5 0 5
Plus & Minus
Premium cabin; loaded with technology; twin 10.25-inch screens; top-class safety
Road noise; not much kit as standard; requires cost-option dampers
The Wheels Verdict: A stylish four-door silhouette is matched with an interior full of wow factor, bolstered by class-leading safety and smart packaging. However, there’s still room for improvement in terms of ride quality and sound deadening, and if you want a performance-orientated demeanour, you’ll have to wait a little longer.
WHAT IS THE MERCEDES-BENZ A200 SEDAN?
While it might be the smallest Mercedes sedan you can currently buy, the W177 A200 Sedan isn’t short on premium punch. If the swoopy CLA (due to be updated with even larger dimensions) isn’t your thing and a hatchback is a no-go, the A-Class sedan could be the perfect niche-filler. Sitting below the staid C-Class, this baby Benz is the cheapest sedan offering until the A180 arrives later this year.
WHY WE’RE TESTING IT
Based on the fourth-generation hatch, the A-Class Sedan has big boots to fill. With the proven Audi A3 Sedan ready and waiting for a prizefight, Mercedes has infused its contender with an overtly upmarket cabin and headline technology. But does it go to the top of the class?
MERCEDES-BENZ A200 SEDAN REVIEW
At face value there seems little need for the A-Class Sedan with the existence of the coupe-esque CLA four-door. However, the latter is growing in size, leaving space below it for the more conventional small sedan, one that will battle Audi’s A3 and provide a more affordable entry point. For now the only Sedan option is the $49,400 A200, with the entry-level $44,900 A180 to arrive later this year along with A250 variants. A stove-hot A35 AMG is also in the mix.
Like many of the venerable Three-Pointed Star’s contemporary models, the A-Class Sedan attempts to appease both traditional and youthful customers, straddling old-school appeal with modern technology. We first saw it when the new A-Class Hatch arrived, which has classic Benz design cues infused with a huge digital display inside and a personal assistant called MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). That continues with the Sedan.
While the A200 might be the smallest Mercedes four-door, it doesn’t miss out on wow factor, mixing opulence with new-age glamour. It really is a welcoming, uplifting place to be. Twin 10.25-inch screens dominate the dash and offer resounding clarity, while the turbine vents add a cool factor and the mood lighting sets the ambience. There’s also a host of standard and cost-option features too long to detail here.
The cabin is an inviting place to be – and you’re never quite alone. Simply say, “Hey Mercedes” and MBUX is at your beck and call. Basically a digital concierge, MBUX can attend to various controls without you having to take your hands off the wheel, like open the sunroof and change the climate control. For the most part, it is as useful as it is intuitive.
Boot space is 430 litres, or 60 litres more than the hatch, and the floor is flat with a decent 950mm opening for larger items. Overall, the booted four-door is 130mm longer and 6mm higher than its five-door counterpart, and that delivers a smidge better headspace in the rear seat.
Under the bonnet is the Merc-built, but Renault co-developed 1.3-litre four-cylinder petrol. Despite its diminutive cubic capacity, the turbo four is sufficient rather than impressive. For a small unit the figures of 120kW and 250Nm are notable and there’s an accessible mid-range on offer. The M282 unit also ties in well with the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. However, despite its willing character, power evaporates towards redline and the acoustics become slightly unpleasant. Cylinder deactivation, a first for a four-cylinder Mercedes engine, aids the combined fuel consumption of 5.7L/100km.
One option worth ticking is the $3190 AMG Exclusive Package, which replaces the A200’s standard torsion beam rear-end for hardware like independent rear suspension (IRS) and adaptive dampers which is much more mechanically sophisticated. While the A200 Sedan’s handling isn’t overtly engaging, there’s a reassuring level of body control and the front-end is sharp. The steering is well-weighted and the brakes perform strongly, too.
With the adaptive dampers in Comfort mode, the ride quality verges on compliant, but the traditional Mercedes waft of larger luxe sedans is largely absent and harsh imperfections are telegraphed into the cabin. Selecting the larger 19-inch AMG alloys ($1390) doesn’t come at the expense of obedience, either, as the run-flat tyres used for the 18-inch wheels aren’t wrapped around the AMG wheels. Sport mode is best left alone unless the surface beneath the Pirelli P Zeros is perfect. Road noise and general NVH levels could be better suppressed, with roar from the tyres entering the cabin at highway speeds.
Ultimately, getting the best out of the A200 Sedan requires careful perusal of the cost options. Ticking the right boxes is crucial to delivering the right premium product – it just comes at a premium price. As we found with the A200 hatch, the AMG Exclusive Package goes a long way to improving compliance.
However, the A200 Sedan is safe and elegant with a sumptuous cabin and a desirable badge. It also delivers one of the best connected-technology experiences in the segment, and for the most part, that’s all that matters to buyers, both old and new.
MERCEDES-BENZ A-CLASS SEDAN RIVALS
Audi A3 Sedan
MERCEDES-BENZ A200 SEDAN PRICE AND SPECS
Model: Mercedes-Benz A200 Sedan
Engine: 1332cc 4cyl, DOHC, 16v, turbo
Max power: 120kW @ 5500rpm
Max torque: 250Nm @ 1620rpm
Kerb weight: 1375kg
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch
0-100km/h: 8.0sec (estimated)
On sale: Now