OVERVIEW

Goodbye, high-rise oddity, hello lower, wider and more conventional five-door hatch alternative to Audi A3 and BMW 1-Series rivals. Mercedes has at last turned the A-Class into a real contender. Third time lucky, you could say.It’s a good looking design, with a lot going on: rising swage lines, bonnet creases, LED clusters… you certainly couldn’t call it anonymous. It’s especially head-turning with optional big wheels, black glossy bits, pointy ‘Sport’ grille and huge sunroof. It’s just been facelifted, note, but it’s all pretty subtle stuff. Check for review,features & price Merecedes Benz Cars

Beneath it is a fresh front-drive chassis, a broad engine line-up and, says Mercedes, availability of extras you normally only find on a C-Class and E-Class. You can turn your A-Class into a futuristic high-tech utopia, if you have the cash.

EXTERIOR AND LOOKS

Mercedes-Benz cars are known for offering sophisticated interiors and dynamic styling, and the A-Class is not an exception. The vehicle gets a diamond grille with shiny metallic pieces, sharp headlamps with Bi-Xenon projectors, which are covered by a bold metallic rim on one side and LEDs on other side. The long bonnet with aggressive flowing lines adds to its sporty look. On sides, the aggressive character lines and strong belt line that starts from headlamps and ends just above the rear wheels further enhances the overall appeal. The flared wheel arches have been fitted to large and light-weight, multi-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels, while the wing mirrors get integrated blinkers. At the rear, the hatchback has spoiler with an in-built FM antenna and LED tail lamps. The premium hatchback is available in 10 exterior shades including Cosmos Black, Polar Silver, Canyon Beige Metallic, South Seas Blue, Monolith Grey, Cirrus White, Jupiter Red, Mountain Grey, Night Black and Universe Blue.Get Ex Showroom Price of Merecedes Benz A Class in Carzprice

INTERIOR AND CABIN

On the inside, there’s decent space in the rear by hatchback standards, although the sloping roof means the headroom is tight, and the small windows and black insides give it a cooped-up feeling. This back seat certainly won’t offer the comfort you associate with a luxury car, but then this car is meant to pander more to the driver.

The rest of the cabin is just as plush as an E-class, but feels far more modern. The SLS AMG-style triple air-con vents, the free-standing screen for the COMAND interface, the sculpted steering wheel and the chequered-design dials add to the youthful flair. The single-piece front seats are superbly snug, and the knobs, switches and stalks work precisely. The pedals are slightly offset, but this is made up for by the fantastic driving position. However, the steeply-raked windscreen and the small rear window compromise visibility, which is bothersome in traffic and when parking.

Although Mercedes has skipped on electric steering adjustment and even a powered front passenger seat, there’s still plenty of kit; our test car had Bluetooth connectivity, seven airbags, ESP, Bi-Xenon headlamps and USB connectivity. Even the massive panoramic sunroof comes as standard.

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE

No changes have been made to the mechanicals of the 2016 Mercedes A-Class. It continues to be powered by the familiar 2.1-litre, 4-cylinder diesel engine. The oil burner is tuned to pump out 134 horses and 300 Nm of twisting force. Well, the car potters around at city speeds very comfortably and even though the engine lacks excitement, it does excel beautifully in delivering all the torque in an extremely linear fashion. Put pedal to the metal and the A200d will gallop across 0-100 km/hr in 9.04 seconds according to our extensive VBOX tests. Now, this timing isn’t too quick but it isn’t slow either. Get offers & discounts on Merecedes Benz A Class

Thanks to the linear power delivery, you always have enough power on tap but be sure that the motor will lose some of its steam post hitting the 3500 RPM mark. However, the oil-burner redlines at 4800 RPM. Top speed is claimed to be 210 km/hr. The engine doesn’t really like being revved and it delivers the best output when running in the mid range. The A-Class is good for cruising too, what with 100 km/hr coming up in 7th gear at a notch above 1500 RPM. If you’re giving it the beans, then the A200d hits the ton in 4th gear.

The motor is nicely refined but it gets slightly vocal at higher RPMs. The engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox which is very smooth and quick in its actions. The transmission does get a bit confused sometimes though and when you stomp the throttle while cruising, it does take a couple of seconds to figure out what gear to slot in. In D mode with normal throttle inputs, the engine upshifts at a notch below 2000 RPM while in S mode it goes all the way to the redline before upshifting. There are 3 different modes to choose from – Sport, Eco and Manual. The A-Class also has an Eco Start-Stop function which can be turned off manually while in manual mode you can make use of the steering-mounted paddle shifters.

RIDE AND HANDLING

It’s very Mercedes-ish to drive, and we mean that in a good way. The A-Class feels brilliantly solid and expensive – not bulky, just superbly built and cosseting. You’re isolated from the outside world to an astonishing degree. Road and wind noise are near non-existent, the A-Class hushing along like a far bigger, pricier machine. Bumps are absorbed expertly, miles are devoured with relish: as we say, just like a Merc. If you’re after a lithe, snappy rival to the BMW 1-Series, then, look elsewhere: it’s fun to drive, but in its own way. With multi-link rear suspension and quick, accurate steering, the A-Class is a nicely balanced thing to chuck about, but the front tyres run out of grip quickly and the whole experience is a bit remote.

It is very, very quiet though. When we drove the A 200 CDI, a 1.8-litre diesel, we kept bashing it into the rev limiter. Not because the four-cylinder diesel is particularly low-revving, but because it’s so well insulated that you’ve no idea it’s reaching its redline. You’ll be bashing into the red line of the rorty A45 for different reasons…

SAFETY FEATURES

The A-Class luxury hatchback is equipped with a range of safety and security features including seven airbags, ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brake-Force Distribution) and Brake Assist, EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), front and rear fog lamps, engine immobilizer, reversing camera, etc.

VERDICT

The A-Class will open up a niche that hasn’t been present so far in the Indian market – that of the premium hatchback. The most expensive hatchback that has gone on sale in India was the Chevrolet SR-V, and that was too far ahead of its time. The competition has chosen to go the SUV way with the X1 and Q3, which is a more appealing proposition for the Indian consumer, who prefers a “bada gaadi” to a hatchback when it comes to premium offerings. The plant in Rastatt, Germany is running at full capacity – that’s how popular the A-Class is in the markets it is sold. The quality and aura of the three-pointed star will help sell the A-Class in the Indian market, but at Rs 20 lakh onwards, it will remain a niche product.

 

 

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