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New Mercedes-Benz A-Class hatch, longer, wider yet 20 kilos lighter

The premium end of the small hatchback market is fought out by three German cars – year to date Audi’s A3 has marginally outsold the Mercedes Benz A-Class with the BMW 1-series a distant third. However, the arrival this weekend of the new Mercedes A-Class should change the balance here – it comes initially in the A200 at $47,200 and I had an extensive drive in Melbourne this week. Minor styling updates on a hatch that’s grown longer and wider on longer wheelbase – boot space and access better due to narrower tail lights but surprisingly rear sear legroom is still tight.
Gone is the 1.6-litre engine – now a vibrant 1.33-litre petrol turbo linked to a seven- speed automatic – fuel efficient too at 5.7L/100km on the city/country cycle. The drive-line is impressive but what sets the new A-200 apart is the new level of technology – now best in class with new widescreen cockpit , touch screen, intelligent voice control even wireless phone charging. Ride quality a high point. Even on the standard car with beam rear axle its good but when fitted with the AMG Exclusive package which adds independent rear suspension with adaptive damper control the ride for a small hatch is amazing. So good its well worth the $3,190 option – this also provide ambient lighting in 64 colours, climatised front seats, two-tone leather trim and dual zone climate control with rear ventilation. Like most new prestige imports these day you’ll be lucky to buy a standard A200 at launch – I have no doubt most will carry a high level of options. I’m David Berthon.

 

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