Mercedes-Benz A250

Exceptional Merc A thinks it’s an S

Driving so many cars, one gets used to being spoiled. Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class introduced huge split dash and sci-fi ability, so the time the E arrived, that had all become old news. Climb aboard the new A-Class and it’s much the same – except that it’s improved another good few steps further forward. 

But hang on a second – this is the A250 – a half-million buck hatchback? Right on, and that’s the whole point – all Mercedes-Benz’s latest sci-fi tech is now packed into the baby Merc – and priced to rival the best that play in this quite vibrant neck of the woods.

Despite its evolutionary nature, the new A-Class can hardly be classified as a mere nip-and-tuck – it’s pretty much all new – 120mm longer, 16mm higher and 6mm wider, it also rides on a longer wheelbase, is 20kg lighter and its arches accommodate 19-inch wheels, all while once again resetting the hatchback aero record book with a 0.25 Cd.

One must however step inside to fully appreciate why A-Class is such a major improvement. You notice its greater visibility out of the car and that extra roominess straight away – there’s more shoulder, elbow and head space, while refined pillars make for 10% better visibility. Major structural changes at the rear, two-section rear lights and a 20cm broader hatch door also make for far easier boot access into the 29 litre larger, 11.5cm longer bay. 

That space shuttle dash and a clear, legible head-up display with MBUX multimedia is the real A-Class party trick. MBUX learns and adapts to your habits – the more you interact with it, the better the artificially intelligent new A-Class gets to know you and in time, both car and driver become more au-fait with each other. Mercedes-Benz Me is another highlight – just say ‘Hey Mercedes’ and the car’s cyber butler is at your service to perform any procedure it is capable of delivering. Brilliant!

This 165kW 350Nm 2-litre turbo A250 Sport is claimed to rush to 100km/h in 6.2 second 0-100km/h acceleration and on to 250km/h, while returning 6.4l/100km and 164g/km CO2. But hang on a second – while those economy claims are spot on, this thing did the hundred half a second quicker – in fact its 5.81 second 0-100 came damn close to shattering our front-wheel drive acceleration record!

Driving the front wheels through 7G DCT dual-clutch transmission, suspension depends on engine and driver preferences and Dynamic Select to alters the undercarriage set-up at the touch of a button.

A250 Sport kicks off at R596K. It is a huge step forward across the board– in fact, if I dropped you in there and asked where you were, you’d swear you were indeed driving an S. And considering how damned quick this one is, this A250 is without doubt delivers S-Class sensations at GTI prices. Do not ignore this car if you’re shopping in this neck of the woods…  - Michele Lupini

Images – Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Mercedes-Benz A250 Sport
Engine: 165kW 350Nm 1984cc turbo petrol I4
Drive: 7-speed automatic FWD
0-60km/h: 2.89 sec
0-100km/h: 5.81 sec   
0-160km/h: 12.90 sec
400m: 14.0 sec @ 166km/h
80-120km/h:            3.63 sec
120-160km/h:          5.71 sec       
VMax: 250km/h 
Fuel: 6.5 l/100km
CO2: 148 g/km
Warranty/Service:    2y Unl/5y 100Kkm
RATED:          90%