Mercedes has chosen to price its entry-level A-Class at £18,945, almost £1,000 lower than Volvo’s impressive new V40 which joins the premium small hatch segment dominated by BMW’s 1 Series, Audi’s A3 and the class-defining VW Golf GTI.
With five model lines, including Base, SE, Sport, AMG Sport and Engineered by AMG, the range starts from £18,945 for the entry-level A 180, rising up to £28,775 for the 208bhp A 250 BlueEFFICIENCY Engineered by AMG.
With three of the five available variants bearing a ‘sporting’ label, you’ll be pleased to hear that the all-new A-Class includes such standard features as twin exhaust pipes, 17″ bi-colour 5-spoke alloys and a Nappa leather covered steering wheel.
Somewhat surprisingly the Sport model is fitted with comfort suspension, so if you’re seeking the most dynamic A-Class then you’ll need to look at one of the ‘AMG Sport’ or ‘Engineered by AMG’ variants. With these you’ll be offered either the Dynamic Handling Package with sports suspension (AMG Sport) or AMG sports suspension (Engineered by AMG), perforated disc brakes (AMG Sport) and red brake callipers in the Engineered by AMG variants.
Petrol engines on offer include a 1.6-litre with either 120bhp in the A 180, or 154bhp in the A 200, whilst the 1991cc A 250 sports 208bhp. Diesels include a 108bhp 1461cc in the 6-speed manual A 180 CDI or 108bhp 1,796cc when fitted with Mercedes’ 7G-DCT 7-speed automatic. The 134bhp 1,796cc powers the A 200 CDI in either Sport of AMG Sport guises.
The A 220 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY AMG Sport will be joining the range in Spring 2013 (automatic transmission only).
Performance of the current range-topping oil burner (A 250 CDI) is surprisingly brisk with 0-62mph covered in 6.6 seconds, a combined figure of 44.1mpg with CO2 emissions of just 148 g/km when twinned with the 7G-DCT automatic transmission. Expect the range-topping petrol variant (A 250) to accelerate from 0-62mph in less than 7.0 seconds.
The all-new A-Class goes on sale in the UK from December 2012.