Merc’s hot, refreshed A-Class in SA

2016-02-09 06:00
PHOTO: sourced The petrol Mercedes-Benz A200.

PHOTO: sourced The petrol Mercedes-Benz A200.

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SECOND chances - some prevail and others fail hopelessly. Mercedes-Benz, the world’s second largest luxury automaker, has given its smallest car, the A-Class, a mid-life rejuvenation.

The A-Class was radically redesigned in 2012 when the third-generation was pitted against the Volkswagen’s Golf, Audi’s A3 and BMW’s 1-Series.

This year, Mercedes attempts to iron out some issues its popular hatchback suffers from - it’s no secret that the ride on the pre-facelift car was like driving on pointy boulders.

In its haste to market a vehicle aimed at a younger audience, the automaker, known for its pillow-soft ride quality, failed to give its A-Class a comfortable suspension set-up.

Mercedes offered its full range of A-Class units, comprising three petrol and two diesel derivatives.

The petrol A200 (115kW/250Nm) and the A250 Sport (160kW/350Nm).

The A250 (160kW/350Nm) is rapid enough to keep up with the hot hatch brigade (the benchmark Golf GTI) - a 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.3 seconds is claimed. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on the base A200.

The Dynamic Select button, on the lower section of the dash alters driving characteristics such as engine, transmission, suspension, steering. It has four driving modes, Comfort, Sport, Eco and Individual.

The A220d and the A250 Sport models are equipped with dynamic select as standard. While on the A200 and A200d the driving modes system is optional.

Dynamic select gives access to broad range of settings in combination with the new suspension with adaptive damping (optional).

The diesel engines are impressive because of the oodles of low-end torque, although they are sluggish in comparison to the petrol siblings, for the majority of buyers, who won’t drive them in Sport mode, the A200d (100kW/300Nm) and A220d (130kW/350Nm) are composed and comfortable along the test route.

The optional seven-speed dual-clutch box is smooth in traffic and pairs well with the engine. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on the base A200d.

The optional infotainment LCD screen is now 20cm, a tad larger than the one it replaces.

The infotaintment menu can be accessed via a rotary dial on in the middle of the cabin, it’s intuitive and easy to navigate. With myriad of options available, Mercedes has added beige-black leather seats as part of an Exclusive style package and a new seat design with red or green highlights in the Style-line package.

- Wheels24.

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