MERCEDES-BENZ A180 d AMG Line: family hatch with accent on luxury

1512007_17C829_040AS the Monty Python chaps would say, now for something completely different…..

No longer does the Mercedes-Benz entry level model fall over and wave its wheels in anguish at the sight of a roadside Elk.

To be fair, it hasn’t for some time now and the latest fourth generation model to carry the name is so well sorted it’s a bit of a revelation.

1511991_17C829_026If racing serves to improve the breed, and you can’t deny the three pointed star has been dominant with a big D in F1 these last five years, then the beneficiaries are you and I once it filters down to the showroom.

The new baby Merc is a refreshing leap forward, and none more so than on the inside, and it is now a very serious alternative to the other premium brands. It’s wider, longer, and packed with the sort of technology you’ll find in an S-Class.

Its bigger footprint on the road means there is also more space inside what is a very well put together cabin – and interior space wasn’t one of the boxes you’d have ticked on earlier versions. 30mm might not sound a lot but it does make a real difference. The rear doors, for example, are bigger, allowing easier access and exit.

The driving position is as good as you’ll get in a car of this ilk with plenty of adjustment and the seats offer excellent support. Ideal so you can get comfortable and marvel at the dual screen infotainment set up – the same as fitted in the more up market E and S-Class.

1511955_17C829_007Two seven inch screen sit next to each other inside a single frame, one a digital instrument display and the other housing sat nav and media. The five backlit air vents – three in the middle, one either side – also do service in the S-Class.

There’s a touchpad in the centre console to control the infotainment screen which is also touch sensitive. The steering wheel has controls for other functions and there’s also the opportunity to pick from one of 64 ambient lighting colours should you so wish.

There’s nothing too subtle about the A-Class when you view it from the front, its wider stance giving it a more aggressive look and a distinctive one at that. AMG Line adds a front apron with a front splitter in chrome and diffuser-look rear apron, along with a smart set of 18 inch AMG alloys.

1511964_17C829_020That stance is one that promises a decent ride and it doesn’t disappoint, cornering flat and true and displaying a limpet-like ability to grip the tarmac.

Sampled here is the 1.5 litre diesel version with its derv-sipping average economy figure of 68.9mpg and a low 108g/km of CO2.

The auto box is accessed via Mercedes’ unique lever on the right hand side of the column. Up for reverse, down for drive, and press the button on the end for park, though there are paddles on the flat bottomed steering wheel so you can play with the seven speed auto box.

Safety features figure highly on the standard specification list – Active Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, ATTENTION assist, Speed Limit assist and cruise control all feature.

1511956_17C829_009For the adventurous there are four selectable drive programmes – Eco, Comfort, Sport (which peps up the 1.5 diesel no end) and Individual.

Definitely a big improvement on its predecessor and a hugely enjoyable car to drive, and not merely just a method of getting from A to B.

Mercedes-Benz A180 d AMG Line
Price: £28,540 (£32,145 as tested)
Engine: 1.5 litre four cylinder diesel
Power: 116hp
Torque: 260Nm
Transmission: 7 speed automatic
Top speed: 125mph
0-62mph: 10.5 seconds
Economy: 68.9mpg
CO2 emissions: 111g/km

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