From £25,8008
The best of the current A-Class line-up is a compelling proposition if you want a comfortable, supremely posh-feeling, moderately zingy hatch

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz A-Class 2018 road test review hero front

This new version is the most luxurious A-Class yet, but has Mercedes made it a class leader?

Mercedes-Benz A-Class A250 2018

What is it?

It’s come a long way, the A-Class. All the way from the 1990s car and its infamous elk-avoidance issues to this: the all-new Mk4, which looks to be so posh that it’s virtually a shrunken CLS.

A haughty hatch, perhaps - but in a good way.

From launch, the A-Class is automatic-only and is offered as an A180d, or as A200 and A250 petrol models, with manual gearboxes and more powerful diesels and petrols due to flesh out the range by 2019.

As has already been discussed in our international drive of the A180d, the A-Class gets torsion beam rear suspension on everything up to and including the A200. The A250 we’re testing here gets multi-link rear suspension as standard.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

What's it like?

Really rather good. It’s got a moderate zing to it – as it should have given the 221bhp 2.0-litre engine.

A pleasingly throaty rasp fills the cabin as the engine builds revs smoothly and with enough willingness that you’re often tempted to stick it in Sport and wring it out. For all that, if you toggle to Comfort, then you can float about in an impressively refined, calm manner.

The seven-speed dual-clutch auto can get panicky about steep descents, but most of the time it’s slick and well-judged, and it responds snappily to paddle-pulls too, which is good as there’s no manual box coming to this model.

As ride and handling balance goes, the A-Class hits a sweet spot provided you want a comfy daily driver with neat and tidy manners when you find a road worth making the effort for.

Sling it through some corners and it tucks in, settles down and fires you out the other side in a gratifyingly precise fashion. It’s easy to enjoy this sure-footed front-wheel-drive car, even if it feels like Merc could have added real sparkle with a bit more effort on the anodyne steering. More texture and better weighting would have gone a long way.

It’s no VW Golf GTI, then, but then the A250 isn’t really trying to be a hot hatch. It’s more of a moderately bubbly commuter that’s aiming to set standards for comfort and interior poshness, which it does quite convincingly.

Ride comfort - even over roads complete with gaping potholes and that high-frequency, corrugated road surface that the UK specialises in – is great. Usefully better than that of a Golf GTI. There’s some body float, and a fair bit of noise as the suspension works, but the damping is supple and precise, and keeps you isolated from all but the really gnarly bits of Tarmac.

We did have a go in an A180d on the torsion beam suspension and there’s a big drop in comfort. Even on smaller wheels, the less sophisticated suspension feels, well… less sophisticated. Choppier and more prone to some sloppy wheel control, particularly around town.

And the interior? It looks and feels great, but it’s worth spending the £1395 on the Executive equipment line pack to get the huge media screen; without it, the two small standard screens are lost in a slab of plastic.

Or if you can find yet another £1000, you can have the equally fantastical driver’s display (shown here) and a digital experience that’d feel at home in a top-spec limo. We even found the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice control worked well, although regional accents fluster it easily.

Practicality and roominess are just fine, but an Audi A3 will give you better rear passenger space and much better rear visibility.

Should I buy one?

Yes, if you fancy high-brow tech, serious brand swagger and an easy yet satisfying drive.

The A-Class sets new standards for infotainment and interior lustre in this class, and it’s about the comfiest, too, even if it’s not the most thrilling to drive at this price.

Talking of which, with £5k down on a three-year PCP contract, the A250 AMG Line costs around £420 per month (after you’ve added the Executive equipment line), which is reasonable for a brand-spanking-new model, but you’ll get a Golf GTI DSG or Audi S3 S tronic for sub-£400.

Still, if the swish looks and even swisher interior do it for you, the A250 is the best version of a really likeable new hatch.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class A250

Where Cotswolds Price £30,240 On sale Now Engine 4 cyls, 1991cc, turbocharged, petrol Power 221bhp at 5500rpm Torque 258lb ft at 1800rpm Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic Kerb weight 1445kg Top speed 155mph 0-62mph 6.2sec Fuel economy 45.6mpg CO2 141g/km Rivals Audi A3 2.0 TFSI S tronic Sport; BMW 125i M Sport; Volkswagen Golf GTI

Join the debate

Comments
10

5 June 2018
The repeated comparison with Golf GTI is tiresome and pointless. Even the author notices that the A250 aims to different customers. So why insisting?

6 June 2018
Name a competitor that's more similar than the GTi

FMS

10 June 2018

it doesn't have one as yet. Something has to be first in any newly defined segment.

5 June 2018

@Andrew1 - to justify their 4 star review.

I am still wondering why a £30k car with a £5k deposit is still working out to £420 a month! Madness!

7 June 2018
AddyT wrote:

@Andrew1 - to justify their 4 star review.

I am still wondering why a £30k car with a £5k deposit is still working out to £420 a month! Madness!

im guessing at £420 a month that’s about £4000 a year plus interest. So £12k over 3 years. Plus £5k deposit and £13k final (gmfv) payment. That would give you the £30k.

6 June 2018

I would never think of this and the previous generation as an A class. The Marks 3 & 4 are market-driven conventional hatchbacks which have none of the innovations of the Mks 1 & 2

The first thing, perhaps the only thing, you notice in the 'premier' cabin are those over-decorated circular air-vents. Why this emphasis?

The post-box rear screen remains, which means very poor rear vision.

6 June 2018
Autocar wrote:

...And the interior? It looks and feels great, but it's spending the £1395 on the Executive equipment line pack to get the huge screen media screen...

Honestly, that digital instrument pack looks like a painted on cardboard cut-out that looks like its just been stuck on the dash. So, not sure I'd say 'it looks great'!

 

6 June 2018

Just looks gaudy and horrible to me.   And noone yet appears to have mastered in car touch screen UI to match what we'd expect from a decent Android or Apple phone.

However, I am getting old, so I guess this is not for me...

But where's the car for all the latte swilling tech entrepreneurs?  Although I guess they dont drive.   Theres no hipster car though.  Gap in market surely?  (Probably used to be Saab/Citroen)

6 June 2018

With Mercedes' resources this new A Class should have been class leader and by a huge margin too. But it isn't, it's merely average, albeit much better than the previous one which was simply a lemon. It just goes to show that Mercedes still doesn't have the engineering, design and technical prowess to deliver world beaters. If Jaguar made a car for this class, it'd go straight to the top of the tree, even though Jaguar is tiny in comparison. I bet when the new Focus is tested it'll trample all over this new A Class.

7 June 2018
Roadster wrote:

With Mercedes' resources this new A Class should have been class leader and by a huge margin too. But it isn't, it's merely average, albeit much better than the previous one which was simply a lemon. It just goes to show that Mercedes still doesn't have the engineering, design and technical prowess to deliver world beaters. If Jaguar made a car for this class, it'd go straight to the top of the tree, even though Jaguar is tiny in comparison. I bet when the new Focus is tested it'll trample all over this new A Class.

C class is merely average compared to what? In it’s class, the newer A4 is usually thought of as been better, but it’s very close competition with the 3 series and XE. I agree Jag should could and should produce a smaller car to get people into the brand at a lower price point. I doubt the Focus will trample over this A class. It does seem like the best one Merc has produced.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week