High spec but low cheque

DAVE FALL pokes around the stream­lined new A- Class and finds this is no mom’s taxi no more

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

FOR 2016, the A- Class range from Mercedes- Benz has been pared down to just five of­fer­ings for the South African mar­ket­place, sim­ply rep­re­sent­ing some­thing of a “nip- and- tuck- job”, if you will.

Let’s be hon­est — why change some­thing if it works?

Back in 2012 Mercedes- Benz de­cided to rad­i­cally re­design the sturdy look­ing, but rather boxy* out­go­ing A- Class to some­thing that un­de­ni­ably brought the com­pany much- needed ku­dos in the de­sign stakes; open­ing up a whole new chap­ter in the bur­geon­ing compact seg­ment right around the globe.

From the front this lat­est ver­sion fea­tures a long, sporty front and pro­nounced V- shape bon­net and sep­a­rate head­lamps, the ra­di­a­tor grille with cen­tral Mercedes star fea­tures twin slats to ei­ther side of the star, as well as the ad­di­tional air in­takes.

Like I said ear­lier, just a tweak here, a tweak there …

There are two diesel and three petrol vari­ants now up for grabs in the all- new range: A200d ( 100 kW/ 300 Nm), A220d ( 130 kW/ 350 Nm), and the A 200 ( 115 kW/ 250 Nm).

The 250 Sport ( 155 kW/ 350 Nm) and Mercedes- AMG 45 4MATIC ( 280 kW/ 475 Nm) are the petrol de­riv­a­tives with prices rang­ing from R419 200 through to R683 600.

Man­ual trans­mis­sions are of­fered in most of the above de­riv­a­tives, but the 7G- DCT auto ’ box, as M- B like to call them, is sim­ply su­perb — it would def­i­nitely be my choice.

As you might imag­ine the stan­dard spec lev­els fea­tured boast in- fi­nite crea­ture com­forts, but as ever car man­u­fac­tur­ers would like you to “cus­tomise” your pur­chase to some de­gree at least! For exam- ple, should you fancy a panoramic sun­roof, it’ll cost you R12 500 for the priv­i­lege; metal­lic paint R2 600, four- way lum­bar sup­port R4 000 — a re­verse cam­era an­other measly R4 000!

The flag­ship in the cur­rent A- Class line- up sees the Mercedes- AMG A 45 4MATIC also ben­e­fit­ing from the model up­date. With a max­i­mum out­put of 280 kW it ac­cel­er­ates from rest to 100 km/ h in just 4,2 sec­onds. Ac­cord­ing to M- B the fuel con­sump­tion sug­gests 7,3- 6,9 litres per 100 kilo­me­tres ( cor­re­sponds to 171162 g/ km CO2) — but I very much doubt this in the real world!

Prices have in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly of late but that’s to be ex­pected with the rand’s de­cline since late last year. * Ob­ser­vant read­ers ( that’s you, surely?) can see that the sleek “A- Class” now bears ab­so­lutely no re­sem­blance to the orig­i­nal boxy model of yes­ter­year, one that’s still seen in droves up and down the coun­try.

“If you per­chance fancy the boxy mom’s taxi with the three­pointed star you’ll need to rather source a ‘ B- Class’ of­fer­ing — a ve­hi­cle that still has a lot go­ing for it,” reck­ons the writer.

Prices

A- Class A200d R419 200 ( Auto + R18 000) A- Class A220d R460 100 A- Class A200 R389 200 A- Class A250 R491 500 AMG A45 4Matic R683 600.

PHOTO: QUICKPIC

What started out as a boxy mom’s taxi has mor­phed into this top- of- the- range A- class, the Mercedes- Benz A 45 AMG.

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