Home / Reviews / First Drive / Mercedes-Benz A-Class Limousine First Drive Review: Upping the A-Game


Mercedes-Benz are back in the entry-level luxury sedan segment after over a year with the all-new A-Class Limousine. Here’s seven things to know about the latest Merc to hit our shores.

Story: Anosh Khumbatta
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

1.) The new A-Class Limousine replaces the CLA in Merc’s India line-up

Mercedes-Benz haven’t had an entry-level sedan in their India line-up since the discontinuation of the CLA over a year ago, and the impending launch of the new A-Class is set to change all that. While the last A-Class on sale in India was a hatchback, the German brand have decided to focus their attention on the sedan space this time around and are hoping to attract more dynamic young buyers into the brand. While the CLA’s aggressively sloping roof compromised rear seat space, the new A-Class gets a flatter roof, opening up head and shoulder room for rear seat passengers — an important consideration for the Indian market.

2.) It is the most aerodynamic passenger car in the world

Not only does this A-Class replace the CLA as the smallest Mercedes-Benz sedan on sale in the country, it also takes over as the most aerodynamic passenger car money can buy with an incredibly low 0.22 drag coefficient. Consequently the gentle curve of the bonnet, the creases in the bumper, the angle of the windshield and the way the roof slopes down into the C pillar are all designed to make this car as slippery as possible.

3.) The new A-Class Limousine is an extremely good-looking car

But building a slippery car doesn’t mean it can’t look good; the large black grille is highlighted by the chrome three-pointed star, typical of the German brand, and the slim LED headlights look sleek and modern with their eyebrow-esque DRLs. From the side it’s a perfectly-proportioned 3-box sedan, clearly divided into engine compartment, passenger area and boot, with a gentle crease running almost all the way from headlights to tail lamps, just under the high beltline, while the rear end is spruced up by those distinctive LED tail lamps and the twin exhausts incorporated into the bumper. There’s no mistaking this car for anything but a Mercedes-Benz, and that is definitely not a bad thing.

4.) The cabin is a tasteful mix of elegant and futuristic, and is packed with tech

The cabin of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class Limousine is a nice place to be, and pampers you with premium surfaces all around. The dashboard features soft-touch materials, leather, a wooden inlay that continues onto the door pads and those aggressively-designed round air vents; but all eyes will be on the two high-definition 10.25-inch screens that run from behind the steering wheel to the middle of the dashboard. The one on the right is the driver interface, with the usual instruments and vehicle data, and the one on the left is used for infotainment and navigation. The screens can be customised as per your preferences, feature smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPLay, and can be navigated by the two thumb pads on the steering or the large touch pad on the central console. Driving modes include Eco, Comfort and Sport, as well as a customisable Individual mode, and these affect throttle response, transmission and steering weight.

5.) It comes with petrol and diesel engine options for the Indian market

The A-Class Limousine is available either with a 1.3-litre turbo-petrol unit that makes 163 hp and 250 Nm of peak torque, or a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel that makes 150 hp and 320 Nm of twist. We have only driven the diesel variant so far, and can attest that its wide spread of torque ensures that every prod of the accelerator is met with instant forward drive, just about anywhere in the rev range. The motor is mated to Mercedes-Benz’s new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission that makes lightning fast shifts to keep the engine spinning in its sweet spot.

6.) It is extremely easy to drive

At just over 4.5 metres long from bumper to bumper, the A-Class Limousine never felt too big or ungainly through Goa’s winding streets, and I was instantly comfortable from the time I set off. Visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent, the steering feels direct and precise, and the car seemed to shrink around me, making navigating crowded lanes a piece of cake. It gets up to triple-digit speeds pretty effortlessly, helped along by the quick-shifting ‘box that fires up through the first four ratios in quick succession, while the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel allow you to take over manual control of the transmission should you desire.

7.) Ride quality is impressive

On the suspension front, the new A-Class stood up to Indian road conditions better than I expected. While the car felt taut and responsive on smooth roads, it was able to iron out most surface imperfections without fuss. All four ends felt extremely well-damped even at slow speeds, ensuring that occupants were insulated from dips and sharp-edged bumps at city speeds, without sacrificing handling as you go faster. The new A-Class made for an extremely involving yet comfortable drive through Goa, and since I didn’t get a chance to explore its high-speed road manners out on the open highway, we’ll save that for a more detailed road test report when we spend more time with the car in and around Pune.


About the author: Anosh Khumbatta



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