Mercedes’ smallest family member gets a complete overhaul with the most striking features situated in the interior.

The previous Mercedes-Benz A-class was a big success. Mercedes’ plan to attract a younger public with the A-Class definitely paid off. Now they want to build on that success with the all-new A-Class. The model we got to test for the week was the A200, the mid-range car at the moment in the petrol division.

Entry-level

The Mercedes-Benz A-class is considered to be the entry-level model into the world of the premium german manufacturer. It’s how most people get their first impressions of the brand. And while the price needs to be kept low to appeal to a broad public, they can’t afford to cheap out and give a bad impression of what might be higher up the pyramid.

Luckily Mercedes managed to do so. The combi-instrument cluster like the one you find on the S-Class and CLS gets its first introduction as an optional item. But in this generation of the combi-cluster, the center console screen gets an upgrade by featuring the ability to use touch as a way to navigate alongside the big trackpad found on the center armrest. This trackpad also fully replaces the rotating knob found in previous Mercedes entertainment systems. It takes a little getting used to but once you get the hang of it, it’s very straight forward.
Another feature the A-Class inherits from the top of the line is the multifunctional steering wheel with the touch buttons to operate your combi-instrument cluster.

These are the two features that really make the A-Class stand out. It doesn’t feel like an entry level product you’re stepping into. Everything looks and feels premium which is very impressive at this price point. Okay yes, you can go and select the crazy expensive options that will land you at a car of around 50k to make it the ultimate A-Class. Things like the Multi-contour seats, premium plus pack, AMG-line and driver assist pack plus. 
But the two options that transform the car really don’t break the bank. And you can argue if you really need all that luxury in an A-Class. Just the fact that you can is seriously impressive.

Make-over

On the outside the car hasn’t really changed as much as it did inside. It’s a progression of the previous A-Class combined with the new styling language Mercedes are going for. Adopting the waterdrop shaped front and rear lights as could be found on the CLS for the first time. Thanks to the new design the A-Class is able to obtain a drag coefficient of only 0.25. This translates into a leader position in the segment concerning aerodynamics.
Multibeam LED’s have also become optional to the A-Class which again showcases how serious Mercedes is by implementing technology into the compact segment.

Most cars these days need the optional sport pack (AMG-Line, S-Line, M-pack) but the A-Class looks surprisingly fresh without. The AMG-line will offer you a more aggresive look if you’re into that but on the outside, the only option you’d really need for the look is the LED lights (which is what cars these days really need).

Star handling?

The A200 is powered by a 1.4L four-cilinder turbo producing 163 hp and 250 Nm and is mated to an optional 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. So plenty enough power for such a little car. It revs and shifts very smoothly as you’d expect and it’s incredibly economical. I managed to average 5.7 L/100 km with a record low of 4.8 on the highway. But weirdly when you had to accelerate hard, it felt like it was barely moving. Don’t get me wrong, it was quick to get up to speed but it didn’t feel like it. The only way you could tell was because the engine didn’t really like to rev so high.
And this is the only ‘downside’ to the A200. The engine is fine but it doesn’t feel as refined as you’d expect from a Mercedes. 

For the suspension, the A-Class uses a lot of alluminium parts to reduce weight, something that’s still new in this segment. 
All A-Classes are also fitted with the Dynamic Select button to adapt the car to your driving style: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual. But we rarely used it in any other mode than Comfort or Eco. The only difference you’re getting in Eco is that the car will roll out like a maniac. It was really impressive to see how the car will just roll with no throttle input. This truly shows how Mercedes nailed the drag coefficient.
There’s not much more to tell about the handling really. It is great at absorbing the rough Belgian roads and feels planted in turns and on high speed. Everything you’d expect from Mercedes’ smallest one.

Is the new A-Class ready to extend its success?

With the new face and added (optional) luxuries, the A-Class is ready to not only continue the success it had but puts it on a whole new level. The car looks and feels premium on the inside as well as the outside. The previous car was aimed at a much younger public and now that younger public can also enjoy technologies that you would normally only find in the S-Class. The A200 powerplant is fine but if you’d want just that little extra Mercedes in the A-Class, the A250 should fullfil your needs but really: it’s no dealbreaker to get the A200. For that kind of money, there is nothing on the market that comes close at giving you the best all-in one package as the A200.