Mercedes-Benz A-Class Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Sunday 2nd April
Car Review

Mercedes-Benz A-Class review

£23,485 - £55,235
Published: 23 Mar 2023


What is it like to drive?

First thing’s first, the A-Class is not as sporty to drive as it looks. Thus it lags notably behind class-leaders like the BMW 1 Series, or even cheaper stuff such as a Seat Leon.

Quite how plush it is depends on how you spec it. While the A250 had a multi-link rear suspension, that's no longer sold here, and nor can you get adaptive dampers. So the simple torsion-beam rear suspension gets its comfort by losing steering precision.

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What’s the ride like?

At least on the smaller wheel sizes, it is comfortable and relatively quiet. The damping isn't firm enough to staunch body heave if a quick road is undulating beneath you. But preventing that untidiness by easing off the accelerator is a natural reaction in this car.

The steering is well-damped, almost glutinously so, which means it's an easy and relaxing car to drive smoothly though bends. But an unrewarding one. On motorways it sits solid and stable.

Talk engines to me.

The 1.33-litre petrol engine, Renault-designed but Mercedes-built, has reedy sound in the mid-ranges, but revs out quietly. In the A200 it's punchy enough, with a 0-62mph time of 8.2 seconds. Helped by the mild hybrid system, the seven-speed DCT is reasonably responsive.

The A200 d is quiet for a diesel, and has plenty of torque and is well served by the smooth eight-speed DCT. On the other hand, our not-too-quick test drive gave a disappointing 45mpg.

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What about the plug-in hybrid?

The full PHEV version can suffer some messy handovers between its two power units, but as long as you open and close the throttle slowly that usually isn't an issue. The transmission can also make some odd ratio choices in hybrid mode, but maybe that's just its way of trying to save the most fuel by regenerating the motor against the engine as you slow up.

Of course the PHEV is also heavier, by 260kg versus the plain petrol, which further taxes the dampers on undulating surfaces.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Mercedes-Benz A Class A250 Exclusive Edition Plus 5dr Auto
  • 0-626.2s
  • CO2
  • BHP224
  • MPG
  • Price£36,725

the cheapest

Mercedes-Benz A Class A180d [2.0] SE 5dr
  • 0-6210s
  • CO2
  • BHP116
  • MPG
  • Price£25,175

Variants We Have Tested

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