The second generation of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class amazes by the fact that, simultaneously, it shows both classic and advanced inspiration. It would be better not to judge it as a typical compact vehicle, because it exceeds in many respects the particularities of the compact class. The price range is one of these. On the other hand, the Mercedes A-Class has the defining characteristics of compact cars in terms of overall dimensions, transverse engines and native front-wheel-drive. The large number of versions of this model series doesn’t make the choice easier either. The interior of the latest A-Class simply can’t find its match inside the compact class concerning the refinement of the design and the quality of the materials. Indisputably, it offers the most noble ambiance you could expect from this kind of car. There are some other premium compact vehicles around (Audi A3 or BMW 1 Series) offering a pretentious interior design, yet the luxury touch inside the Mercedes A-Class is much more substantial. A real threat for it might appear only if Bentley or Rolls-Royce would come up with some compact cars of theirs. It is impossible not to be impressed by the panoramic panel on the top of the dashboard including two big high-resolution screens: the instruments display and the multimedia touchscreen. All around them, there are fine details with metallic aspect and decorative surfaces with very pleasant finish and texture. It feels so good to be inside the A-Class that the limits of the interior dimensions will not be explicitly noticed. In fact, the sitting conditions in the front are comparable to those of a mid-size sedan. In the back, there is enough space for two passengers to sit quite comfortably. Thrust
Under the hood of a fourth-generation Mercedes A-Class there always will be no more and no less than four cylinders. The engine displacement gap between the basic and the top version is far from being huge: the smallest engine has 1.3 liters, the biggest has 2.0 liters, and all of them have turbocharging. Yet, in terms of performance, there are enormous differences. The sporty A 45 S (421 PS) is almost as powerful as four A 160s (109 PS). In fact, the AMG-signed versions are surprisingly numerous, we can count three of those: A 35 (306 PS), A 45 (387 PS) and the already mentioned A 45 S. Easy to notice, all of them are kind of superheroes of the GTI segment.
The A 200 (163 PS) or the A 250 (224 PS) would be a more convenient choice for the current driving necessities and they are fast enough (in fact, the A 250 has a pronounced sporty accent). There is also a plug-in hybrid version, the A 250 e, rated at 218 PS. This one employs the 1.3-liter engine seen on the A 180 (160 PS, in this case) and an electric motor (102 PS). Its electric range is evaluated at 74 km according to WLTP.
The diesel section includes three versions to choose from: A 180d (116 PS), A 200d (150 PS) and A 220d (190 PS). This type of engine is still interesting because of its good torque characteristic and good fuel economy. The A 220d has a really convincing response when pushing the right-side pedal. The 4Matic AWD transmission is available for the A 200, A 250 and the A 220d. All the AMG versions have the all-wheel-drive as a standard feature.
Not the bargain kind
Price spectrum for the complete A-Class range: from 27.970 euros (A 160, Germany) to 63.457 euros (A 45 S, Germany). An A 200 could be yours for at least 32.231 euro (Germany, again).
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class can be ordered in no less than four body styles: hatchback, sedan, four-door coupe (CLA Coupé) and a sporty station-wagon (CLA Shooting Brake). Don’t count too much on the practical side of the CLA Shooting Brake, this version is rather a specific lifestyle design. Yet, the A-Class sedan might be attractive for those who would not like to pay the price of a C-Class mid-size sedan, meanwhile being ready to accept the interior dimensions of the A-Class.
Time to summarize
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class offers very silent and comfortable travelling conditions. In terms of advanced technology, equipment and safety, it’s virtually impossible to find a match for it in the compact class. The list of optional features is overwhelming and here comes a catch: their high prices might surprise you. Final consideration of the chapter: before paying the money, pay a special attention to the choice of the optional things.
For instance, we think the all-wheel-drive system should take precedence over an expensive leather upholstery, any exclusive decorative elements or some very special set of wheels. This is the kind of car that looks and feels great anyway, but it is important to get the very best of it also regarding the dynamic behavior, roadholding and stability.
Does a luxury item have to show dominating proportions? The Mercedes-Benz A-Class gives a negative answer to this question and it is a totally pertinent one. The noble character of the model is present in all its finely harmonized details, from the flattering finishing materials to the effortless-like performance of the propulsion systems, passing through the unique neoclassical imprint of its design. The brand’s reputation regarding reliability is also very good. Feeling ready to pay for something like this?