Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • A-Class Saloon offered with three petrol engines
  • Three diesels spanning 116-190hp
  • Plug-in hybrid packs 262hp

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class Saloon is powered by a range of highly efficient four-small-capacity cylinder petrol and diesel engines, which major on delivering great fuel economy and decent performance. Mercedes-Benz has succeeded in meeting that requirement – especially with the forthcoming A 250 e plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

Latest plug-in hybrid challenger: A 250 e

Not only are the fuel consumption figures (with charge in its battery pack) highly promising, but the new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) A-Class looks swift, too. It has a maximum power output of 262hp for a 0-62mph time of 6.2 seconds and a maximum speed of 149mph.

As with all PHEVs, this one has the potential for some impressive fuel economy returns to complement those performance figures – but only if you keep it charged up. It’ll run for 42 miles on battery only (which exceeds all of its current PHEV rivals), and comes with big tax savings for company car drivers.

Petrol engines

Starting with the petrols, and it’s a sign of the times that your choices are as wide as they are for diesel – even as recently as a couple of years ago, Mercedes-Benz would have placed its emphasis on cars fuelled from the black pump. The range starts with the 1332cc 136hp A 180 and higher powered 163hp A 200. Both of these cars are powered by the same basic engine, which features active cylinder shut-off technology, powering down half the engine when not needed to save fuel.

Both of these cars are offered in manual or automatic transmission form, and even the lowliest car puts in a decent set of performance figures. The A 180 takes 9.3 seconds to get from 0-62mph, but this figure drops to 8.9 seconds for the auto. The A 200 reduces this to 8.3 seconds (8.1 seconds for the auto), and all have a maximum speed of more than 130mph.

The 2.0-litre A 250 packs a useful 224hp and 350Nm, which in automatic form gets from 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds. Maximum speed is limited to 155mph. This is the only A-Class Saloon we’ve driven so far, which rather colours of view of the range – but in terms of performance, it’s not far off being hot-hatch quick, but unlike most of these cars, the A-Class is refined, mature and effortless to drive quickly. Refinement is excellent. even when extended.

Mercedes-AMG A 35

At the top of the range is the petrol powered, AMG-tweaked A 35, featuring a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 306hp, 4Matic all-wheel drive and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. This promises a 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds and plenty of mid-range power for swift overtaking. We’ll keep you posted on how it drives.

Diesel engines

Just like the petrol A-Class Saloon, you can get the diesel in three flavours – two engine capacities for three power outputs. The entry-level A 180 d in manual form is powered by a 1.5-litre 116hp four-cylinder that’s good for 10.7 seconds for the 0-62mph run and a maximum speed of 128mph. Opt for the auto, and you shave a tenth off the 0-62mph time and get an identical maximum speed.

The A 200 d and A 220 d are powered by a 1950cc four-cylinder offering 150 and 190hp respectively. These are auto only and dash from 0-62mph in 8.2 and 7.1 seconds and top out at 141 and 153mph. In basic terms they won’t feel slow on the road, and thanks to hugely improved refinement over the old A-Class, feel refined at speed – in Hatchback form anyway, as we’ve yet to drive the saloons.

How does it handle?

  • A-Class offers solid and competent handling
  • It’s definitely biased towards comfort
  • One to admire, rather than love

As it’s closely related to the Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback, you know that the Saloon is going to put in a solid performance. In fact, it handles pretty well, and is someway ahead of the existing Audi A3 Saloon on this score. It’s clearly biased towards comfort, despite being offered in Sport and AMG Line forms. Keen drivers might notice a bit of body roll in the bends, but it’s controlled well enough not to feel anything other than composed at all times.

We like the steering too, which is 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, but not one that an enthusiastic driver would get up an hour early in the morning just to take the long way into work.

Still want that C-Class?