This model is the third generation car, codenamed W176, and introduced in late 2012 ...
This is where the Mercedes-Benz range starts. The A-Class kicks off the car line-up of the world’s oldest motor manufacturer. It is a svelte, relatively small car that nonetheless has quite a high price tag thanks to that three-pointed star on the bonnet. The Mercedes emblem is one of the most readily recognised brand badges in the world, and it guarantees a level of quality that does not come cheaply.
What a long way the A-Class has come since its early days in the late 1990s, when the first generation model, codenamed W168, appeared as a tall car on a relatively short wheelbase and promptly earned infamy as the car that failed the ‘elk test’. Subjected to a sharp avoidance manoeuvre that tests stability, steered sharply around a large obstacle in the road, the first Merc A rolled over, and was subsequently withdrawn temporarily from sale and re-engineered.
It was not Mercedes’ finest hour, but the A-Class has come a very long way since then. This model is the third generation car, codenamed W176, and introduced in late 2012. Although engineered in Germany and also built there, it was designed by a Brit. Coventry-trained Mark Fetherston was in charge of external design and gave the current car a much more stylishly svelte look than its rather dumpy predecessor.
The Mercedes-Benz A –Class comes with a 1.5 litre (109 bhp) or 2.1 litre (136 or 170 bhp) diesel engine, and a 1.6 (122 or 156 bhp) or two-litre (211 or 360 bhp) petrol engine. Trim levels are SE, Sport, AMG Sport, Engineered by AMG, or full AMG trim levels. Transmission choice is six-speed manual or seven-speed twin-clutch auto.
Prices start from £21,965 for an A180 CDI ECO SE and rise to £38,190 for a range-topping A45 AMG 4MATIC.
All versions of the A-Class have good levels of performance, with 118 mph top speed and 0-62 mph in just over 11 seconds from the base model in the range with a 109 bhp diesel engine. The test car is from higher up the range, a two-litre petrol model with Mercedes’ seven-speed dual clutch auto transmission. It is a quick performer, capable of more than double the British legal limit and with a very rapid 0-62 mph acceleration time.
The cars are quite fuel-efficient, with a combined economy figure in the 70s-mpg and a CO2 figure of 92 g/km in the lowest-powered diesel version, while the test car’s 42 mpg and 154 g/km of CO2 is acceptable for the level of performance on tap.