So the A-Class we used to know has gone, and departing with it is packaging that bordered on the revolutionary. Instead, today’s A-Class mirrors the segment norm, in being a 4.3-metre-long small family car that’s easier for potential buyers to understand.
The original A-Class’s ‘sandwich’ floor trademark, which neatly packaged the engine and ancillaries around or below the cabin rather than in front of or behind it, made it a brilliantly short and exceptionally spacious car.
But its purpose was less clear when compared with ostensibly ‘bigger’ rivals such as the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3, even if, inside, they were no bigger at all. Today’s A-Class, then, follows rather than breaks convention. Its proportions are typical for the segment, though the styling cues make it unquestionably a Mercedes.
You would know it even with the badges removed, thanks to the shape of the grille, lights and the strakes in the side that mimic Mercedes’ larger models. The 2016 facelift gave the A-Class a more defined look, with a diamond-effect front grille and changes to the head and rear lights.
Given the ‘join them’ ethos, the hardware is as conventional as you might expect. Beneath the steel monocoque, there are MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link set-up at the rear.
Diesel choices consist of a single 1.5-litre and two 2.1-litre engines. There are also four petrols: two 1.6 litres and two 2.0 litres. In addition, there is a plethora of chassis options, with a Comfort set-up offered alongside two firmer settings. Mercedes also answered the calls from the BMW M135i and Audi RS3 by making a hot A-Class; in fact, fire-breathing is probably a more accurate description of the AMG-engineered A45 4Matic.