

On to engines. In the petrol range, the entry-level A 180 variant is likely to be popular, featuring a 1.4-litre 136hp unit available with either 6-speed manual or 7G-DCT dual-clutch auto transmission. This same engine's offered in the A 200 with 163hp, which manages rest to 62mph (in the manual model) in 8.2s. Next up is the A 250, which uses a 2.0-litre petrol powerplant in a 224hp state of tune, manages rest to 62mph in 6.2s and is only offered with a 7G-DCT auto 'box. Mercedes also offers an A 250e petrol plug-in hybrid variant, which uses a 1.33-litre petrol engine mated to a 75kW electric motor linked to a 15.6kWh battery and offers 44 miles of WLTP-rated electrified driving range. There are three diesel alternatives, all offered only as automatics. The first is the A 180d, which puts out 116hp and uses the 7G-DCT auto gearbox. Next up is the A 200d which has a 2.0-litre 150hp engine. Beyond that lies the top A 220d, which tunes the same unit up to 190hp. The A 200d and A 220 use an 8G-DCT auto. At the top of the range are the two Mercedes-AMG 2.0-litre petrol turbo hot hatch variants. There's the A 35 4MATIC which offers a potent 306hp. And the A 45 S 4MATIC+, which has 421hp. What else do you need to know? Well the suspension is the usual torsion beam rear set-up on most models, but if you go for a variant with 4MATIC AWD, you'll get a more sophisticated multi-link rear set-up. The 'DYNAMIC SELECT' driving modes system is standard, as usual enabling you to tweak steering feel and throttle response. At extra cost, adjustable damping can be added into it. Some of the autonomous driving capability from larger Mercedes models has been built into this one, meaning that, in certain situations, you're a-Class, if appropriately equipped, will effectively be able to drive itself on dual carriageways at cruising speeds.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-62 mph (s):

6.2

10.6

Boot capacity min (litres):

360

370

Combined mpg:

47.1

62.8

Height (mm):

1405

1412

Insurance group 1-50:

19

37

Length (mm):

4436

4455

... and 6 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Compact Family Cars

Performance
70%
Handling
70%
Comfort
70%
Space
70%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
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