WITH a fondness I reserve usually for my own kith and kin this week I have become rather attached to a new baby — one of the junior members of the large and expansive Mercedes-Benz family.
Mercedes-Benz, as I have confessed before, always confounds me with what seems to be its vast and unending range of models, from the comparatively humble and workaday to the exotic and large and, well, truly expensive.
This week’s test car, the Mercedes-Benz A 200 CDI AMG Sport, is among the more exotic in its class. For a start, this car benefited from the great production bonus of AMG engineering — a refinement exclusive to the car-maker — and finished in “Cirrus White paint with Lava Black leather and red perforations interior” the car looked very fetching inside and out. And this being the AMG Sport version, while behaving itself nicely at low speeds, you could get good, meaty performance when required.
Ergonomics — cabin comfort, driving position and interior layout and design — are important to Mercedes-Benz and it shows. Each car I have driven so far in the model range — and I have by no means exhausted it — has proved comfortable and reassuring to drive. On long journeys you emerge relatively fresh and in the larger models you do not feel as if you have just driven 200 miles on a busy British motorway.
This is no trick of the light. I’m sure that the German car-maker takes this part of its car manufacture as seriously as the engines it fits, which are improving all the time on miles-per-gallon performance and exhaust emissions (65.7mpg on the combined cycle).
You would expect that this was the way to go: all car makers are committed to producing “greener” cars, it’s just that some, such as Mercedes-Benz, seem to be adopting the ethos more seriously than others.
Of course, you could argue that you pay a premium for this kind of service and you do, but as the factfile below shows, you can buy an A-Class Mercedes-Benz from just over £21,000. I would always recommend going for the highest specification you can afford, because I think it pays in the long run.
Certainly, the test car was loaded with goodies that brought the basic on-the-road price up by almost £10,000 to a total of just over £35,000. Some might think this is a lot to pay for a smallish car and the answer to that is that buying a new car is simply one of choice.
Standard equipment is expansive on the A 200 but among the optional goodies worth mentioning are Active Park Assist (£690), which is always good to have onboard, Intelligent Light System (£1,430) as these days, or rather nights as winter draws in, good lights on a car are essential, and a Panoramic Sliding Sunroof (£900) which is ideal for touring.
If you did part with your £35,000 for this A 200, you would be getting a lot of car for your money and, as I said at the beginning of this article, I did become rather fond on this particular A-Class version after spending some time with it.
lTest car: A 200 CDI AMG Sport, price £35,635 with options fitted
lPrices of A-Class range start from £21,445 on the road
lPetrol and diesel engines ranging from 109 hp to 211 hp, with emissions from just 98g/km of CO2 and feature ECO start/stop as standard
lFive models to choose from — A-Class A 180, SE, Sport, AMG Sport and Engineered by AMG