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Put another way, the carmaker sees this as the model
that can introduce a new generation to their badge.
That's a high level of expectation to meet.
It certainly looks the part. Although it's more
understated than the CLA, it has stylishly streamlined
contours with a sloping bonnet and low, angular
Maximum comfort
Once inside, its sleek design limits room in the rear seats
compared to the more traditional saloon but upfront,
driver and passenger can have no complaints with plenty
of legroom and excellent all-round visibility. Everything
is laid out to maximise driver comfort and ease of use.
There's wealth of hi-tech gimmickry including a
dashboard screen and control-and-display system
designed to look as if it `floats' in your line of vision.
More practically, you also get Mercedes' MBUX system,
a touchscreen technology that has the ability to `learn'
from how you use it, memorising information such as
your regular work route.
Sporty tuning
The saloon is available with 1.4 and 2.0L petrol engines
or a 1.5-litre diesel. Transmission can be either six-speed
manual or seven-speed automatic, depending on model
The diesel-engined option on test here is matched to
an automatic transmission and is part of the AMG Line
which offers a range of extra features, including the
addition of special front and rear aprons and `sportily-
tuned' suspension.
While the firmer suspension will appeal to the
performance-orientated driver, it's not an ideal fit for
the average commute and its daily dose of pothole-
ridden and bumpy roads. The diesel engine provides
a dependable drive but not as much of a performance
`experience' as the AMG styling would suggest.
Safety and driver-support technology includes a see-
ahead camera and radar with a range of up to 500m, as
well as other features including lane-keeping and various
distance control and driver assist systems.
Overall, this car manages to steer a steady path between
performance and refinement without veering wildly in
either direction. At 34,220 for the entry level diesel and
36,235 for the petrol version, it could prove tempting
for first-time Mercedes buyers looking to get that three-
pointed star on the front grille of a brand new model.
A-Class Saloon A180d AMG Lin
1461cc, diesel
Fuel consumption (combined) (manufacturer's figures) 4.1-4.3L/100km
CO2 emissions (manufacturer's figures)
Mercedes-Benz has pitched its new A-Class saloon to attract buyers that are, on average,
13 years younger than those of earlier A-Class models, writes Bernard Potter
A class apart?