First Drive: 2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 BlueEfficiency Ride and Review +VIDEO


2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 BlueEfficiency  (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 BlueEfficiency

Shooting Star

By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel


LLUBLJANA, Slovenia - July 13, 2013: Mercedes-Benz wants to be taken serious in the compact premium segment. That is why the Germans say ‘A’ stands for ‘attack’. It means that the new A-Class is ready to submit hell to competitors like the Audi A3 and the BMW 1 Series. To accomplish this, the new ‘A ‘ has been transformed into a sporty hatchback.


2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 BlueEfficiency  (select to view enlarged photo)

The first A-Class which arrived in 1997 had a sandwich floor enabling the storage of a battery pack in a possible future electric model. But its blocky design and high stance was less attractive to younger customers than the Germans had hoped.

That should change now with the arrival of the new generation A-Class, which is the second model after the B-Class, and both based on the new developed front-wheel and four-wheel drive architecture,


2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 BlueEfficiency  (select to view enlarged photo)

With its sporty looks, the 2013 A-Class should specifically attract younger people. Mercedes wants to lure them into the brand hoping they will grow into the C- or E-Class or one of the other models. In this respect, the B-Class which entered the markets last year, so far has been successful, with sales 50 per cent higher than expected and half of its customers coming from many different brands.


2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 BlueEfficiency  (select to view enlarged photo)

The underpinnings of the A-Class are the same as of the B, but the wheel base is shorter and the set up of the suspension is more dynamic. You may not expect a GTI-like character, but that does not mean the driving capabilities of the A-Class are not dynamic: ton the contrary, the smallest Benz offers a lot of driving fun.


The A Class desbuts at Geneva Motor Show


With front wheel drive, I expected the A to display some understeer, but you really have to enter a corner extremely fast in order to provoke this. During the lane change and in fast corners, the rear end even wants to break out a little bit. If you try to get more, the ESP system takes over and safely directs the car back in line.


2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 BlueEfficiency  (select to view enlarged photo)

We drove the A 200 BlueEfficiency that has the 1.6-liter petrol engine, teamed to the excellent 7G-DTC dual clutch transmission. This four-cylinder has 115 kW/156 hp and 184 pound-feet of torque between 1,250-4,000 rpm and is powerful en flexible enough for people who to conquer winding roads in the mountains. Bad roads with bumps hardly have any effect on the comfort, even with the lowered suspension of our A-Class which was fitted with the AMG Sport Line.

This means that ‘our’ test car had also Direct Steer, which enhances steering input, while the lowered sports suspension and 18-inch AMG wheels with 225/40 rubber improves handling.


2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 BlueEfficiency  (select to view enlarged photo)

The interior looks very nice, with the same sophistication that we find in the A’s bigger brothers. A sporty touch is provided by big SLS-inspired air vents and other AMG

Exclusive details such as the 3-spoke steering wheel with a flattened bottom, the sports instrument panel with red needles, sports pedals, red stitching and last but not least details in carbon-fiber look


2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 BlueEfficiency  (select to view enlarged photo)

In the interior, wind and road noice are practically nil. The sport seats are excellent, but then, I never have had any complaints about Mercedes seats. On long hauls, I could sit on the standard seats in my former E-Class Estate for hours.

Talking about the interior space, I noticed that a six feet tall colleague can easily find a good driving position. In the rear, tall will just be o.k.


Watch the on road look at the new A 250


You do not need to opt for Style, Urban, Night Package orAMG Sport lines to get an excellent standard equipment. The base model has among others a multifunction steering wheel with 12 buttons, a big color display and Audio 5 with a USB connection.


2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 BlueEfficiency  (select to view enlarged photo)

It is a pity that Americans do not really like hatch backs and therefore Mercedes will not bring the A-Class to the North American market. Another reason is that the C-Class (also available with as C 200 CGI with the four-cylinder engine is now being offered in the US and will be US built as well: production will start in Tuscaloosa in September.



2013 Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200 BlueEfficiency  (select to view enlarged photo)

The A- and B-class will be joined by three models: the CLA four door coupe, that will bow next spring at the Geneva auto show, an SUV, also expected to be unveiled in 2013 and an undefined model, which most likely will be a shooting brake. For the time being Mercedes does not plan a three door model.

I also drove the A 250 Sports that is ‘engineered by AMG’. Stay tuned to The Auto Channel for my first drive of the fastest model until Mercedes will introduced the A 45 AMG next year.


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