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A200 upgrades bring more Merc luxury downmarket

Despite its evolutionary nature, this newly facelifted Mercedes-Benz A-Class can hardly be classified as a mere nip-and-tuck.

One must step inside to fully appreciate this big little sedan’s newfound improvements. That recently found extra roominess, decent shoulder, elbow and head space all remain. But its space shuttle dash, clear, legible head-up display and latest generation MBUX multimedia are the real latest A-Class party tricks.

But hang on a second. This is just an A200 Sedan? Right! And that’s the whole point – all Mercedes-Benz’s latest sci-fi tech is now packed into the baby Merc. And it’s still priced to rival the best that play in this vibrant neck of the woods.


LEDs bring A200 fascination day and night

Squint a bit and you’ll notice that this latest A‑Class look brings a cool new star pattern design grille and fresh headlamps, LEDs in this AMG Line get-up. They sit beneath familiar double-bubble power bulges in the ‘shark nose’ forward-sloping bonnet. As Mercedes calls it. An all new bumper brings this latest A look in line with all-new C and E Class trends.

Our black on black tester certainly adds to the big little Mercedes effect. Its multi-spoke 19 inch high-gloss black painted light-alloy wheels with a subtle alloy rim, sit flush with those sculpted flanks. There’s a redesigned diffuser at the rear, where LED taillights also add fresh fascination day and night.

The biggest A-Class changes however come inside. Its redefined cabin brings latest spec floating twin 10.25-inch displays to enhance A200’s widescreen feel. It brings an avantgarde twist to further elevate user experience in the red contrast stitched black trimmed cockpit. It’s highlighted by AMG Line dark carbonfibre and bright brushed aluminium. Futuristic illumination adds a special night time ambience.


Flexible cabin makes A200 what you want

Latest generation MBUX brings another hardware and software step forward. Revised telematics, a new design and improved performance make it more intuitive to operate and better capable of learning. The CarPlay, Auto and Bluetooth rich system also adds improved connectivity via an additional USB-C port and increased USB charging capacity.

Both driver’s and central displays can be customised via new seven colour display styles. There’s a full classic screen, three discreet Navigation, Assistance, Service views and a more focussed Sport option with dynamic rev counter among them. The touchscreen central display of course offers navigation, media, phone, vehicle data, and the rest.

More capable of dialogue and learning, the Hey Mercedes voice assistant now also explains vehicle functions and provides smartphone connect support via Bluetooth. It also no longer requires the Hey Mercedes prompt for certain major functions. The A class happily retains real switchgear for its major dash functions. But we still struggle with those latest Mercedes multifunction steering wheel touch interfaces. They just don’t work right.


Performs very well for a 1300

MBUX however now even better learns and adapts to your habits. The more you interact with it, the better the artificially intelligent new A-Class gets to know you. 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.

New A Class also benefits updated advanced safety assistance systems. The Driver Assistance Package gains an easier to operate Lane Keeping Assist via Active Steering Control. The next generation Parking Package now supports longitudinal parking and offers new camera-assisted 360-degree 3D parking visualisation.

This European and other market A 200 develops 130 kW and 270 Nm from its turbocharged 1,332cc gas four-pot. It drives the front wheels through merc’s 7G DCT dual-clutch transmission. Performance is impressive in spite of its relatively tiny engine size, as our road test data concurs. But fuel consumption is just 5.4 l/100 km combined. We achieved better, most of the time.


Another significant A-class step forward

Another significant step forward, let’s hope that these small gas Mercedes cars continue in the market for a while to come, considering how frugal and environment friendly they really are. The biggest plus however, is that if I dropped you in there and asked where you were, you’d probably tell me that you were driving a C or an E class. Maybe even an S.

Looked at like that, it makes downscaling all that much easier. Because even though it’s just an A, this is one hell of a lot of Mercedes for the money. – Michele Lupini

Images & testing – Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Mercedes-Benz A200 sedan AMG Line
Engine: 130 kW 270 Nm 1.3-litre turbo petrol I4
Drive: 7-speed automatic FWD
0-60 km/h:        3.58 sec
0-100 km/h:       7.82 sec
0-120 km/h        10.95 sec
0-160 km/h:       19.39 sec
400m:             15.7 sec @ 145 km/h
80-120km/h:       5.39 sec
120-160km/h:      8.40 sec
VMax:             230 km/h
Fuel:             5.4 l/100km
CO2:              127 g/km
Range:            800 km
Warranty/Service: 2y Unl/5y 100Kkm
LIST PRICE:       R880K
RATED:            8
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