Primary Navigation Mobile

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon engines, drive and performance

2019 onwards (change model)
Performance rating: 3.8 out of 53.8

Written by Luke Wilkinson Published: 21 April 2023 Updated: 24 April 2023

  • Broad range of engines, including a PHEV
  • Diesel offers lots of torque and good economy
  • Rapid AMG A 35 at the top of the line-up

Petrol engines

The Mercedes A-Class Saloon is now available with a choice of three petrol engines. The entry-level A 180 features a 1.3-litre four-cylinder unit with 136hp and 230Nm of torque. Above that, there’s the A 200. It’s powered by a more potent version of the same 1.3-litre lump, with 163hp and 270Nm.

Both engines send drive to the front wheels through a seven-speed automatic gearbox, and both feature active cylinder shut-off technology, which powers down two of the engine’s cylinders under light load to improve fuel economy.

Considering their size, the performance from these 1.3-litre petrol engines is respectable. The A 180 can dash from 0–62mph in 9.3 seconds, while the A 200 can dispatch the same sprint in 8.3 seconds. Top speed for the former stands at 134mph, while the latter can reach 143mph.

Mercedes A-Class Saloon, front three quarter tracking, low angle, red paint, wooded background
The A-Class saloon’s petrol engines provide a good blend of performance and fuel economy.

At the top of the range, there’s the AMG A 35. This pocket rocket has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 306hp and 400Nm of torque, which Mercedes says is enough for a 0–62mph time of 4.9 seconds and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. Unlike the A 180 and A 200, the AMG A 35 has four-wheel drive.

Sadly, you can’t have the fire breathing 421hp AMG A 45 engine with the saloon body style – that’s reserved for the A-Class hatch. Mercedes has also culled the mid-range 224hp 2.0-litre A 250 model from the A-Class Saloon’s line-up, which is a shame because it was smooth, fast and refined.

Diesel engine

Mercedes has also taken an axe to the A-Class Saloon’s diesel line-up, chopping out all but the mid-range A 200 d model. It uses a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit with 150hp and 320Nm of torque, which has enough grunt for a 0–62mph time of 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 141mph.

We’ve only sampled the engine in the A-Class hatch, but we were impressed by its performance. It pulls strongly and can return almost 60mpg. Refinement is good, too, thanks in equal measure to the A-Class sound deadening and the diesel’s standard eight-speed gearbox, which keeps the engine quiet once you’re up to speed.

Plug-in hybrid engine

Now, if you want a plug-in hybrid A-Class, you need to buy the saloon. Mercedes has removed the powertrain from the hatchback’s line-up.

The A 250 e features a 1.3-litre petrol engine, an 80kW electric motor and a 16kWh battery pack mounted beneath the boot floor. The system has a combined output of 218hp and 450Nm of torque – and that gives the A-Class Saloon an impressive turn of speed. The PHEV can cover the 0–62mph sprint in 7.5 seconds, while top speed stands at 143mph.

Like all PHEVs, the A 250 e has the potential for some impressive fuel economy figures if you keep the battery charged up. Mercedes says it can manage an astronomical 353.1mpg, although that figure is heavily dependent on you making the most of the car’s 51-mile electric-only range.

What’s it like to drive?

  • Predictable and competent handling
  • Biased towards comfort rather than sportiness
  • Keen drivers might be left wanting more

The A-Class Saloon is closely related to the A-Class hatch, so you know it’s going to put on a good show. It handles quite well – and we reckon it’s nosing ahead of the Audi A3 Saloon. However, the non-AMG models are clearly set up for comfort rather than cornering, despite being offered in encouraging-sounding Sport and AMG Line specifications. Keen drivers will notice the body roll in the bends, but the suspension controls it well enough to always make the car feel composed.

Mercedes A-Class Saloon, rear three quarter tracking, lens flare from rear window, red paint, wooded background
The A-Class saloon is composed and comfortable, but it won’t set your pulse racing.

We like the steering, too. It’s well-weighted and accurate, which gives you plenty of confidence when placing the car on tight and twisty roads. So far, we’ve only driven the A 250 in AMG Line form, so can’t say this is a definitive verdict for the A-Class Saloon, but from this show alone, we’d say it’s a capable and comfortable car. It just isn’t one that an enthusiastic driver would get up an hour early for in the morning to take the long route into work.