Baby Mercedes now with added punch and tech
Having managed to rectify the criticisms that plagued the first two generations of its A-class hatch, Mercedes-Benz has now afforded its entry-level model a mid-life refreshment with the additions of new tech and revisions underneath bonnet.
On sale locally since 2013, the third generation A-class, which continues with the internal code designation W176, now borrows a number of styling hints from the bigger C-class with exterior enhancements consisting of a reshaped front bumper, new taillights, dual exhausts integrated flush with the rear bumper, and optional performance LED-daytime running lights.
Inside, the changes are more noticeable with a new twin-tube instrument cluster, bigger free standing infotainment display that now measures up to eight-inches, upgraded trim and fabrics, new steering wheel and a choice of 12 ambient lighting colours.
Underneath the skin, the biggest change sees the A-class adopting Mercedes’ Dynamic Select chassis control setup, which recently debuted in the GLE coupe.
Available as standard on higher-spec models as well as the fire-breathing AMG-A45 4Matic, the system offers a choice of four settings; Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual, that changes throttle responses, damping, gear shifts and steering feel depending on preference.
In keeping with the same model designation used in Europe, the A-class can be had in choice of three trim lines, Style, Urban and Sport, with a choice of five engines and two transmission options. As before, a wide range of optional styling and comfort packages allows each A-class to be specced accordingly.
Starting off the range, the base A200 remains unchanged with power still coming from a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine that makes 115 kW and 250 N.m of torque. A six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch box sends the grunt to the front wheels, with fuel consumption being rated at 5.5 L/100 km and 5.1 L/100 km respectively.
Completing the petrol range, and again available in range topping Sport trim only, the A250 continues to make use of a 2.0-litre turbo mill, but with a five kilowatt bump in power for a total of 160 kW and 350 N.m of torque. Mated solely with the dual-clutch box, top speed is rated at 240 km/h with the 0-100 km/h sprint taking 6.4 secs.
Diesel power also comes in the form of two engines with the base A200d again making use of a 1.8-litre unit that produces 100 kW and 300 N.m of torque. Transmission choices mimic those of the A200 with Mercedes claiming a miserly low fuel consumption figure of between 3.8 L/100 km and 4.1 L/100 km.
Capping the diesel range off, the A220d also receives a five kilowatt power increase with the amount of twist being rated at 130 kW and 350 N.m of torque. As with the A250, only the dual-clutch box is offered with 0-100 km/h taking 7.5 secs and top speed reaching 224 km/h.
Rounding the A-class range off, the AMG-A45 receives reprogrammed gear ratios and upgraded aerodynamics, but remains mechanically as is with the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine still producing 280 kW and a mammoth 476 N.m. of torque. Power goes to all four wheels through the seven-speed dual clutch box with Mercedes claiming a 0-100 km/h sprint of 4.2 secs, and limited top speed of 250 km/h.
A six-year / 100 000 km maintenance plan is standard across the range.
|A200||115 kW / 250 N.m||R389 200|
|A200 7G||115 kW / 250 N.m||R407 200|
|A250 Sport 7G||160 kW / 350 N.m||R491 500|
|A200d||100 kW / 320 N.m||R419 900|
|A200d 7G||100 kW / 320 N.m||R437 900|
|A220d 7G||130 kW / 350 N.m||R460 100|
|AMG-A45 4Matic 7G||280 kW / 475 N.m||R683 600|
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