- We pick out the highlights from the Mk4 A-Class range
- Few versions to choose from initially; hybrids to follow
- Find out which trim level and engine is best for user-choosers
From a company car driver perspective, it’s easy to see the appeal of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class: an upmarket image conveying connotations of success, yet available with a selection of frugal engines.
Now, the all-new fourth generation of A-Class compact family hatchbacks is available to order, featuring sharper-suited styling, a techno-fest interior and even more efficient engines.
It’s only a small line-up of models to begin with, but is there an engine and trim level combination that particularly stands out as being the best new 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class for user choosers?
Which is the best 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class engine for company car drivers?
There’s a very restricted choice of just three engines available for the Mk4 A-Class from launch, although over time that will expand to include high-performance AMG versions as well as hybrids.
It’s also worth noting that all launch versions of the latest A-Class are fitted with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox – manual transmissions for some models will follow in due course.
For now, the trio of powerplants follows recent Mercedes conventions of being turbocharged and being of displacements that aren’t reflected by how they’re badged.
Take the new petrol motor fitted to the A 200, developed in conjunction with Renault. No, it’s not a 2.0-litre, but a 1.3, although unlike many rivals’ engines, this one is a four-cylinder design rather than a three.
Depending on which trim level you opt for, the A 200 has a claimed fuel consumption of between 51.4 and 53.3mpg, resulting in CO2 emissions of 123g/km and placing it in the 25% benefit-in-kind (BIK) band for 2018/19.
Diesel A-Classes are perennially popular, but there’s only one available initially, powered by an improved version of the 1.5-litre engine, but badged A 180 d.
It’s no ball of fire as its output of 116hp and 260Nm of torque confirm: 10.5 seconds are required for the 0-62mph dash, while its top speed is 125mph. However, it is eager to accelerate at low speeds and makes for a very usable car in towns and cites - this doesn't feel like a cut-price, entry-level diesel in terms of performance.
Unsurprisingly, it posts attractive economy claims of between 65.7 and 68.9mpg, with CO2 emissions quoted at 108g/km for the SE and 111g/km for the Sport and AMG Line, meaning BIK bands of 26% and 27%, respectively.
Least likely to pique the interests of user choosers is the A 250 petrol, a 2.0-litre with a zesty 224hp and 350Nm of torque.
There will be faster A-Classes to come, but for now, this is the quickest: 6.2 seconds for the 0-62mph sprint and an electronically capped top speed of 155mph.
Only available in AMG Line trim, Mercedes claims an average consumption of 45.6mpg, while its CO2 emissions of 141g/km place it in the 29% BIK band.
Which is the best 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class trim level for company car drivers?
As with the engines, trim levels are initially limited to just three, although only the top-of-the-range AMG Line trim is available with each of the powerplants.
Choose the entry-level SE and that restricts you to just the A 180 d, while the mid-range Sport trim comes with either of the two less-powerful engines.
Given its status as the cheapest way into an A-Class, the SE is no hair-shirt special with 16-inch alloy wheels, lane-keeping assist, cruise control, four driving modes, keyless starting, two 7.0-inch displays screens for the dash, DAB radio and three years’ worth of live traffic updates for the sat-nav.
Progress up to Sport trim and it adds to the SE’s kit roster with 17-inch alloys, LED headlamps, chrome exterior detailing and dual-zone climate control for the air-con.
It’s predominantly superficial changes for the flagship AMG Line, with upgraded 18-inch alloys, a beefy AMG bodykit, additional chrome-look exterior fittings and Dinamica fake-suede upholstery for the interior.
Which options should company car drivers consider for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz A-Class?
Usefully, in addition to a series of individual extra-cost options, Mercedes offers attractive bundles that combine a number of features that customers tend to specify.
- Executive equipment line: comprises of electrically folding door mirrors, with an auto-dimming feature on the driver’s side as well as the rear-view mirror, heated seats, automatic parking and a 10.25-inch multimedia display screen
- Premium equipment line (Sport and AMG Line only): this package includes the Executive equipment, plus keyless entry, an upgraded sound system, a 10.25-inch screen for the instrumentation and 64-colour ambient lighting for the cabin
- Premium Plus equipment line (Sport and AMG Line only): adding to the above two packs, the Plus gains multibeam LED headlamps, electric front seats with memory function and a panoramic glass roof – just be aware you won’t be able to take delivery of this pack until autumn 2018
The Parkers Verdict
The entry-point of the A-Class range, the A 180 d SE, has a P11D value of £25,580 and falls into the 26% BIK band for 2018/19. Assuming you’re a 20% rate payer, this equates to a monthly bill of £111.
Compared with the flagship of the launch line-up, the A 250 AMG Line, with its P11D value of £29,980 and slotting in the 29% BIK band, that same 20% rate payer will have a monthly tariff of £145.
Nesting in that gap is the sweet spot, combining attractive equipment levels for a sensible monthly outlay, and for that reason we would opt for the Sport trim with the Premium equipment line bundle.
If you’re likely to cover a large number of annual miles, then the more economical A 180 d Sport Premium makes the most sense here. There's enough of performance and you benefit from the optional larger screens on the dash. Its £29,475 P11D value and 27% BIK band result in a monthly bill of £133.
However, if you cover relatively few miles annually, or you’d rather trade some fuel efficiency for livelier performance, then the A 200 Sport Premium is even more attractive: its P11D value of £29,675 and 25% BIK banding equate to an outlay of £124.