Mercedes-Benz A-250 Sport Review

By: Ged Bulmer

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Mercedes-Benz A-Class Mercedes-Benz A-Class Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Mercedes-Benz A-Class Mercedes-Benz A-Class Mercedes-Benz A-Class
Mercedes-Benz A-Class Mercedes-Benz A-Class Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Driven: Benz dips a toe into hot-hatch market and doesn’t get burned

Mercedes-Benz A-250 Sport Review
Driven: Mercedes-Benz A-Class

 

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

It must be tough being a prestige car maker these days. Where the established marques once concentrated on a few key models and boasted easily articulated brand positioning, things are a lot murkier today.

Take Mercedes-Benz. The German marque once served up the inevitable sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon variants of its few core models, but these days its range has multiplied like the Ebola virus.

Which brings us to the all-new A-Class, the third generation of Benz’s small car and currently the most affordable Mercedes. The handsome five-door hatch is built on the same modular platform that underpins the slightly larger B-Class. Pricing starts at a reasonable $35,600 for the base A180 BlueEfficiency, rising to $40,900 for the identically priced A200 BlueEfficiency and A200 CDI BlueEfficiency, and topping out at the $49,900 A250 Sport.

We only sampled the latter during a compact drive program and it boasts a larger 2.0-litre four, plus sports-oriented upgrades to wheels, tyres, brakes, exhaust, interior and exterior styling. Though clearly a rival for Audi’s A3 2.0 TFSI quattro and BMW’s 125i, the hatch most openly referenced was Volkswagen’s standard-setting Golf GTI.

The A250 Sport’s direct-injected turbo four punches out 155kW/350Nm via a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. Fuel economy is 6.6L/100km but, perhaps more importantly, it can post a 6.6sec 0-100km/h time – 0.3sec faster than a Golf GTI.

On top of impressive standard equipment, the A250 Sport adds 18-inch alloys, AMG bodykit, lowered sports suspension, bi-xenon headlights, cross-drilled brakes, dual exhaust, and a panoramic electric sunroof. Inside are sculpted sports seats, eye-catching red seatbelts, red stitching on dash, doors and seats, carbon-look trim, flashes of cool alloy and AMG flat-bottom sports steering wheel.

Benz says its AMG performance arm has fettled the engine, suspension and gearbox, yet the hot-hatch stops short of bearing AMG livery, and is classified instead as having been "engineered by AMG".

That leaves space for the forthcoming 265kW A45 AMG, due in September. Until then, the A250 is the hottest A-Class. Performance from its turbo 2.0-litre is a tad doughy in ‘eco’ mode, but it rises to the bait nicely when switched to Sport.

Thus engaged, the feisty four-pot eagerly strafes its 6250rpm redline, the gearbox serving up the cogs with precision, while a 30-second overboost feature pumps an extra 10kW into the chambers above 4000rpm. Through the twists of our test route, the A250 showed the benefits of AMG’s chassis tune. It was quick, clean and precise, with tremendous cornering composure.

Indeed, this third-gen A-Class is the closest Benz has come yet to delivering a truly desirable small car and it’s a big step up on the dullsville previous generation. It’s utterly competitive with the best of its rivals, but in this rare instance, delivered at a price that won’t make your ears bleed.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport


Engine: 1991cc 4cyl, DOHC, 16V, turbocharger
Power: 155kW @ 5500rpm
Torque: 350Nm @ 1200-4000rpm
Weight: 1445kg
Gearbox:  7-speed dual-clutch
0-100kM/h: 6.6sec (claimed)
Top speed: 240km/h (claimed)
Price: $49,900

 

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