Mercedes Benz A 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Sport 2013
As far as reader polls are concerned, the Mercedes A-Class is bang on trend. Its new sleek and aerodynamic appeal gives way to a bit of boot depth but the back seats are certainly realistic. We love the low slung seating position, tactile materials and phone-like centre console; all extensions of a sporty, style-conscious and IT-savvy identity that belongs to the ‘hard work, hard play’ culture. The Mercedes-Benz A200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY SPORT is an attractive choice as a company car or as a privately leased motor especially as it provides 65.7mpg from its unobtrusive diesel engine. Its ride is fairly firm but overall comfort is good and its versatile performance provides a feel-good factor.
A 200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Sport
What`s it like to drive?
Having driven the A180 BlueEFFICIENCY, the Mercedes-Benz A200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Sport and the A200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY AMG Sport back-to-back, the most apparent difference is with the entry-level A180 BlueEFFICIENCY which although very capable and well-engineered, doesn`t feel quite as special. The manual gearbox especially doesn`t mesh well with the car`s sporty image and your raring-to-go attitude gets a little muted when you put your foot down. The cabin is much less sporty and although the driving position is spot-on and te handling inspires confidence it needs the other components to induce a smile. So even though £23,295 price of the Mercedes-Benz A200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Sport is a bit of a leap from the base model`s £18,970, the experiencial difference is also a big jump up. The AMG variant of course is very polished and loaded with kit but with a price of £25,970, you are now in C-Class territory.
The Mercedes-Benz A200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY Sport is happy to be pushed as well as being refined. It can cover the 0-60mph sprint in a decent 9.3 seconds and tops 130mph. The 1.8-litre 134bhp diesel comes with a very well attuned 7G-DCT dual-clutch semi-auto transmission.
What`s the kit like?
The Safety and security of the A-Class is of a very high standard, this is also reflected by its five star Euro NCAP rating. Even the base A180 comes with seven airbags, Attention Assist and a radar-controlled collision-prevention system. Then to help prevent your motor from getting nicked there`s deadlocks and an engine immobiliser.
Cruise control, air-con, powered and heated mirrors, electric windows, i-Pod and Bluetooth connectivity, MP3 and CD function, split and folding rear seats are all standard on the Mercedes-Benz A200 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY. You`ll probably want to pay the extra for Satellite navigation(which is a £495 option) and in our minds is more of a `safety` necessity than a luxury. The alloys are standard but the metallic paintwork costs extra, as do the leather seats.
Compared to the simple but smart technology in the BMW 1-Series and Audi A3 cabins, the Mercedes A-Class is a little behind especially on the graphics front but everything is still easily operable and the quality and style inside the car makes it a very pleasurable place to be. The screen is 5-inches as standard and has pride of place on the dash, making it easy to glance towards. One controller on the centre console manages all of your infotainment options and the steering wheel-controlled automatic gear options make it straight forward to switch between modes.
Should I buy one?
Style-wise it makes the BMW 1-Series look a little odd and the Audi A3 somewhat unimaginative. In fact the brand itentity of the A-Class has completely shifted; its now compact energy and passion as opposed to cleverly compacted space in dowdy packaging as before. When you move up past the base model, the price will start to pinch but you do feel well looked after both in an indulgent sense as well as safety-wise. Fuel economy and C02 emissions are both decent and if you are happy to travel light, you and your passengers can still travel long distances in comfort. Its handling isn`t meticulous but you can still be fairly enthusiastic. Power is always compliant and available and the automatic gearbox is a sound match. There is a bit of cabin noise but it`s unlikely to take the smile off your face and if you are into your gadgets then you`ll notice the other German competitors make theirs a bit more slick. The new A-Class may fit within the category of compact family car but once you`ve got a bulky pushchair in the boot, there won`t be room for much else.
Mercedes desirability is finally being allowed to filter down the chain and it now feels apparent that the A-Class shares the life blood with the brand`s performance marques (this will be made even more prominent when the A-Class based CLA arrives). Fair enough previous generation A-Class models did hold merit for their `unique` and pratical qualities but they never had street-cred amongst young buyers. The B-Class now serves to accomodate the more mature buyer who wants the prestige of the three-pointed star but doesn`t mind forfeiting some of the fun.