Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 Sedan test drive review

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 Sedan. (Daniel Fernandez pic)

A few months ago, when Mercedes-Benz Malaysia unveiled the compact sedan, many found its long specification list impressive as well as the fact that some of the features sitting in the S-Class had been shared with this starter Benz sedan.

Yes, “starter” Benz as this is the lowest-priced Benz sedan (the Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 SUV sells for RM223,000) in Malaysian showrooms.

This is the second generation A-Class sedan as the first generation arrived a few years ago as the Mercedes-Benz CLA and is now called an A-Class Saloon.

This A-Class Saloon was launched with a Cd value of 0.22 and a frontal area of 2.19 m², giving it the lowest aerodynamic drag of all production vehicles worldwide and thereby allowing it to defend the world record of the CLA Coupé.

The A-Class established today’s compact car segment of Mercedes-Benz in 1997 and since then more than six million models have been delivered worldwide.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 Sedan offers great utility. (Daniel Fernandez pic)

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon as the seventh model further expands the range of compact cars from Mercedes-Benz. A logical addition, because with the C, E and S-Class, Mercedes-Benz has more premium saloon competence than most other manufacturers.

The A-Class Saloon offers great utility. That includes above-average shoulder, elbow and headroom plus easy access to the rear. It is at the top of its segment with regard to rear headroom (944 mm).

The boot holds 420 litres and was designed for practical usability. The boot opening is very large with a width of 950 mm and a diagonal of 462 mm between lock and lower edge of the rear window. This allows comfortable loading and unloading of larger luggage items.

Delivering sportiness and luxury

The new Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon has the proportions of a dynamic and compact saloon car with short front and rear overhangs.

The greenhouse which sits far back and the compact rear end lend the vehicle a formal dynamic boost. Thanks to the 457.2 mm wheels and the pronounced wheel arches, the A-Class Saloon has a sporty stance on the road.

The front-end design looks very progressive. Contributing to this impression are the low, elongated bonnet, the slimline headlamps with chrome element, the torch-like daytime driving lights – plus the single-louvre diamond radiator grille with chrome pins (optional), and the central star.

The muscular and sensual vehicle shoulder with a precise character line running below it emphasises the perfectly contoured side volume. The side mirrors sit on the beltline.

The two-part tail lamps underscore the clear rear end that emphasises width. The rear reflectors were relocated to the modular two-part rear bumper. Depending on the selected equipment, this rear bumper is available with a black diffuser or with chrome trim strip and chrome tailpipe tips.

The interior features a modern, avant-garde look. (Daniel Fernandez pic)

Interior revolution

The interior of the new A-Class is completely redefined with its modern, avant-garde look. Mercedes-Benz has taken a completely new approach, revolutionising the compact class from the inside with a new feeling of spaciousness.

The unique interior architecture is shaped in particular by the avant-garde design of the dashboard: The designers completely dispensed with a cowl above the cockpit.

As a result, the wing-shaped main body of the dashboard extends from one front door to the other with no visual discontinuity. The Widescreen display is completely free-standing. The air vents in a sporty turbine look is another highlight.

The 64 colours of the ambient lighting make five times as many colours available than before.

And it is not just the variety that has increased, as the emotive presentation also sets standards in this segment: the different colours are composed into ten colour worlds to allow an avant-garde lighting display with spectacular colour changes.

The 64 colours of the ambient lighting make five times as many colours available than before. (Daniel Fernandez pic)

The new A-Class is the first Mercedes-Benz model to feature the completely new MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience multimedia system, which also ushers in a new era for Mercedes me connectivity at the same time.

As a result, it also comes standard in this Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon. A unique feature of this system is its ability to learn thanks to artificial intelligence. MBUX is customisable and adapts to the user.

Its strengths include augmented reality technology plus intelligent voice control with natural speech recognition, which is activated with the keyword “Hey Mercedes”.

The touchscreen is part of the comprehensive MBUX touch-control concept which is a triad consisting of the touchscreen, touchpad on the centre console and touch control buttons on the steering wheel.

MBUX is a revolution of the user experience in the car. Emotively appealing showcasing features underline the comprehensibility of the control structure and thrill through brilliant 3-D maximum-resolution graphics which are rendered, i.e. calculated and displayed, in real time.

Driving the saloon

From ignition it is quiet. The cabin delivers the same Mercedes-Benz experience that any new Benz driver has experienced. It is well put together and offers entertainment options that will keep drivers from 18-years to 80 years happy.

The engine returns a quiet unassuming note at start up and as you progress along there is little hesitation from the engine.

From standstill if you accelerate hard, there is a second or so of lag and then it breaks loose quickly. The reason for the lag is simply this. This is a just a 1332cc engine. A small compact four-cylinder power-plant which has a turbocharger to get you going when you need to be quick.

This engine is code-named M282 and it is a small capacity petrol engine that is used by both Renault and Mercedes-Benz to achieve the needed low emissions ratings that European nations are insisting from all car manufacturers.

You probably did not know this. Mercedes-Benz and Renault have been working together for some years now in various areas. Plus, a few years ago they decided to further strengthen ties via the joint development of two new four-cylinder petrol engines. This gave birth to the M282 petrol engine.

This compact efficient engine produces an impressive 163ps and has cylinder shut-off when needed. It works with a 7G-DCT transmission. This means that, when compared to the previous 1.6-litre powerplant that was in the older A-Class, the output per litre of the all-aluminium engine has been increased by 25%.

The saloon offers a smooth and easy ride. (Daniel Fernandez pic)

The Mercedes-Benz engine is the brand’s first four-cylinder to feature cylinder shut-off. In the partial load range between 1250rpm and 3800rpm, and depending on the power requirement, the intake and exhaust valves of the second and third cylinder are closed by valve clearance adjustment.

Driving along the highway at 110km/h this engine ticks along smoothly and when you need overtaking power, just drop the accelerator and feel the 1332cc engine working as it gets you up to 180km/h easily.

Yes, we were driving alone and it was late at night, but even with three more adults on board we are sure this compact saloon will keep its driver sensibly entertained.

Final Word

SCENARIO 1: If you need a family sedan with a premium image and you are strapped for monthly instalments, then this saloon is worth a look.

SCENARIO 2: If you are looking for a second car for the house and need to just move the kids to and fro their private school, then this saloon will deliver easily.

SCENARIO 3: If your business forces you to drive a premium car and you rarely take clients out, then look closer at this saloon.

Mercedes-Benz A200 Saloon 1.3 (A)

  • Engine: 4-cylinder inline 16v turbocharged
  • Capacity: 1332cc
  • Transmission: 7G-speed DCT automatic
  • Max Power: 163bhp at 5500rpm
  • Max Torque: 250Nm at 1620rpm
  • 0-100km/h: 8.0 seconds
  • Top speed: 225km/h

This article is powered by DS&F. For more automotive updates, follow DS&F on Facebook and Instagram.