High spec but low cheque
DAVE FALL pokes around the streamlined new A- Class and finds this is no mom’s taxi no more
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.
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.
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.