The Mercedes A Class, in its introductory A180 CDI guise won accolades for its styling, and engaging handling, though the 109PS of power from that 2.2 liter engine was underwhelming by all estimates. Mercedes-Benz India was quick to take note of the concern, and equipped the A Class with a more powerful version of the engine along with a few feature related changes. We have already done a comprehensive review of the A Class (A180), which you can read here. In this review, then, we will talk only about the changes incorporated on the new car. Here’s a quick review of the A200 CDI, as the car is called in its newest avatar
Images: Chirag Mondal
Is the A200 CDI a facelift version of its predecessor?
No quite. The A200 CDI is more an attempt at addressing a key concern of the customers rather than an attempt at upgrading a product naturally in its product life cycle. The mid-life facelift of the A class is due next year. The A200 is just an engine upgrade along with a few minor tweaks related to interior and features
So it’s the engine that makes the headlines here. Tell me more about it.
The cubic capacity of the new A200 CDI’s engine remains the same as that of the A180 CDI unit it replaces. The 2.15 litre engine, however, has been tweaked to produce more power, be more efficient, more refiner, more linear, and generally be better.
The four pot diesel engine, which also does duty on the GLA compact crossover now produces a respectable 134 bhp, as against the 107 bhp produced by the A180. Peak torque output is up, too, by 50 Nm to 300 Nm, as against the 250NM produced by the A180
Are those numbers evident on the move?
The A200 CDI is perceptibly quicker off the block while also boasting better in-gear acceleration. The car does its 0-100 km/h sprint in about 9.5 seconds, which is about a second and a half quicker than the version it replaces. The new engine also feels more linear and the overall tractability of the power-plant is better too, with lesser turbo lag and troque building up from revs as low as 1300rpm. Those 27 newly employed horses and 50Nm of twist make their presence felt, making the A200 CDI a decidedly better car to be behind the wheel of for the discerning driver. We also love the new engine’s propensity to rev freely, and its mildly sporty sound post the 3000 rpm mark.
Thanks to its better tractability, low end torque and in-gear acceleration the fuel efficiency of the A200 CDI is also marginally better than the version it replaces. The positive outcome, however, cannot be fully attributed to the new engine.
What else can it probably be attributed to if not the engine?
Mercedes-Benz India has reduced the tyre profile of the A200CDI, which is surprising as the power and torque has actually increased. The new car comes equipped with skinnier 205/55 section tyres as against 225/45-R17 rubber on the A180 CDI. The wheel size has also been reduced to 16-inches from the previous 17 inches.
While the narrower footprint most definitely has a positive impact on the car’s efficiency, especially within the urbanscape, it hasn’t bided too well for the car’s handling. Increased power, along with lesser width makes the tyres wail earlier and with more ferocity as you hot those twisties spiritedly.
Have they changed the transmission too?
The A200CDI is equipped with the same dual clutch DCT transmission that the A180 was outfitted with. As has been observed with the introductory versions of A and B-Class cars, the DCT isn’t as quick as the DSG or S-Tronic. Some degree of lag is there to be observed, but it isn’t worth moaning. The low end torque of the engine helps the A200 veil its relative lassitude in swapping ratios, and the gearbox functions just fine for all practical intents and purposes.
What’s new inside?
The car now gets a panoramic sunroof as standard. The A200 CDI gets a few minor changes on the inside as well, most of them being carryovers from the Edition1 version, including the leather and fabric upholstery. The instrument cluster now gets black dials against the white dials on the A180. The dimpled grip area on the steering wheel now gets plain soft leather. Other features include front parking sensors along with a rear view camera with guide lines.
As always, the cabin quality of the A-Class leaves nothing to complain about. The COMAND system on the car, however has been carried over from the A180, and in its old-gen low-res form, doesn’t look and feel too great. The car is available only in the top-of-the-line Sport trim and features memory enabled electric adjustment for both front seats and six airbags as standard.
The suspension related changes that Mercedes-Benz India introduced to the Edition 1 version of the car, featuring longer suspension travel and a softer setup, have also been retained and translate into a much cushier ride quality which is much better suited to the Indian road conditions.
Should I buy it?
Well, if you like driving, the A-Class makes a compelling case for itself with its dynamic ability, fashionable exterior and compact dimensions. It’s the gold standard for those who want to make a statement without compromising on the convenience and manoeuvrability of a compact.
Price: Rs 28.5 lakh ex-showroom