Mercedes' new A-Class Saloon

Hugh Maguire: likes the way A-Class Saloon drives

Mercedes' new A-Class Saloon

In a time when general sales of saloon cars are falling due to the popularity of SUV’s and hatchbacks launching a new saloon model might seem pointless.

However Mercedes believe it will expand the appeal of their new A-Class and so we have the new A-Class saloon.

The new A-Class saloon is bristling with the latest in digitally produced instrumentation and class leading technology.

Mercedes make no apology for claiming they are trying to grow a more youthful customer base with stylish new models that are more attractive to a younger motorist than their traditional more restrained cars such as say the E-Class.

This week I’m driving the A200 AMG Saloon auto.

So Has It Any Street Cred?

My test car was finished in Polar White with lovely 18-inch AMG 5 twin spoke light alloy wheels. With the AMG front grille AMG body kit and tasteful details such as the chrome exhaust tips the whole car boasts lots of street cred without being too “loud”.

What’s it like inside?

The A-Class saloon boasts the new and much vaunted MBUX multimedia and entertainment system. Visually it is very dramatic with a huge rectangular screen running from the centre of the dash to in front of the driver.

Everything including the instruments are digitally generated. Ok we have seen this before in the S-Class but this system is truly revolutionary as it uses AI (artificial Intelligence) to learn a drivers likes and dislikes.

So for example if you always listen to a particular radio show on a particular channel instead of using the voice control to find Radio “whatever” you simply say “Hey Mercedes Play my favourite radio show”. I tried it and it works! It learns all your preferences very quickly and can be used for a multitude of set-up items in the car.

Mercedes have really got it right here and the technology is not fiddly or annoying its easy, simple intuitive but pure genius! No more inputting an address by hand.

The voice control is always listening you don’t even push a button just say “Hi Mercedes, navigate to 123 Ocean drive Dublin and it will!

Accommodation is surprisingly good for four adults and the decent sized boot is a welcome bonus too. The “luxury” seats and piano black trim work to good effect creating a sporty feel to the interior.

What is under the bonnet?

There are of course a range of petrol and diesel power plants with manual and auto gearboxes. The model on test this week is powered by Mercedes 1332cc turbo petrol developing a healthy 163bhp which in this car is mated to a 8-speed automatic with paddle shifts.

Performance is good and economy a strongpoint consuming just 5.7 litres per 100km over my road test. Tax for the year is €270.00

What’s it like to drive?

The new A-Class saloon is dynamic enough to prove a rewarding driving experience. The lowered AMG comfort suspension strikes just the right balance between good ride comfort and sporting handling.

Overall I enjoyed driving the new A-Class saloon its comfortable, refined and beautifully put together. A classy car with a feeling of opulence.

So to the Verdict!

With an attractive style, good levels of equipment and that unrivalled “Merecedes” feel in a compact saloon package the new A-Class saloon deserves to do well.

I like the way it drives and its frugal at the pumps too. Prices start at €36,625, the AMG version tested here costs €43,332.