More affordable variants, and more potent ones, will arrive later.
Mercedes-Benz continues to capitalise on its strengths by expanding its compact car lineup to include the all-new A-Class saloon. Arriving in Australia first as an A200 model, the lineup will later include the more affordable A180, the glitzier A250, and the mildly-angry AMG A35. But for right now we’ll have to make do with just one booted A-Class, with the A180 set to arrive in August, and other variants to follow after that.
The big change here is in terms of practicality, with the A-Class saloon touting a 60L boot advantage over the hatch on which it’s based. Total volume is rated at 430L, accessible b a 950mm-wide opening that makes it easier to load & unload large items. Additionally, thanks to the sleek look & advanced aerodynamics, the A-Class saloon boasts a drag coefficient of just 0.22Cd, which makes it the most aerodynamic passenger vehicle in the world.
Motivation for the A200 comes, for now, from a 1.33-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, sourced from Renault, which puts out 120kW and 250Nm. Power goes to the front wheels via a 7G dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which shifts quickly and is remarkably smooth. That gearbox also contributes to a fuel consumption rating of “just” 5.7L/100km, which isn’t bad for something that’s decently punchy.
Exterior-wise, the A200 carries the Progressive design trim, set off by 18-unch twin-spoke alloy wheels, dual chrome-tipped exhaust exits, and ‘diamond-pin’ grille.
Like any Mercedes, the A-Class saloon is chock-full of intelligent safety features. Parktronic all-round parking sensors are standard, as are things like active parking assistance, lane-keep aid & assistance, AEB, traffic-sign recognition, blind-spot monitoring, a backup camera, and ‘PRE-SAFE,’ which is an “accident anticipatory system” that prepares the car and occupants for an impact should it feel that one is imminent.
Step inside and you’ll find Artico (read: fake leather) upholstery, single-zone climate control (the audacity), a dual-screen infotainment-instrument binnacle layout (powered by MBUX), satellite navigation, touchpad input, four-way electric lumbar support for the driver, intelligent high-beam, a 9-speaker audio system, paddle shifters, keyless entry & go, Dynamic Select driver-mode selector, and wireless-charging.
The employment of MBUX here means that drivers are entitled to use the Mercedes me Connect system, that allows them to do a myriad of things to and around their car using the app. Additionally, MBUX comes to the A-Class saloon replete with its (borderline-annoying) ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice-activated ‘smart’ assistant, which allows you to input things like climate control, navigation, media, and ambient light settings via natural voice command.
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class saloon is currently only troubled by the Audi A3 in this segment, with BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, and Volvo still maintaining a degree of sanity and leaving the ultra-small premium saloon space alone. But while the A-Class saloon makes little sense to us (mostly because the CLA-Class already exists and has answered the demand for A-Class style with saloon-level practicality for some time), we’ve little doubt that the A-Saloon will sell remarkably well and serve its purpose to bring new, younger buyers into the Mercedes-Benz family.