2012 Mercedes A-Class review
By Ian Lynas, 04th July 2012
A new modern, compact car from Mercedes-Benz bearing the name "A-Class" will take to our roads later this year. The new car couldn't be further removed from the original and goes on sale in December. After having driven some of the models in the range, I can assure you that it is worth waiting for.
There will be five model lines priced from £18,945 supported by two design-led packages, aggressive styling and more powerful engines ranging from 109bhp to 211bhp, with efficient emission figures from just 98g of CO2/km.
My opportunity to try the new A-Class was in Slovenia; a beautiful country with much better roads than I had expected and it proved a perfect location to launch the new baby Merc.
The entry-level model will be the A180 BlueEFFICIENCY petrol and is available with a six-speed manual transmission, comfort suspension, fabric upholstery and Audio 20 CD/radio with 5.8 inch colour display. This is quite an impressive standard package for an entry level model.
The A180 SE, priced from £20,125 offers the distinctive two-lamella grille in the vehicle body colour, comfort suspension, 16 inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, sports seats in a fabric and ARTICO stripe design, Nappa leather steering wheel and Audio 20.
The diesel A180 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY offers 109hp, emits just 98g CO2/km and is the first Mercedes-Benz to produce below 100g/km. The diesel model returns 74.3mpg on the official combined cycle.
The Sport offers a choice of four engine options: A180 BlueEFFICIENCY petrol (122bhp), A200 petrol (156bhp), A180 CDI diesel (109bhp) and A200 CDI diesel (136bhp).
The A200 CDI reaches 0-62mph in 6.2 seconds and returns 65.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of just 114g/km when twinned with the 7G-DCT automatic transmission. Without a doubt I would specify the automatic transmission, it works well in the new car.
Mercedes-Benz has also introduced two AMG-inspired models to complete the range: AMG Sport and Engineered by AMG. The AMG Sport, priced from £23,445 (which I consider great value for money), includes the Dynamic Handling Package with sports suspension, perforated disc brakes and cruise control with Speedtronic, as well as AMG body styling, 18 inch AMG five-spoke alloy wheels, AMG floor mats and door sill panels and chrome highlights.
This sporty variant comes with a variety of petrol and diesel BlueEFFICIENCY engines and has a flat-bottomed perforated Nappa leather sports steering wheel, Alcantra trim with sporty red stitching, sports seats in ARTICO and Dinamica, rain sensors, ambient lighting and Audio 20.
Completing the line-up, the 'Engineered by AMG' model, which will be available with the A 250 BlueEFFICIENCY at launch and the A 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY AMG Sport which will be available in the first half of 2013.
This variant features AMG sports suspension; red brake callipers; 18 inch AMG twin-spoke alloy wheels and 235/40 R18 tyres and changes to the ESP characteristics. Buyers can customise their Sport and AMG Sport A-Class with a further two optional packages: Night and Exclusive. It is worth noting that all engines feature ECO start/stop as standard and in addition to the new six-speed manual transmissions, the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission is also available across all engines too.
Safety equipment includes ESP, Adaptive Brake with HOLD function and Hill-Start Assist, radar-based COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST, which can reduce the risk of nose-to-tail collisions or minimise their effects, in conjunction with the standard ADAPTIVE BRAKE feature. Also included as standard is ATTENTION ASSIST: a system developed by Mercedes-Benz to monitor driver behaviour and warn of signs of tiredness.
I have no doubt that the new A-Class will attract new customers to the brand and is a very complete compact car, built to the highest standards. For the first time, Mercedes-Benz has built a car in this segment which is competitive with rivals Audi and BMW. This is one of the most impressive cars I have driven for a very long time.