Mercedes-Benz found another niche to explore and turned their entry-level hatch into a saloon car. We wanted to know what it’s like and test drove a fully loaded A200 Sedan.
At around 50 thousand euros –yikes– this A200 Sedan isn’t a cheap car and it certainly doesn’t feel like one. Get inside and you’ll immediately leave the ‘entry-level’ bit of this entry-level Mercedes out of account.
With the addition of the A Sedan, Mercedes-Benz now offers two pretty simular cars with not so different purposes. Its main rival seems to be indoors, the CLA, which makes the A Sedan’s marketing position a bit unusual.
Engine-wise there’s nothing fancy to talk about. The A200 Sedan is powered by a Renault developed 1.3-liter four-cylinder coupled to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. It makes hardly any revs at all whilst driving normal. That’s fine and makes up for comfort, if only the engine was a little more refined. Due to its utterly turbocharged characteristics, it doesn’t seem to put any power down at the lower end of the rev range. Under moderate acceleration, the DCT has the annoying tendency to downshift like a maniac. Even after a minor adjustment to the cruise control speed, it jumps a gear. The DCT is comfortable at speed and performs some silky-smooth shifts, but can be clunky whilst manoeuvring.
As usual for Mercedes-Benz, the A200 Sedan is fitted with a series of driving modes. Although this 1350 kg A-Class felt nicely dynamic from behind the wheel. We found ourself avoiding Sport-mode, the drivetrain being responsible for that consideration. Sadly the 225-wide Hankook tires lost the battle against slip before the chassis did. Generally, the driving experience is good. It’s 163 hp engine leaves enough in reserve for overtakes and combines smoothness with quietness and comfort.
The only downside to its driving characteristics was the driveline. It felt like the engine and gearbox were developed separately. The early shifts didn’t quite fit the engine’s behaviour. Don’t get me wrong! The A200 7G DCT still cuts the mustard, but the engine notably struggles from time to time. Overall we thought this car would be better off with a torque converter automatic gearbox.
Still an A-Class?
The interior justifies the price. This particular A200 Sedan was fitted with some dolorously expensive options, such as Premium Plus, a head-up display and AMG-line. These are three options that represent a quarter (!) of the price before VAT. The A Sedan has some cool technologies at its disposal, augmented reality navigation certainly is one of them.
Its optional wide screens are the party pieces, featuring the easy to use MBUX-system. The screen on the right is a touch screen. It leaves the user to decide on whether to use the touch screen or not, since it can also be operated with the haptic feedback trackpad and from the steering wheel controls. Overall quality is Mercedes-like -Read: very good- for its class and doesn’t feel inferior to any other Mercedes models.
Even its length is comparable to bigger Merc’s, being a mere 20 mm shorter than the C-Class. That results in a bit more space on the back seats and 60 more litres of cargo space than the regular A-Class. Hate it or love it, We rather like the styling. Very “Mercedes-isch”, the AMG-pack compliments or completes it. The shape and attention to detail provide an extremely low drag coefficient, only 0.22: the lowest of any production vehicle.
All in all, the A-Class Sedan is a worthy addition to the line-up -in the hole that wasn’t one. It offers a little more space inside and somewhat more subdued lines than the CLA. The 15.000 euros in options on this particular A200 Sedan is no exigency, as Beau found out earlier, but we liked the added touch of luxury. Especially in this segment.