Sleeker and more aesthetically pleasing than its predecessor, and also the most aerodynamic five-door hatchback today.
For a car to attain a status where it earns accolades for high quality from anyone driving it, there must be a competent combination of all the individual dynamic elements, such that they complement one another.
Well, from my initial drive of the new A-Class, Mercedes-Benz seems to have achieved this goal.
Complementing the smooth powertrain and transmission is a suspension setup that works with more sophistication than its relatively conventional design would have you believe.
In the front is a MacPherson strut arrangement, possibly the most widely used front suspension design ever, with forged aluminium lower arms and cast aluminium steering knuckles instead of steel components in the interest of reducing unsprung mass. Surprisingly, the A200’s torsion-beam rear suspension is just as capable as the multi-link setup in the A250.
There is no noticeable difference in handling, roadholding or ride comfort between the two models.
Their rack-and-pinion steering is assisted by an electric motor that also provides plenty of other semi-autonomous functions, which intervene to keep the car in lane, counter-steer when oversteer is detected, and also provide corrective steering in crosswinds and when braking on uneven surfaces.
The Driving Assistance package needs to be specified if these features are to be included. While the feel and response of the steering are not as sharp as in a typical hot hatch, the variable power- assistance does a commendable job of maintaining road-speed- dependent weighting, so it never feels artificially light.
The A200 and A250 are not hot-hatch models, hence the more comfort-oriented steering.
I’m sure there will be an AMG version, which will turn up the heat, and perhaps be the first 2-litre production hatchback to hit the 200hp-per-litre output.
All A-Class models come with Dynamic Select, which alters the characteristics of steering, engine and transmission. Our test cars are fitted with active damping control, so their suspension settings are also changed by Dynamic Select.