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Road Test: Mercedes-Benz A-Class A 200 AMG

Mercedes-Benz is back on top form with its latest range and the A-Class is no exception, finds Jonathan Musk.

SECTOR Hatchback   PRICE £28,045  FUEL 45.6mpg*   CO2 123g/km**

Mercedes-Benz A-Class A 200 AMG

Back in 2012, onlookers might have felt that Mercedes-Benz had sold its soul by mimicking the success of the BMW 1 Series and changing the A-Class from a family-friendly luxury city car into a sports-hatchback. However, they say that good artists create and great artists copy and Mercedes-Benz now enjoying the fruits of its labour with the A-Class – having become a firm favourite with fleets and consumers alike.

The new car is a few centimetres larger than its predecessor and is more grown up too, featuring plenty of S-Class pioneered tech.

Inside, there’s sporty styling that looks and feels premium and modern – and a set of screens has replaced instruments. Fortunately, though this might have easily proven itself a bit of a gimmick, it isn’t: the displays are sharp and intuitive to use.

In a first for Mercedes-Benz, shouting “Hey Mercedes” prompts a ‘normal’ conversation with the car, enabling navigation, playing music, setting the climate control temperature and much more. It works and is complemented by a new augmented reality view for the sat nav that overlays navigation information in real-time over the top of the front-facing camera.

As for the engine in this, the A 200 AMG, it’s sufficiently brisk with 0-62mph taken care of in 8.0-seconds, thanks to a generous 163hp from its 1,332cc engine. I’m no fan of DCT gearboxes, but this one never missed a beat nor felt like it dragged the clutch, which are my usual criticisms of this type of auto-box. The powertrain has now made its way into Renault and Nissan models too, but rather than it be a step down for Mercedes, it’s a step up for the other two. Handling is excellent, offering a clever blend of go kart accuracy with softer motorway manners.

All in all, the class-leading A-Class is a fine car and its downsized engine a surprising delight.

FW Rating: 4/5

*WLTP, ** NEDC Correlated

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.