Mercedes A-Class Limousine Test Drive Review
We do a detailed road test review of the Mercedes A-Class Limousine.
Car Tested: Mercedes A-Class Limousine A200; Road Test No. 1289; Test Location: Goa
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs 44-46 lakhs (est.)
The Mercedes A-Class Limousine offers a great driving experience and it gets rich quality inside out making it feel unlike an entry-level model
Very seldom we see entry-level models from luxury automakers not succeeding in the market. Take Mercedes-Benz for example; they had the A-Class, B-Class, GLA and CLA as their entry-level products for India and all of them fetched pretty good sales with the A, GLA and CLA being very successful while the B-Class found moderate victory in the sales charts. The A-Class arrived here in 2013 and this snazzy-looking hatchback did really well for itself and was a good stepping stone for people looking to try their hands out on a luxury vehicle for the first time. The A-Class hatchback got discontinued a couple of years back while the CLA got shunned from the line-up sometime back too. Times have changed and now the new A-Class which the German automaker is gearing up to launch on 25th March is no longer a hatchback, it is a sedan and it sits perfectly to fill the void left by the A hatchback and CLA.
Exteriors – I admit I didn’t find a liking to the design of the A-Class Limousine when I saw it in pictures for the first time. The styling felt quite simple and basic and my opinion quickly turned around when I saw the vehicle in person here. Thankfully, I got to see the sedan in 4 different colours (Grey, White, Black and Yellow (AMG)) and while I personally found the white shade to be a bit too sober, the A Limousine does look fantastic in the other colours and the simple styling works in its favour. Mercedes designed the vehicle with the theme of “purity” which is why this car lacks unnecessary creases and cuts. The A-Class Limousine bears a little resemblance to the CLA but the latter was more of a coupe-sedan while this one is a proper sedan and the differences are clearly visible from the side and rear.
While there’s a single trim level available, Mercedes is offering a Carbon Style package which adds some glitz to the sedan
Now, the A-Class Limousine isn’t very big in terms of dimensions. The length is 4549 mm which is exactly the same as the 5th gen Honda City and a bit longer than the BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe but Mercedes has smartly positioned the wheels towards the corners of the car in a way that the overhangs aren’t too long and the wheelbase stands at 2729 mm which is again more than that of the 2-Series. The A-Class Limousine will be offered in a single fully-loaded trim level and the wheels that you see on this car are standard. The vehicle has a drag coefficient of 0.22 and the wheels also have these black elements in them to help out with the aerodynamics. For those looking to spruce up their car, you get the Carbon Style package for Rs. 1.48 lakh and it includes a rear spoiler, B-pillar carbon fibre trim, front apron lip spoiler and side skirts.
Interiors – The cabin of the A-Class Limousine is a massive step up from the older A and CLA. It feels plusher than before, there’s a lot more equipment and even the design & quality are quite upmarket. This car doesn’t really feel like an entry-level model which is a great thing. I loved the overall layout of the dashboard, the design of the centre console and those beautiful AC vents. The steering wheel is shared with some siblings of the A Limo and I would have preferred a slightly smaller wheel. The vehicle gets 5 USB Type-C ports – one in the centre, two under the front armrest and two below the rear AC vents. In Goa’s humid and hot climate, the air conditioning worked quite well!
The infotainment and instrument cluster combo looks sharp and also gets voice commands and navigation
The dashboard is flanked by a large glass slab consisting of two 10.25-inch screens; one each for the instrument cluster and infotainment system. Bigger models like the E-Class and S-Class get bigger screens but the layout remains similar. The displays have a crisp resolution and the MBUX system offers good usability too. It boasts of the usual connectivity options and also gets in-built navigation along with Alexa connectivity so you can give some voice commands and control a number of functions by just saying, “Hey Mercedes” followed by the command. The sound quality is just fine but of course not as good as that of the high-quality Burmester audio systems that we see in bigger Mercs.
This sedan has a nice, low-slung driving position which feels sporty. The front seats offer good comfort levels and have electric adjustment too. Space at the rear is decent, legroom is good even for tall passengers but the under-thigh support leaves a lot to be desired because the seat is placed a bit low. Also, getting out of the rear seat might be a bit tricky for people who wear large-sized boots. Headroom is pretty good as well and I liked the recline angle of the backrest too. One thing to note is that the lower part of the front seats could foul with your shin area if the seat is pushed a bit backwards. You get three adjustable headrests at the rear and compact bottle holders in the doors. The boot capacity is 405-litres in the petrol variant and 395-litres in the diesel (10-litres lesser thanks to the AdBlue tank). The car we drove was a pre-production model and hence the spare wheel was placed on the boot floor, thus limiting luggage space, but Merc officials have stated that the final production model will have the spare wheel located in its conventional spot below the cargo area.
Performance – Mercedes is offering three variants of the A-Class Limousine – A200, A200d and A35 AMG and we drove the standard petrol variant which gets a 1.3-litre turbocharged engine delivering 163 horses and 250 Nm of twist. This is the same engine that is offered on the Renault Duster and Nissan Kicks and it has been jointly developed by the Renault-Nissan alliance along with Mercedes. The engine is noisy and some of the sound is filtered inside the cabin as well, even at low RPMs. At high RPMs, the engine becomes quite vocal but it sounds good.
Taking 8.1-seconds to reach the ton, the A-Class petrol offers good acceleration once you get past the lag below 2000 RPM
The petrol engine comes with a 7-speed transmission and 0-100 km/hr comes up in a claimed 8.1 seconds. Driveability is quite decent once you get past the lag below 2000 RPM. I loved how the car felt so responsive in the mid-range and it pulled very cleanly to the redline which starts slightly above 6000 RPM. On paper, the numbers might not sound very glitzy but the car does feel very punchy and eager all the time. We haven’t driven the diesel variant yet but it gets a 2.0-litre unit making 150 HP and 320 Nm, with an 8-speed gearbox and a claimed 0-100 km/hr time of 8.2 seconds. The ARAI-claimed fuel efficiency is 17.50 km/l for the petrol and 21.35 km/l for the diesel.
You get the usual driving modes like Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual and the latter allows you to set the engine, steering and ESP individually based on how you want them. The car doesn’t feel too bogged down in Eco and drives smoothly but it is the Sport mode in which it feels properly responsive and drives with a sense of urgency.
Driving Dynamics – The Mercedes A-Class Limousine has a tight chassis setup and drives extremely well. I loved the precise handling and the way the car stuck to the road despite being pushed a lot. I managed to find a long, deserted stretch of smooth tarmac with some sweeping corners in Goa and boy did I have fun chucking around this Limo. The communicative steering offered good confidence and with almost negligible body-roll, the A felt completely at home on the corners. The 2-Series Gran Coupe sure feels a bit more enthusiastic but who said FWD cars can’t be fun?
A stiff suspension setup and a precise handling make the A-Class extremely fun to drive
The ride of the A-Class Limo has a slightly firm edge to it. At low speeds on bad roads, it feels a bit stiff but it’s not uncomfortable as such. At high speeds, the ride gets even better and the A-Class drives around with an air of confidence and doesn’t get unsettled even with aggressive driving. The tyres aren’t low profile and they do a good job of cushioning out the bumps on the road. The vehicle also has good braking power and stops without a fuss.
Safety and After Sales Service – Mercedes has equipped this vehicle with 7 airbags including one for the driver’s knee and you get other standard features like ABS with EBD, cruise control, ESP, Hill Start Assist, etc. The vehicle also gets PRE-SAFE which is a nifty safety feature. If the car senses an oncoming collision or if it feels that it’s going out of control, the seatbelts will automatically tighten up, the sunroof (if open) will close so that passengers don’t get injured in the event of a topple and if the windows are open, they’ll close too and just a little gap will remain open to allow the gases from the airbags (if deployed) to exit. The German automaker is offering 8 years of warranty for the engine and transmission. The company has also built good presence in India with lots of dealerships covering almost every region.
Verdict – Should you buy the Mercedes A-Class Limousine? Well, it is a great car for people who want to enter the luxury car space for the first time or for those people who already have a few luxo-barges parked at home but want something compact as a daily runabout. The sedan drives well, feels luxurious and looks the part too. You also get to flaunt the highly aspirational tri-pointed star which tells everyone that you have “arrived”. The A-Class competes against the BMW 2-Series, and Audi’s upcoming A3 sedan will also give competition to these two Germans but until then, it’s a close call between the A and 2.
What’s Not So Cool
Alternatives – BMW 2-Series Gran Coupe