Mercedes-Benz A-class review – high-tech hatch takes aim at 1-series and A3

Antony Ingram
11 Jun 2018

Now in its fourth generation, the Mercedes A-class is unrecognisable from the car that kicked things off two decades ago.

Evo Rating: 
Class-leading tech. Luxurious interior
It’s no hot hatch. Rivals are more fun to drive

Engine and gearbox

Three engines are available from launch, all equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, with a six-speed manual set to be available further down the line. At the bottom in terms of both price and performance you’ll find the A180d, a 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel producing a modest 114bhp but a more useful 192lb ft of torque from 1750-2500rpm. Mercedes claims 68.9mpg combined economy from the diesel. Our drive suggests mid-50s is a more realistic goal in mixed driving. 

Next up is the A200, an all-new 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder with a reasonable turn of pace. Despite the modest capacity it boasts a 161bhp output and 184lb ft at 1620rpm, only lagging the diesel slightly on torque, though as you’ll have read in the previous section, its delivery isn’t quite as pleasant as that of the diesel, requiring more revs for a given task and making a strained noise as it does so.

The A250 2-litre turbocharged petrol currently tops the range, with 221bhp, 258lb ft from 1800rpm. It tops the range to drive too, finally feeling like an engine with enough power to make unruffled progress in day-to-day driving and enough in reserve to propel you down a twisty road at a decent lick. It’s smoother than the smaller petrol too, to the benefit of refinement, though it still doesn’t feel much like an engine you’ll be inclined to rev. While new, tight engines never quite give their best and a more run-in unit might feel more willing, the 2-litre still feels like an engine best driven in its low to mid-range.

To help meet ever-stricter emissions standards, both petrol units feature particulate filters - something you’ll see rolling out across an increasing number of petrol cars in the years to come.

Read more about:

Experience the thrill of driving every month with evo magazine, devoted exclusively to the greatest performance cars in the world. If you're passionate about performance cars then evo is your ultimate monthly read.