This is the 3rd generation Mercedes-Benz A-Class, which in my opinion, is one of the, if not the most significant model(s) that contributed to Mercedes-Benz’s taking of the premium market crown.
What About It?
The 1st generation W168 A-Class introduced in 1997 neither looked spectacular nor like its larger siblings, with its short but tall body; the 2nd generation didn’t mess too much with that formula. But it wasn’t until Mercedes-Benz changed the formula for this 3rd generation W176 that the A-Class became something you’ll notice on the road.
The A-Class went from stumpy to sleek and sporty – longer, wider and most importantly, lower than before. This radical change is also in line with Mercedes-Benz new design language and brought the German automaker a new demographic of buyers – the youthful ones.
The car reviewed here is the A200 AMG Line and is one of 4 variants of the facelift launched in early 2016 (counting the performance-oriented AMG A45) catering to different budgets and preferences. The AMG kit gives A200 sporty-looking bumpers and side skirts as well as 18” AMG alloy wheels. The AMG-style diamond grille with chrome pin pattern, redesigned LED high performance headlights (with adaptive high beam assist) and tail lights and lowered sport suspension give it a more aggressive and dynamic appearance.
With the sleeker profile, the new A-Class is more hot hatch than micro MPV. Headroom has been compromised but it’s wider and longer than the 2nd generation. However, the extra cozy feel of the 3rd generation’s cabin makes seating 3 adults in the rear extremely intimate.
The seats are a combination of Dinamica and Artico leather with red stitching, matching it to the front armrest and door cards. This red stitching and silver accents help break up the monotony of the black interior; the dashboard wears a carbon-fiber finish on its face to add visual texture. Circular air vents, 8” floating color display and a flat-bottomed AMG steering wheel turn what used to be a soccer mom ride into a youthful one. The essential buttons are easy to reach and duplicated on the steering wheel controls. The Dynamic Select driving modes, car’s settings, car computer, telephone, Bluetooth and radio functions show up on the 8″ display and are accessed through the dial on the center console to make life easy. The only drawback is the complicated steps involved in selecting new radio station frequencies, but thankfully this isn’t something you need to do regularly.
The sporty semi-bucket front seats, with memory function, are supportive and comfortable for the most part. There is also a variety of storage spaces, including nettings on the front passenger footwell and boot, as well as the small drawers under the front seats. Rear cargo space is an acceptable 340 liters, large enough for a some grocery bags or weekend excursion luggage. The rear seats split 60:40 to accommodate larger items and the center armrest has access to the boot.
The A200 uses a turbocharged 1.6L 4-cylinder petrol engine that’s also available in the A180, but tuned for more power – 156 hp and 250 Nm of torque. A 0 – 100km/h sprint takes 7.8 seconds, aided by an updated 7-speed 7G-Tronic transmission. Top speed is limited to 224 km/h.
What’s It Like?
The A200 is no powerhouse but it’s no sloth either. The power gets to the wheels smoothly via the dual clutch gearbox ensuring that you still have fun. in the middle of the A-Class pack offered locally so it’s pretty middle ground in terms of power and speediness. Power is applied surely and smoothly to the wheels via the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. The paddle shifters allow for quick downshifts for a more spirited drive. The sport suspension lowers the car by 15mm and helps with stability on winding roads.
However, the stiffer suspension might not be to everyone’s taste especially if you’re tasting a lot of our amazing urban roads. Road roughness does travel to the occupants’ bottoms even at low speeds but it isn’t jarring enough to knock out the dental fillings. There is also some engine and road noise intrusion into the cabin but what’s youth without some noise?
On the bright side, the steering wheel feels good in the hands and it provides good feedback. Dynamic Select (with Comfort, Sport, Eco and Individual modes) allows you to customize the car’s behavior according to your driving mood. The icing on the cake would be rear-wheel drive but icing makes you fat and unable to fit properly in the A200’s seat, so…
Any Interesting Features?
The A200 is equipped with a host of features including Collision Prevention Assist Plus which is an updated system that can autonomously apply the brakes to prevent a rear-end collision if it senses the driver isn’t slowing the car enough. Other features include 7 airbags, Pre-Safe system, Attention Assist, adaptive brake lights, cruise control, Active Parking Assist and rear-view camera. It also comes with Tirefit tire repair kit because there is no spare tire to compromise boot space.
Who Is It For?
As the middle child in the pack (let’s not include the easily excitable AMG A45), the A200 presents the middle ground between the more budget-friendly A180 and the more powerful A250 (powered by a 2-liter turbocharged engine). Thus, the A200 should sits well with most buyers (the young and the young-ish) who want a compact car with looks and some performance, without busting the piggy bank.
The A200 AMG Line is priced at RM 205,888 (on the road without insurance). You can opt for the Mercedes-Benz Agility Financing service which will cost you RM 2,564 a month for a 5-year lease.